In 2014 I participated in the first edition of the Damloop by Night and I also ran it last year (5 miles). I had never participated in the actual Dam tot Damloop (10 miles), because the race mostly clashed with other races I was doing. But this year I planned to run the Damloop as training for the NYC Marathon. The bibs for the Damloop go on sale early in the year and sell out quickly, but I knew that in the week leading up to the race there would be a lot of people selling their bibs again, because they’d either be injured or their plans had changed. This happens every year so I hadn’t bought a bib yet. But then I saw that Decathlon was offering bibs to runners, I couldn’t resist.
I had just sort of recovered from a cold and basically didn’t run for two weeks (which isn’t great when you should be peaking for your marathon training), so I didn’t have very high expectations for the Damloop. Weather predictions weren’t great either, it would rain the entire afternoon.
When I got to Amsterdam it was already pouring with rain and by the time I got to the restaurant where we were supposed to meet up I was already soaked. I did get to meet @marijeruns and @runningessie. We then had to go back to Centraal Station to drop our bags at the truck and get to our corral. While doing so it started to rain even harder.
I had a plastic poncho with me for the start, but I decided to keep it on rather than throwing it away at the start. I was a bit worried it would restrict my movement, but I decided to just see how running with the poncho went. I could always throw it away during the race.
The start was pretty quick and after just 1k you enter the IJtunnel (a tunnel underneath the water that normally is only meant for cars). I was already at the back of my wave by this point, so I could see runners in front of me in the tunnel, but hardly any behind me. Kind of felt like I was running through the tunnel by myself, which was a bit of a surreal experience.
The route then follows the car road through the north of Amsterdam. And soon I already got passed by the fastest runners from the starting wave that came after me. I had trouble finding my rhythm and it kept on raining.
About halfway through there were some residential streets where people still came outside to watch the race despite the rain. At this point I started to struggle a bit with the fast pace and decided to let that pace go and not worry about it too much. This was only meant to be a training run after all.
I was doing pretty well up until 12k, but then you enter a long stretch where there are only company buildings and no people along the route. I struggled a bit during this part because I was also slowly getting soaked and cold at this point, even though I was still wearing the poncho.
After that you enter Zaandam and there are more people along the route again, so I managed to pick up the pace a little. I didn’t get the time that I wanted, but that was to be expected after two weeks of not training. I finished in 02:08:13. As soon as I crossed the finish line I was freezing and I had trouble moving my hands because they were so cold. Took a while before I had found my bag and I could head home.
Would I run it again? Yes, but I would hope it would rain a little less, because from the stories I’ve heard it’s a lot more fun when there are more people supporting. And even though the Damloop is a really big event, I never got the sense that it was really big. Not the same feeling as I did have in Berlin or Paris. It was never very busy on the course. Not sure if that was because there were so many starting waves or because a lot of people didn’t show up because of the weather.