Last year I participated in the Mini Marathon Rotterdam, which is 4.2 km. This year I decided to go for the 1/4 marathon, so 10.55 km.
The 1/4 marathon starts at the same time as the full marathon, only at a different location and uses the last part of the marathon course. There were only three starting waves for the 1/4 marathon even though it had almost as many participants as the full marathon: 12.500!
I was in the last starting wave and the first km or so there were two car lanes, but later it was narrowed down to one which meant that it was way too busy with so many participants. Normally it is always busy at the start of a race, but it quickly spreads out so you can run your own pace. However, there were simply too many people to spread out and it became an almost 2 km long line of runners. It wasn’t possible to pass anyone which made it hardly impossible to run my own pace. I tried to run over grass and cobblestones to pass people, but then I would still be stuck further on. So even though the weather was perfect for a PB, the course was simply too busy for people to reach their goal time.
Due to circumstances I wasn’t able to run in January and February and just been back running for a month when I did this race. I wanted to try to get a PB and see if I gotten back in running shape, but by the end of this race I still didn’t know if I was back in shape or not, because I couldn’t give it my all. However, the course itself was very nice, around the Kralingse Plas, with a very nice view of the Rotterdam skyline.
Besides the finish line they also measured your time at the 10 k mark, which makes it easier to compare to other 10 k races. I was 3.5 min slower than my current PB, unfortunately. The run from the 10 k point to the finish should be 550 meters, but it seemed to take a long time to get there and when I checked my running app later it turned out to be 800 meters. And I’ve heard other participants say that their measured distance was higher than 10.55 km, some even measured more than 11 km.
All in all this could be a very nice race, if it would just be organized differently. If the race could start earlier than the marathon, so there was less time pressure on the 1/4 marathon runners and more starting waves with more time in between. If the course would be less busy it could be a great race, because now you can’t actually race. But to end with a positive note: I really liked this years medal. Last year the medals for the shorter distances were kind of petty, which made you feel inferior. This year every distance had the same nice medal, only a different color (bronze, silver or gold), which was great.