For the past 12 years there has been a week long light festival in Eindhoven, the Netherlands during the month of November. And for the past 3 years they’ve had a fun run at the end of it. I’ve participated in the first edition in 2015 and now ran the third edition as well.
The Glow Light Festival is generally a route of around 5-6 km with lots of light shows and projections along the way. The projections are mainly on office buildings along the route. Normally you’re supposed to walk the route, but during the last few hours of the festival you can join the fun run around the city and see the route while running. This year’s route was 6.5 km long and personally I was a bit disappointed with the projections this year. They were few and far between this time and the ones that were there weren’t that spectacular. If you’re wondering why they have this festival in Eindhoven, that’s because this is the city where Philips Electronics was founded and back in the day they were famous for their lightbulbs.
The organisation which organises the run is not the same organisation that organises the Glow Festival itself. The race organisation doesn’t seem to organise any other races and therefore doesn’t have that much experience with organising races. But they do seem to care a lot about the feedback, since they do try to improve the race each year. Since the first edition they have improved the medal and the finish and start locations. They at least arranged for a roof over our heads during the start (which protected against any rain), but it wasn’t a closed off space, so it was still pretty cold waiting outside at roughly 10.30 pm in November.
It’s a fun run, which means that there is no chip time and in this case also means the roads aren’t really closed off, since there are still non-runners on the course enjoying the festival. So yes, you do need to dodge the occasional pedestrian once in a while. The race doesn’t start until 11 pm, because the light festival is only at night (obviously) and they want to make sure there aren’t that many people on the course anymore.
The nice thing about the route was that it didn’t only follow the Glow Festival route, they also made sure we could run through the football stadium. Which seemed to excite lots of people, but I really don’t care about football, so I wasn’t that impressed. And they also made sure we could run through a church as a part of the route and only the runners were allowed in. This was definitely the highlight for me: running through the aisles of a church which was lit with colourful lights and someone was playing the organ. How often does one get the chance to do that?
There were around 1700 runners, most of them wearing lights themselves, which made it more festive. During the run I had difficulty assessing how many runners were behind me. I knew there had to be quite a few, but the people behind me sometimes had to stop for traffic, which meant I couldn’t see them behind me. I hate the idea of being the last runner, not because I care that much about coming in last, but the idea that there are marshals waiting and keeping the route open for me always makes me anxious. So since I wasn’t sure how many people were behind me and I didn’t want to hold up any marshals or traffic I tried to keep up with the people in front of me. This definitely wasn’t easy, because it was cold and it was also raining, which made it even colder. The colder it gets, the more difficult running becomes for me. Since my heart rate is so high, I breathe quite heavily through my mouth while running. But it isn’t a very pleasant feeling while taking in big breaths of very cold air straight into your lungs. So, I was struggling with my breathing a bit and trying to keep up with the people in front of me. This made this run quite tough for me, even though technically this should be a really easy run. But I did manage to finish in 51:47.
Giveaway: I’m giving away an entry into the Amsterdam Marathon 2018 (you can also use the entry for the half marathon)! What do you have to do to win? 1. Follow me on Twitter and Instagram 2. Donate at least £5 on my justgiving page, every £5 is one entry into the draw. The money raised will go to the Dutch Cancer Research Foundation (KWF).