I did this race 3 years ago, the 2nd race I ever did. I enjoyed the race the last time and decided to do it again, only this time as a training run for the Berlin Marathon.
The race has changed a little bit since I last ran it. Biggest change is the distance, the race is now 5 miles instead of 4 miles. This is mainly because the original Dam tot Damloop race is 10 miles (this is the biggest running event in the Netherlands) and they probably wanted the Damloop by Night to be exactly half of that. Three years ago it was the first edition of the Damloop by Night and since then the event seems to have grown. There are now roughly 15.000 runners who take part in the event. They didn’t seem to be handing out much glow-in-the-dark stuff this time around. They now expect you to bring your own light and glow-in-the-dark accessories.
I was surprised to see that I wasn’t in the last starting wave (when does that ever happen?). I was actually in wave 7 out of 9! But that might also be due to the quite easy cut off time (even from my perspective), which is 85 minutes for 5 miles. Which is surprising, since the cut off for the original Dam tot Damloop is quite tight. I still want to take part in the 10 mile event one day, but the cut off has stopped me from entering.
Getting to the start and bag drop off went smoothly (at least when you arrive through public transport) and I managed to get into the starting pen on time. You do have to walk 2 km from the station to the the bag drop off and another km or so to the starting pens. Would have been nice if they would have been more clear about the time it takes to walk everywhere instead of just saying “it’s walking distance”, so you can take this into account. Only other problem was that it was cold! Now, I get cold easily, but I definitely wasn’t the only one who was cold, I heard more people complain about it. Turns out it was the coldest 16th of September to date in the Netherlands! It was only around 10 degrees Celsius, while normally around this time of year it’s around 18 degrees.
The route hasn’t changed, they only made it longer, but I remembered most of it from 3 years ago. Nice route along the water and a lot of entertainment. Lit fountains, boats with lot of lights, flyboarders on the water and lots of music! Since there are 15.000 runners on just 8k, it is quite crowded on the course. I wasn’t able to run full speed and often had to run on the sidewalk so I could pass some runners. It might not be the best race to run a PB, but the atmosphere is great! I finished in 1:03:55, not my best time ever, but not bad for a training run.