Two weeks to go until the Paris Marathon, which means it’s time to taper. I’ve ran on a track before, but not a Grand Prix race track! Therefore I was curious to sign up to the Zandvoort Circuit Run, which takes place on the Zandvoort car racing track. That’s right, you get the run where normally the Formula 1 cars are racing around.
There is a half, 12k and 5k distance. I planned to sign up for the 12k, until I saw the route. Zandvoort is located on the coast and therefore half the run takes place on the beach. I don’t like running on the beach, well I do if there aren’t that many people around, but not during a race. The sand just slows you down too much, especially when there are a lot of people trampling all over it. That’s not really what I’m looking for in a race, I use shorter races to see how my training is going for the bigger races. Or I use them as training runs themselves.
So, I decided to do the 5k, which mostly followed the race track. It looks really cool, all these people running on the track, but it isn’t a really fast running course. You go up and down a lot and through many bends which are positioned at steep sideway angles. And since the track itself isn’t really 5k, they had to come up with a way to make up this distance. So they decided to add a path, on a hill next to the track, to the race route. Downside: the path was sand and rubble, so you needed to make sure not to trip over the small rocks on the path. And since it was along the ridge of a somewhat steep dune (at least for Dutch standards), you couldn’t really pass anyone.
Thus the course isn’t the best PB course you could imagine, but since I wasn’t going for a PB, that was fine. I finished in 38:20, an average time for me. Got my medal (which is supposed to resemble a car tire) and a drink, but then had to wait 15 minutes until the waves of the half had started before I could get off the track and get my bag. This isn’t great when it’s cold and foggy weather and you just have to stand there.
All in all, it is pretty well organised, but personally I’d think it would be better if they’d change the routes. And maybe start the half marathon a little later or the 5k a little earlier, so that all 5k runners have finished and have gotten off the track when the half starts.