Okay let’s rewind to almost 17 weeks ago:
It’s friday morning and I’m off to work, only have to work for four hours today. At 12 o’clock I’m heading home again.
Taking a quick shower, gather the last things, putting bowls of catfood and water everywhere, kiss my furballs goodbye ‘Mommy is back in a bit, sweeties!’ I lie and close the door behind me…
When I get of the train I’m back in Amsterdam, I sigh….this is where the magic is going to happen this weekend. I start to walk to our Running Junkies HQ… the weekend has begun!
Running Tuesdays on Friday:
This weekend is all about friends, fun, food, crewlove, cheering, confetti, support and duh..running.
There is this magical thing that’s called Bridge the Gap (BTG). Bridge the Gap, in short, is an international gathering of urban running crews from around the world. The host club normally takes care of lots of activities, sightseeing, runs, food (besides running we all love to nom), some even open their own homes for a taste of their lives & for a place to sleep and offcourse they organize parties!
This weekend it’s our turn to organize this awesome phenomenon. Tonight we act like it’s a regular tuesday, a Running Tuesday. On Tuesday we gather at our HQ (aka Tjins) and run, talk, laugh, eat, drink, have a good time and laugh some more. Even though today it’s friday this evening will be no other then a regular tuesday right?! WRONG!
Tonight we have guests…a lot of guests, from all over the world!
We proudly welcome running crews from: Copenhagen, Denmark (NBRO), London, England (Run Dem Crew), Toronto, Canada (Parkdale Road Runners), Montreal, Canada (East Laurier Running Club), Berlin, Germany (Runpack), Belgrade, Serbia (BURT), Manchester, England (Still Waters Run Deep), Moscow, Russia (Gorky Park Runners and Girl & Sole Running Club), also from Amsterdam: Patta Running Team and from same crew, same country, other city: Running Junkies Den Bosch.
After a speech from our ‘captain’ Ryan we hit the road. Nice to run the streets of Amsterdam on a friday night, manouvering through a huge ammount of (window) shopping people. When we get back at the HQ we get to nom, we love to nom….yes I know I already said that.
Ryan is our food guru, as far as I know/heard everyone loved the well prepared meal.
Time to get changed and go to the pub. After some nice conversations and a few drinks Lianne and me decided to call it a day. Most of the group hopped back on their bikes, bike across town and create batshitcrazy memories at a karaoke bar. By that time Lianne and me are already in sleeping modus.
This saturday morning it’s time for our Social Run at our other HQ: Run2Day Amsterdam. Again a lot of our BTG guests joined us here. After a speech from Thomas and Elly we start our little sightseeing run. We went to the Rijksmuseum, not only to show off the architecture but also to show how it normally looks like, in comparisment of how it will look tomorrow during the marathon. After this we run through the busy shopping centre and finally through the Vondelpark.
In the afternoon we all go our seperate ways but almost all go to the same place: the Amsterdam Marathon Expo. The people who didn’t collected their bibs yet do this today, as well as I do. After I get my bib Lianne and me stroll around at the expo, we have a nice talk with Lornah Kiplagat and cause it feels like we know eachother for ages I totally forget to make a new picture of us together…dumbass. We bump into some fellow RJ’s and some of our new international friends. After some superhero-fun we go back to Lianne’s place.
The evening before a marathon has a theme: carbloading aka PASTA PARTY!
Lianne has a handball match so on my own I travel back to Amsterdam. There I join the aprox 150 other runners at this fantastic evening. We have good conversations, great laughs, so much fun and the food frenzy is absurdly phenomenal. We even have a surprise visit of our Belgium turned Dutch turned French Running Junkie Wouter which provids a nice little ‘OMG’ shot from Sophie in the BTG aftermovie.
Sunday Funday Runday:
It’s still really early when our alarms start to sing.
Rise and Shine!
We get ready, get our stuff, hop on our bikes and start our 30 minutes bikeride to the starting area of the marathon. We still have to pick up Lianne’s bib for her 8km race. There we meet up with Monique and Irene. After a short talk we are on our way again. Time to get ready and squeeze in a grouppicture. After that I really have to make my way to the start. In this chaos of people Mark from RDC spots me and together we try to move through this mass. Then suddenly I see Udjen! YES!
