Dave here, Marketing Manager from Clink.
I’d like to say a BIG thank you to everyone who supported my run in Amsterdam this October. In total we raised £1,330 for the Dutch Children’s Cancer charity KiKa from website bookings made in October! Find out more about KiKa here.
The story started earlier in the year when I visited Amsterdam to see the progress of our new building in Amsterdam Noord. Flicking through the EasyJet brochure on my way out, I noticed an ad for the TCS Marathon in the in-flight magazine and had what now seems like a crazy idea; we’re always looking for ways to get involved in community projects and charities within the city we operate and the marathon sounded like the prefect way to do just that. I had run for fun before, so it wasn’t a completely mad idea. However, if you’d asked me how I felt about this 28 kilometres into the actual marathon, you’d have gotten a completely different answer!
I arrived Saturday morning and promptly headed over to Clink Noord to check on the progress of the hostel. It’s all very exciting to see the Old Shell Laboratories begin their transformation process from an empty derelict building to a hostel that will bristle with love, life and travel tales. There’ll be more on ClinkNOORD and this story over the coming months!
Next, it was time to go and have a look at the marathon starting point in the Old Olympic Stadium. This was a very cool experience and really gave me the impression of things to come. There was certainly an electric vibe in the air with thousands of runners, friends and families busying themselves at running stalls, collecting race packs and other goodies offered by the sponsors. It was at this point I started to get a little nervous.
To take my mind off the race, I decided to head to Central Station and take a river cruise. I’ve been to Amsterdam quite a few times but had somehow overlooked one of the best things to do while visiting. It’s a great way to see the city and learn about how Amsterdam has changed as the city expanded. Some of the older canals are extremely pretty and can easily rival Venice for atmosphere. As we left the station canal and entered the main Grand Canal, it was nice to Clink Noord just across the water from Central Station. One day soon there will be a sign up and we’ll officially be a part of the AMS skyline.
Marathon morning, off we go! After a hearty breakfast of porridge, banana and yogurt it was time to head to the stadium. The buzz was incredible and as we all unwrapped from our warm coats, tracksuit bottoms and stored our bags, it was clear that there was no going back now.
The race started in epic style with a lap of the historic Olympic track and we then headed out to the city. Thinking back, all I remember was the sheer number of spectators; they were lining every street, every corner and every canal. It was easy to imagine myself being Usain Bolt as I confidently ran down the road to cheers, clapping and people shouting “Go Dave”. 30 kilometres later however, was a completely different story! “Why did I volunteer for this?!” was closer to mind as the km went on and cramps found their way into every one of my leg muscles, it became clear that getting to the end was going to be difficult.
As the bands played and the crowds cheered and the kilometres rolled by, I found myself looking up at a 5km sign. By this time the crowd was getting thicker, much thicker and the cheering louder and louder. With only a few km to go, I’d turned into a one-thought thinking machine; “ Finish, finish, finish!” was echoing through my mind and the rest of my body was off doing its own thing, someone had switched on autopilot without me knowing. The lights were on but no-one was home! With gritted teeth and hearty cheers from the sporting Amsterdam locals, I found myself turning the last corner to the Stadium. Just 500m more and I found myself running through the gates of the Stadium to what can only be described as an Olympic welcome.
At this point I’d run 800 km in training, broken one toe kayaking (another story), stepped on a 3cm nail while moving house and ran 42 km in 4 hours 13 minutes that morning. Most importantly we raised £1,330 for KiKa and that made all the pain a worthwhile experience. Would I do it all again? If you’d asked me on the day, the answer would’ve been a resounding NO! If you ask me today, the answer’s… maybe