The days leading up to this event, it had been a bit stormy. So, I was mainly hoping the weather wouldn’t be too bad. This event has been cancelled in the past due to bad weather. The Bruggenloop is a 15k race through Rotterdam and you cross multiple bridges. This year they changed the route a bit due to roadworks. So we didn’t get to go over the famous Eramusbrug, but we did cross six other bridges in the city.
The start of the race is near the stadium and that is quite easy to get to by train. You had the opportunity to get changed underneath the bleachers of the stadium and there were heaters to make it a little warmer and there were actually toilets, so that was a plus.
I had transferred a bib (legally) and was therefore in wave 1. Went off a bit too fast in the beginning, because I wanted to stay close to the last runners of the first wave, but after about 3 kilometers I already got passed by the faster wave 2 runners.
The beginning of the race went through some quiet streets and you already cross the first 3 bridges in the first 3 kilometers of the race, but these are not steep. Since the race is in the late afternoon in December they give you a light which you can wear around your arm. But mine wasn’t working and it was only bothering me, so I dumped it in the trash after a kilometer or so.
The first steep part of the course is the Willemsbrug at 4k. At this point in the race my Garmin beeped to let me know I had walked up 10 flights of stairs today already, or at least that’s what it thought I was doing while going up the bridge.
After this you follow along the river for a few kilometers. I noticed that my 5k split time was quite fast, so I decided to slow down a little bit. Then you get to the next incline around the 7km mark, but luckily what goes up, must come down, so you can make up a bit of time on the down hills.
At kilometer 9 you get to the biggest bridge of all: the Van Brienenoordbrug. About 1.5 kilometers long and quite steep. Most people know this bridge because they’ve driven over it on the highway. But we were running over the cycling lane of the bridge, so that they wouldn’t have to close the highway for the race. Even though there are 12.000 runners participating in the race, there was enough space on the bridge because people were spread out enough, so the fact that the race mostly follows the cycling lanes around the city, wasn’t much of an issue.
What bothered me during the race was that several runners felt the need to physically grab my arm and try to drag me along with them. I’ve had this happen to me before during races. Other runners see me walking and want to help. It happens more often when I’m not wearing my usual race t-shirt (which has: “Slow runners make fast runner look good, you’re welcome…” written on the back), but when it’s cold out I usually have too many layers on so people don’t see the shirt.
But it happened 5 times during this race alone and it was really starting to annoy me. There is no scenerio in which it is ok for you to grab my arm and pull me along (unless maybe when we’re friends, and you know me well enough to know when it’s ok for you to pull me along and when it isn’t). I didn’t know these people, they didn’t know me and also didn’t know why I was walking. They didn’t know if I was injured or feeling unwell and they also didn’t ask, they just grabbed my arm and dragged me along. Mostly saying something along the lines of “come on, you can do this”. Yes, I know these people mean well. I know they do it with with the best intentions in mind. But they shouldn’t be doing it. Dear runners, it is fine if you want to encourage slower runners, but use words. There is no need to get physical. In the future, please refrain from dragging slower runners along with you.
After the Van Brienenoordbrug you’ve crossed all six bridges and loop back to the stadium. It had been dry for most of the race, although a bit windy. But 500 meters to go until the finish line it started to rain. Luckily it didn’t last long and I could change right after the race.
I finished in 1:50:48. A whole 4 minutes faster than during the Zevenheuvelenloop 3 weeks earlier. I guess starting in a fast starting wave might have helped a bit as well.
Would I run it again? Yes, it’s a nice route, it’s not too crowded and if it did become a bit too crowded I often had to opportunity to step onto the sidewalk so I wasn’t in the way of other runners. It’s nice that you have the opportunity to change after the race and it’s an easy to reach location. But there’s no bag drop and you have to leave your stuff in the changing rooms.