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Digital Subscriptions > Men's Running > December 2018 > DAM GOOD

DAM GOOD

ANDREW SIMMS NAVIGATES THE COBBLED STREETS OF AMSTERDAM FOR A MARATHON DEBUT TO REMEMBER
Clockwise from here: runners set off from the Olympic Stadium; on your marks; race winner Daniel Wanjiru; the route takes in many of Amsterdam’s most iconic landmarks

Why go to Amsterdam for a marathon? My first thought was flat, really flat, although there are a few gradients and a range of cobbles, kerbs and tramlines (all much-discussed but, I found, overstated obstacles). You can also get there by train, so you don’t have to burn the climate in order to burn some foot rubber. In troubled times for Europe, Amsterdam remains one of the continent’s most laid-back cities, and the Dutch are as friendly as a freshly opened tulip.

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About Men's Running

I never had any desire to run a marathon. Yes, I watched it religiously every year from 1984 when Charlie Spedding set the then-English record and marveled at the speeds. But it didn’t hold any appeal for me. I was a track runner, a thoroughbred, an out-and-out speed merchant; the thought of running 26 miles consecutively, back-to-back, was just too monstrous a thought. And then I started working in running and I realised that, for 99% of the population, running IS marathons. No one ever says ‘ah, you’re a runner, what’s your 1500metre time?’. The first question anyone asks is ‘have you run a marathon?’. Fortunately, I’m now in the happy position to say yes. Several in fact. And more half marathons than I can actually remember. But running a marathon still isn’t easy. If it was, more people would have done it. It takes training, and work, and effort and a resilient mindset that says ‘I’m not going to give up on this journey’. In this special issue, we reveal the secrets, the highs and lows and the training that can get you round a marathon. There’s something here for everyone, even if you’re an experienced marathoner. As Emil Zatopek famously said: “If you want to run, run a mile. If you want to experience a different life, run a marathon.”