I already did an urban trail race last year in Eindhoven, but I didn’t really get to enjoy that race since it was during a snow storm and an amber weather warning. So, I decided to give it another go in Den Haag, during the summer. The Urban Trail Series takes place in several cities throughout the Netherlands, but there are also races in Belgium and Germany nowadays. You don’t only run through a city, you also run through several (well knowns) buildings.
This time around they have changed the concept a bit and you can now actually choose whether you want to run a 5k or a 10k. I decided I wanted to run the 10k, so I could see all the buildings the race was going through. There were a little under 5000 runners taking part and we were released in staggered waves so the course wouldn’t be too busy, but at certain buildings I still needed to wait in line to get in.
These races are well organised. It is easy to drop off your bag and there are clear signs to the start area. Luckily, the signage during the race was very good, since they do not have marshals everywhere, but the signs are very clear so it’s easy to find your way through the buildings and the city even if you do not know your way around the city.
For some reason my legs just didn’t want to cooperate today. My legs felt very heavy as soon as I started running and consequently my heart rate didn’t really want to go down either. So I didn’t mind that I had to stand in line once in a while, that actually gave me the opportunity to catch my breath.
The urban trail races are not meant to get you your new PB, they are meant to be fun. There is no chip time and with all the stairs and manoeuvring through buildings you won’t get a fast time. In Eindhoven I didn’t get a fast time because of the snow (it was slippery, so I had to be careful) and in Den Haag I spent at least 7 minutes of my time waiting to get inside a building and inside the buildings it isn’t always easy to run either.
The run started by going through a museum, through the palace gardens, after which you went through a theater, some more gardens, a concert hall, a hotel, a cinema, a department store (taking the stairs up to the top floor and back down again), a sports store, a car park, the library (more stairs) and the press building next to our parliament. (Slightly disappointed we didn’t get to go through parliament).
Even though my legs felt very heavy (and the 20 or so stairs didn’t really help the matter) I did have a good time doing this race. You get to go places you normally wouldn’t go that often. After the race you get a medal and some breakfast consisting of something to drink, a sandwich, a banana and some chips.