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Nara S, Haarlem, Noord-Holland, Nederland

Egmond 2016 (Half Marathon)

Egmond aan Zee is a town in Noord Holland, on the coast on the North Sea. Egmond is also where an infamous half marathon takes place, every year.

Why infamous?
- it takes place at the beginning of January, meaning it usually gets rather.. cold;
- and windy. Dutch coast kind of windy.
- 1/3 of the parcours is on the beach: forget about running a PR.

Given these premises I was really excited to run what was then my second half marathon. On this occasion I raced as part of the Meeùs Run Club, which does a great work at organising pre-and-post race support to athletes.

Group pic, ready to go!

The parcourse: start at Egmond, 7km on the sand direction south to Castricum, then U-turn and back north through the dunes.
21.1km, finish line at Egmond.

Did I mention the Dutch coast wind earlier on? I should have, as that particular morning it was blowing south-to-north (opposite direction, why do I even specify that) with storm-like intensity.

Running the first 7 km on the beach with wind, sand, rain all blowing straight in the face means that every athlete was actively trying to take shelter behind a bigger guy, running in a narrow column. Like so:

It seems to me that there's little to no point in trying to keep up a good pace while the wind blowing in the opposite direction is just too strong. It's just too much effort. By km 8, I was just 'done', with more than half race to go. Lesson learned.

Km 8 is where we reached Castricum - leaving the sand behind to take on a paved road in the dunes.

Here is also when I started getting annoyed by the extra clothes I was wearing, despite the freezing weather. I ended up carrying hat and gloves in hand for the next 10km. 

Only one thought for the second half of the race: never again. Not here, not with this wind and that cold. Trying to drag myself to the finish line, advancing at a way slower pace than I was aiming at, I closed with an unremarkable time of 1h 48min - my slowest half marathon up to date.

But as it always happens: right after crossing the finish line, I found myself incredibly happy that I've actually made it; despite sand, cold and the nasty weather.

Now that I'm writing this story a few months later, I recall that race as something epic. With more training under my belt, I know I can run faster than a 5:12 mins/km pace, as recorded on Strava.

2017 edition, challenge accepted!


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Egmond 2016 (Half Marathon)
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Nara S, Haarlem, Noord-Holland, Nederland
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