Fifth edition of the Vredesloop, the run for peace. I participated in the first edition overall, and now also at the first edition at the new location, close to the Museon in Den Haag. And I was not alone (of course not…), but the Europeana running team was well represented by Maggy, Nicole, Nienke and myself, ready to participate in the 5 km version (Maggy and Nienke) and 10 km (Nicole and I). It was a Sunday that really lived up to its name, very sunny, 20°C, very little wind. Perfect running conditions.

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Europeana running team in the start / finish area.

Before talking about the run, lets talk about the organisation of the run, which was anything but perfect. If you have not received your badge by mail, you need to pick it up on site. However, there was only one stand for the 5 km and a huge crowd of people that needed the badge. It took forever, and Maggy spent half an hour or so to get her badge. Luckily the organisers delayed the start, so Maggy was still able to participate. Why was it not possible to have several stands like in other events, to speed up the procedure?

Next thing was the baggage drop off. Everyone got a baggage label with the badge. The normal case is that there is an area with several desks, each for a range of bib numbers to drop the baggage. Not so here. You drop your bag at a random desk – and get a new number for your baggage. No idea why this procedure was selected, also because it took a lot of time to drop the bag. After the race only people with bib numbers got access to the baggage drop off area, but once inside you could have taken any bag, or several bags. Good that runners are honest and all my belongings were still there.

But lets leave the annoying part aside and look at the race. With 2,557 starters at the 10 km race the Vredesloop is smaller than the CPC run. But still big enough, so I was pushing to get as close as possible to the start line, to not have to many people in front of me. Nicole and I were also waiting for Maggy and Nienke (and her husband Willem), finishing the 5 km just on the other side of the fence. Some group pictures later these three went further to get their drinks, while we were getting ready for the start.

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Nicole and me were waiting for the start, while Maggy, Nienke and Willem were just finished with the 5 km.

I took off quite fast, I had a goal in mind, I wanted to get as close as possible to the 45 minutes threshold which I never managed to even get close to before. If I manage today, it would be my fourth personal best this year, after personal bests in half marathon, 24-hour cycling and in quart triathlon. The first three kilometres went very well, although I realised already I’m going to fast for my goal. And I did not manage to run a constant speed. Thats not good, I’m afraid that I will pay for that.

During the fifth kilometre I slowed down, to try to find a better rhythm. The 5 km split was 22:03, only 15 seconds over my 5 km personal best, wow, but still 5 km to go. Kilometre six was again to fast, I simply don’t manage to get into a proper rhythm, had to slow down again. Between kilometre 7 and 8 the Bankstraat climb was waiting, neither steep nor long, but still tough towards the end. I ignore the drinks right after the 8 km mark and keep going. I’m still on track to get to the finish line in 45 minutes, but not so anymore at 9 km, 20 seconds to late. For the final kilometre I try to speed up again, no look to the left or right, full focus on the finish line. I miss the 45 minutes mark by 5 seconds, but it does not matter. I’m happy, new personal best, 1 minute faster than many many years ago during the Berlin City Night. And this one is even more valuable. The Berlin City Night is not only 100% flat but also completely on wide roads. The Vredesloop has a quite a number of left and right turns, different pavement, jumps over foot- and bikepaths plus the climb up Bankastraat. But still, I have met my goal, no need to run a 10 km run again, but you never know, at least not the Vredesloop, if they don’t improve the organisation.

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Final metres of the race…

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Nicole finished six minutes after me, 51:15, also very happy with her performance. Nienke finished the 5 km in 33:06. Maggy was a couple of seconds faster, so they finished the 5 km together, happy with the result, happy with the day. Europeana will keep running, next stop, Meijendel in November or Malieveld in March.

Split times:

  • 1 km   – 4:00.5
  • 2 km   – 4:27.8
  • 3 km   – 4:12.7
  • 4 km   – 4:27.1
  • 5 km   – 4:55.3
  • 6 km   – 4:18.3
  • 7 km   – 4:43.5
  • 8 km   – 4:50.7
  • 9 km   – 4:54.6
  • 10 km – 4:14.8
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My daughter was running the kids run, proud with her second medal this year. The kids run was sold as a 1.5 km run, then announced as a 1 km run, and at the end no one knew what it was, but it was 1 km, according to what I measured.