We tried to call eachother earlier but with no luck. We loose Mark (later on I learned he had to start from another box). When Udjen and me wait for our start we see Marlous and Erik from the Halfcrazy Runners, they start from the box before us.
AND THEN WE ARE OFF!
At the Vondelpark we see Marlous and Erik again, get cheered on by Instagram friend Niels, my fellow volunteer friend Chi Yin and our lovely Ada.
Around 4km we run by/through the Rijksmuseum, our Cheerzone.
So freaking awesome, so many Cheering Junkies, so much crewlove.
After 5km Udjen stops at the refreshing zone for something to drink, I have my own so I keep going, I expect to see Udjen back in a short time. On some parts of the course you run next to the runners before you, like you run towards the Olympic Stadion and they passed it already, on their way to the Amstel. Cause we all proudly wear our crewshirts you can easily spot runners from other crews, so I get to greet some of them along the way. At 10km there is Niels again, nice! And suddenly there is RJ Elly standing in the crowd, well almost on the course..! Highfive and she yells ‘Evaaaaaaaa you can do thisssssss!’
Around 24km there is a cheercrew from the Halfcrazy Runners! At 37km I spot Udjen’s husband John and their son Ryan. Still 1km to go for another confetti shower. I’m moving in for the cheer…
I see our mascotte Ryan the Lion, I see some familiar faces, I have to get a grip trying not to cry while I smile widely, Gawd how I love these people! I hear a voice from our megaphone, she lures me in, I know that voice, but who….? OMG it’s Francien!!!
I fly by, wishing the Cheerzone could be so much longer, but then again…I can’t keep up this speed that long haha
Suddenly I feel there is someone moving in to me from the right, I actually get spooked for a moment, then I see it’s Anouke, smiling and she gives me my confetti shower, we quickly greet eachother and that was it….my heart wants to explode from happiness and love, my eyes want to cry from pure joy but I’m not done yet!
Still another 4km to go. It starts to rain again, harder then earlier and I start to struggle. I have to keep up, almost there. By now I know I will not finish within the timeframe I wanted, I get pissed. Outside the Olympic Stadion there is a announcer standing on the course who spots me, calls my name and says I’m doing great and that I’m nearly there. I put my hands up in the air, shout a bit (something that sounds like ‘Yeahhhh’ I guess) and speed up.
I enter the Olympic Stadion, run the last part on the track and finish with a time of 3:56:28 (well the official app said 3:56:27, my watch said 3:56:28 and the website said 3:56:29….I choose the middle one). Still pissed about not being a bit faster (I talk about a louzy 2 minutes….), I know it’s stupid. Luckily I see many people I know right after the finishing line. Like Ramiro from Runner’s World, bet you don’t know how good it was to see you and get my mind off from my own stupid disappointment. Confusion when I see a friend finishing while he is so much faster then I am….damn his knee! But he did it anyway! Seeing Belgium beauty and ex-Dreamteamer Caroline, some fellow Junkies (one even with bloody knees cause she took tumble earlier) and then there they are again: Marlous and Erik! All I can say: happiness and a lot of emotions 😉
After a unexpected longer wait for Udjen, we are all proud new medal owners!
Udjen had a rough time so we take a shower and get a well deserved massage.
Tonight we celebrate, we swap stories, we are crazy proud of eachother, we drink, we dance, we party, we laugh, we cuddle and sadly, we say goodbye.
It was an amazing weekend and I thank everyone!
Especially ‘Haas’ for arranging my bib, Lianne for being my host this weekend, the Junkies for being who they are and organize the weekend and the food and the shirts and Cheerzone and and and and and….
Also thanks to the people who weren’t physically there in Amsterdam with me but supported me and cheered for me either way. And thnx to Chris aka Mister Hawaii, Jasmine (my fellow tights addict), Alexander (Kuya), Yoann and many many many more for coming to the Netherlands and being such cool people!