Parcours halve marathon

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City-pier-city half marathon, the Hague, 14 March 2009

With 1h30m, I ranked 20 out of 585 of my M50-M54 age group, score 3.5%. The old guys are not in shape, I thought, but checking the young guys, M30-M40, I still rank at 7%.

Not a good day

At 13:00 hours the weather is closing in and a drizzle starts. It is now 10 degrees Celsius. This is not good, it may rain for the rest of the day.

I decide to wear long training pants to protect against the rain. They are not my favourites as it may be too warm. Bare legs tends to be fine but I would get very cold in this rain, especially during the first 5 to 10 km. Unclear when it will stops.

Having proof of a finishing time of 1:32 h I get a start position in the 1:30 to 1:40 h end time area, some 50 meters behind number one, our hero Gebresaillassie.

The run

The 5 km I pass in 21:54 minutes. Not so good, my target was 21:30 minutes. Given the circumstances, a cold rain with gusts of a strong head wind, it is still not unreasonable.

The next 5 kms is only slightly faster, 21:44 minutes.

The next 5 km to Schevingen we have a tail wind and it finally stopped raining. There were stretches of cobbles and along the beach mainly tiles. Not great. The 15 km I passed in 1h6m, 22:17 m over the last 5 kms. Getting worse, also my legs are getting very warm. Now I wish I was wearing shorts.

A quick calculation tells me that I will need around 6 times 4:30 m plus 30 seconds or 27:30 m to reach the finish, running 13.3 km/h. The 1h29m target was out of the question, not even my 1h32m of last year.

Past Scheveningen at around 16 kms, the road changed again to cobbles and, worse, went slowly uphill, a killer. Past this point it did not go to well.

The next 5 km, 15 to 20 kms takes 22:39 minutes, a slow 13:25 km per hour.


Insufficient training is not good, the last 2 kms were hard, I was passed by several persons and had to let go the young, little girl who participated in the Dutch Athletics championship. She got ahead by 200 m or one minute.

I am not wearing a heart beat watch and this mistake is a good choice as I would have slowed down. My heart beat at the last km could be around 185, normally I wi8ll not let it pass 178.


You must be training a lot? Young guuys were asking me.

No, just one 14 km and three 10 km runs the previous month. And my five times a week 3 km inside on the thread-mill. That's the secret, don't overdo it. Focus on regular, short distances and run them fast, to improve your running skills.

What I didn't say, the real secret is 30 years of walking in the mountains, be able to walk easily at an altitude of 5000 meters.

Running may keep you fit, so also the untrained but talented persons may participate and think they are fine. Unfortunately, this may back-fire. One of my young British colleagues got a stroke. No details on the severity.

(Back to picture book page)

Rank 723 of 7235 overall.

Rank 20 out of 581 of the Men's 50-54.

Rank 20 of 581 Man 50-54.