Categorized | Marathons, Primary

Reflections on the Rotterdam Marathon

Posted on 14 April 2011

If your interested in a large scale, enthusiastic European Marathon then you must consider the Rotterdam Marathon.  Rotterdam is the second largest city in the Netherlands (Amsterdam is the largest and as we learned they is definitely a “rivalry” between these Dutch cities!) and the largest port in Europe (actually the second largest port in the world).  There is a train right at the Amsterdam airport that is very inexpensive for the 1 hour ride to Rotterdam.

I remember 20 years ago reading through Running Times magazine the annual Spring Marathon preview and hearing about Rotterdam.   Many of the top athletes around the world are always be at this race along with Boston and London.   The race has a great history.   This year marked the 31st anniversary of the event.

The passion of the people of Rotterdam was amazing and I would highly recommend it to any athlete looking to run a large European Marathon.   Similar to NY and Chicago, the crowds were immense – over 900,000 lining the streets the entire way cheering on the runners.   Similar to other large marathons,  there were bands everywhere playing many different types of music.  The one item that we enjoyed so much was the European culture of sitting down at a cafe having coffee, food and of course a beer.   The relaxing nature of Europe is contagious and every cafe along the course was bustling with excitement and enhanced the atmosphere.

The race course is flat and fast with great views of the city crossing the river and the spectacular Erasmus Bridge.  The architecture of the city is truly amazing and every building in the city is a different color and becomes evident as the runners see the skyline from many different angeles.    The race offers a large expo for those of you looking to purchase more “gear”.  The overriding trend of lightweight running shoes was evident along with compression socks.  Every other booth had some version of each so it looks like the same hype in Europe as in the US.

Definitely include the Rotterdam Marathon to your list of  “must-do” races if you like to travel to unique cities and experience new cultures!


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