My last race of 2017: running through the biggest park in Amsterdam in a Christmas sweater and a santa hat. There are a lot of santa runs around, but I don’t like the idea of getting dressed in a full santa suit, which will most likely be way to big for me, so this seemed like a good alternative.
The ugly sweater run is a 5k fun run though the Vondelpark in Amsterdam. This year they didn’t offer chip time, but instead you did get a medal. It’s a double loop around the park and you’re also allowed to walk it if you want, as long as you finish within an hour.
Bib pick up and bag drop was located at a restaurant in the park and was pretty easy. It was pretty cold and rainy, but at least most of the snow and ice of the previous days had melted, so it wasn’t slippery anymore.
The programme before the start was running pretty long. The main point was getting people in the Christmas spirit, having a contest of who was wearing the ugliest sweater and announcing how much they’d raised for charity. I understand all that, but this delayed the start by 10 minutes while people were freezing and getting wet in the rain. They did do a warm up, but if you wait another 20 minutes in the cold until the start, that warm up is pretty useless.
They let all 2500 of us go at once, so the first kilometer was pretty slow going, but after that it spread out pretty quickly. It was great fun seeing a big group of people running in their Christmas sweaters and santa hats. First loop is roughly 3k and second loop 2k. Surprisingly, I heard quite a few people around me discussing the possibility of just finishing after the first loop, maybe because 5k was harder than they had imagined or because they just didn’t like the cold and the drizzle.
Finish was a bit chaotic with not enough volunteers to hand out medals or clif bars. You didn’t get anything to drink, no water or anything. Probably so you’d buy either at the restaurant or at the stall they had outside, but it was so chaotic that I didn’t bother.
The first kilometer was pretty slow, but I managed to pick up the pace a bit in the remaining 4k, so in the end I finished in 38:19. Not anywhere near a PB, but also not that bad considering it’s December and I get slower when it gets cold. I really like the medal, one of the better ones, especially considering it’s a fun run (since normally those kinds of runs put more energy into organising a quirky run, rather than a quirky medal). I would definitely consider running this race again if I had the chance. It’s a nice way to end the year.