Racereport Rotterdam Marathon 2022

My first thought after finishing Amsterdam Marathon in 2019? “I’m signing up for the marathon of Rotterdam”.

My mother is from Rotterdam and a large part of my father’s family still lives in the area. How nice would it be to get the experience of the Rotterdam marathon.

Unfortunately, the pandemic started and the 2020 (April) edition was moved to October 2020. Eventually, the 2020 edition only entailed a National Championship and elite race during the Amsterdam Marathon, upon which I decided to sell my race registration. In the end, we all know how 2020 ended. Immediately bought a race registration for the 41st edition and 10-4-2022 was circled big on the calendar.

Those who have been following me for a while may know it, but there are a few things I don’t like so much:

– Running in the cold.

– Running in the rain.

– Long endurance runs.

So actually, a spring marathon is not the most obvious choice for me. Nevertheless, I went to work and set my goal under 2h30. Training at a specific pace went well, a 30-er run and on March 19 a 29 km run. A day later, a test showed that I was infected with COVID-19, but I had barely any symptoms. Actually, without any real “damage” I could train again later that week. The ultimate test was April 3. I then ran the 10km race during HilversumCityRun. According to my Garmin I ran 10 km in 31:46 min which would be a new PR, but the finish line was 300 meters further. However, this gave me a good feeling. Another 1 or 2 training sessions next week and I was ready to go.

This turned out quite differently…. The next day I wanted to step past the laundry basket and kicked my foot against the bathroom door. Result: a broken toe.

No way I had put in all this work for nothing!! A week of rest should hopefully do the trick and with the physiotherapist and the doctor we discussed my options of running the marathon. In the end, I decided to at least give it a try.

There I was, on Sunday morning April 10, at the start of the Rotterdam marathon. Prior to the start, we had formed a group of 4 runners with the same finishing goal. We positioned ourselves at the front of the starting area and there we went…

“Don’t start too quick!” was the motto. So I adapted (until the Erasmus bridge.) We stayed together and looked for a nice other group. The first group went just a little too slow, but the next one too fast. Our group had also split up, resulting in Dennis and me running together. Soon, a group had started to form around us. At 14km, a runner I knew, came by and I knew he wanted to run 2h29, so I said to Dennis: “Stick to this guy, he is running our time!”

Soon after that I noticed that I was feeling heavier, the acidification started to kick in. However, I was still able to keep up my pace to some extent. At 17 km I clocked a km time of more than 3:40 min. My 1/2 marathon was 1:15:06. So with a rebound, 2h30 was still achievable. During my first marathon I also had a dip halfway through and I was able to pick myself up again afterwards. However, the revival did not come this time. It only got heavier.

Then the button flipped. No top time, my toe feels okay, then enjoy! And that’s what I did. On the Laan op Zuid (27km) someone came running next to me and asked: “also having a bad race?”

He had problems with his hip and wanted to give up. I told him my story and told him to enjoy the atmosphere and see how far he could get. In the end, he made it to the finish line. Less than 2 km further, in the tunnel of Blaak, I heard a lady huffing and puffing. I told her: “Just follow me! I’ll help you” and once we were upstairs “vamos, go go go”. In the end, she turned out to be the fastest woman over 40.

For me it was getting more and more difficult. In the Kralingse bos I looked forward to Harry (DJ Flyon).

I knew where he stood and so I knew that would mean I would be on the way back. There I also saw Dennis again, apparently he also had been having a hard time.

Harry saw me coming and announced in his mic that he knew me. This gave such a great feeling, I felt the emotions come up by his kind words. In the next corner I saw NN Cheer signs on which supporters could leave messages. Marieke and the kids had send in a video to cheer me up. Immediatly I felt my tears coming again.

At more than 35 km Dennis and I laughed. We ran the pace of a zone 1 practice, but it felt like sprinting. When we got our mileage a few meters later, the feeling of speed was right.

Then at km 36.6 I felt a cramp in my left calf. Immediately I thought, now it’s over. Luckily, after 10 seconds of standing still and walking, I tried again if running was possible and I succeeded. I could continue my way to the Coolsingel.

Carried by the fantastic crowd along the side, I came back to the city. I knew that one of my runners and a well-known photographer (Rob van Efferen) were standing at the cube houses. And soon I saw Sasha rising above the crowd and waving.

3 more turns and I was still there I thought. Right under the cube houses the cramp shot in again, walking again… This too quickly disappeared. On to that finish.

What a party on Blaak and the Coolsingel. And there was the finish… 2 hours 44 minutes and 19 seconds.

This marathon was one big adventure! On my way to obtaining my medal, I made another joke with the ladies I walked past to receive my well-deserved slice of cake.

A little further on I grabbed a bottle of AA drink. “Hey look at a dancing banana” (someone was dressed as a banana at the banana stand) and now I don’t remember if it happened before or after the banana, but suddenly it hit me.

All the muscles in my legs shot into a cramp. Feet, calves, shins, knees, hamstring, gluteal muscle. I couldn’t stand on my feet anymore and what an incredible amount of pain. Soon, two ladies from the red cross arrived to help, but the wheelchair was to no avail. Eventually I was lifted onto a stretcher and taken to the care post. There was still some confusion there, because I had broken my toe anyway. However, on to the physiotherapy department, where angels were going to help me.

Joel and Rens spent 45 minutes working on my legs. Funny thing was that one had warm hands which I really liked, but the other had wonderfully cold hands.

Eventually I got back on my feet and I could go home. Directly out of the tent I ‘ran’ into 2 of my runners; Wess and Arke. 

Speaking of which, my parents cheered at 5 spots along the course. Although my father just got a new knee, it did not stop him and he walked with a crutch. What heroes huh!

And then there was another hero. Marcel Linders had taken over the task of my father to provide me with my drinks at 4 different places along the course. 

On the way I also saw my old neighbor Mark suddenly in the middle of the road. The world’s best pacer and top athlete Roy Hoornweg stood along the side several times to also encourage me, I jokingly asked him to walk along because I was having a hard time. I could probably go on on, but may have missed some people here and there.

But one thing is for sure 16-04-2023 I will come back again!!!

Is it #demooiste? For me at least one to never forget.