Amsterdam: The Two Exceptional Half-Marathons

Contrary to popular belief, the capital of the Netherlands has more than one half-marathon up its cycling sleeve! 🚴 The stunning city of Amsterdam hosts, of course, the legendary Mizuno Half Marathon annually, which you might know as part of the famous Amsterdam Marathon route. The great news is that there's also the Bijlmer Run, an extremely fast 21 km race, taking place 4 months earlier. Which one suits you best? Let's find out! 😉

The Mizuno Half Marathon 🏃‍♀️

Grab your helm, we're setting a course for the Amstel 🧭. Hold up, sailor, we're not talking about the beer here! Absolutely no way we're compromising all the recent months' hard work just days before the world's most awe-inspiring half marathon! 🙅 You'll need to find another way to keep warm, because, truth be told, during October in Amsterdam, a chilly breeze adds to the already present drizzle 🌬️🌥️. Admittedly, this description doesn't exactly sell the dream! 😂 But rest assured, the journey is absolutely worth it. The Mizuno Half Marathon, the legendary Amsterdam Half Marathon, doesn’t really need us to introduce it: its reputation precedes it! 💁‍♀️

The most famous ⭐️

It's in the heart of October, right when the road racing season is in full swing 🥁, that this race takes place. Autumn in the Netherlands means unpredictable weather: grey skies, a drizzle, and a light wind that might push you along the course depending on where you find yourself. This 21 km race is part of a larger event, the Amsterdam Marathon, which, like the Rotterdam Marathon, is among the country’s most anticipated events 📍. Every year, more than 30,000 runners (😮) hit the city streets 🌆, and it's worth noting that the races are sold out 2 to 3 months in advance 🗓️. But today, we're focusing on the middle distance 🤏. However, if you're looking for more info, you can check out the race page here 👈.

(Credit: Amsterdam Marathon)

An ideal course for a personal best ⌚️

First thing to note is that the Mizuno Half Marathon doesn't go through the city's core 💓. And the same goes for the marathon and the 8 km. Indeed, to accommodate the 30,000 runners smoothly, the organizers decided to lay out a course in the South of the city 👍. This decision brings several sizable benefits 🎁: the routes are very scenic 🥰, the streets are bigger and wider... Thus, more suitable for navigating through and enjoying a fast course! 🛼 Yes, as you might well know, the Netherlands are an extremely flat country 📏. This makes the Amsterdam Half Marathon a prime choice for breaking your personal record! ⏱️ If you're looking for elevation like in the UTMB or the Biarritz Marathon, this might not be the race for you! There's no particular difficulty in this half. In fact, it's the most accessible for starting competitive running. Along your journey through the city streets, you'll find that the course offers plenty of long straightaways 🚀. Feel free to check out the race's GPX route for a little reconnaissance 👇.

(Credit: Finishers)

Stunning highlights 😍

The race starts off with a bang 💪 just a stone's throw from the Olympic Stadium 🏟️. You'll wander through West, Zuid, and Oost, which are popular districts of Amsterdam. You'll also hit a high point when you make your way to the banks of the Singel canal (after all, you are in the "Little Venice of the North", right? 😜🛶). You'll cross the historic Amstel bridge surrounded by polders and large meadows 🌿 of Amsterdam. You'll pass by the Heineken Experience 🍻 (dear to our Dutch friends), and the Rijksmuseum 🎨, one of Europe's most beautiful museums (which shares its architecture with the Amsterdam Central Station 🚞), before leading you into the capital's most famous park 🌳, the Vondelpark. It's Amsterdam's Central Park! After a quick return to the city ⚡️, you'll head back along the canal, where an enthusiastic crowd 🤪 awaits. Along with entertainment 🤡, live music 🎶, and cheering fans 📣, they'll definitely motivate you and give you the strength to excel towards the end of the course! The final major milestone is crossing the Vondelpark, entirely privatized for the event, and the finish line at the Olympic Stadium 🏁.

(Credit: Amsterdam Marathon)

Ideal for running with friends 👬

As mentioned earlier, the race takes place during the All Saints' Day holidays 👻, making it more feasible for participation 😁. Indeed, it's generally the third Sunday of October chosen to welcome the 21 km race of the Dutch capital. The start 🚩, given in the early afternoon, occurs while the marathoners have finished their run. The streets are thus clear and open, and the timing is perfect for couples or friends who decide to enroll in both events! (They're crazy, but we forgive them 😅) Regarding mobility 🚶, it's worth noting that the event made a mark 👏. Numerous passages are open to allow onlookers and supporters to move about and follow their runners 👀. The bike lanes 🚲 are a huge time saver for tracking the course. If friends come to cheer you on, they can see you at least 3/4 of the way 😁. And if they're truly great friends, they'll see you at least 5 times! 😆

Great news! Finishers is the official partner of the Amsterdam Marathon 🤝. You can now reserve your bib for the half marathon by clicking here 👈.

(Credit: Amsterdam Marathon)

The Bijlmer Run ✌️

Now that one presentation is out of the way, it's time to introduce our second guest. The Bijlmer Run, the other half-marathon in Amsterdam, is less known than its older sibling. The reason is simple: it's a newcomer! 👶 The competition will celebrate just its 3rd edition in 2024 🫶. However, the race has been sold out from the get-go 🙌. Faced with such success, the organizers didn't hesitate to add a distance, bringing the total number of available races to 5 ✋: a 21 km race, two 10 km races, a 5 km, and a 1 km. So, if you too want to see this novelty enter the legends of the Dutch capital, you'll need to quickly grab your mouse and sign up: spots are flying off the shelves... Ready, set, go! 🔫

A powerful story 📖

The idea was born from Charita Zandgrond. She has been working with the MBO college South-East for over 12 years. Her love for Bijlmer emerged gradually, as she discovered all the potential it harbored 💖. Her dream was to combine her two passions: running 👟 and the South-East district of Amsterdam. The primary goal of this event is to break the stereotypes 💣 surrounding the Bijlmer area. To achieve this, she decided to organize a half-marathon and two other races independently 🆓. She is determined to showcase the energy 🔋 and diversity of Bijlmer through sport 🤸. To turn this project into reality, she enlisted Yoshi Green, a runner and sports event organizer, who immediately bought into the event's values ✨. To assist her, he himself explored the district streets to find the best route 🤌. Subsequently, the Patta Foundation lent its support to the event. Sports are key 🔑 to a healthy lifestyle. The Bijlmer Run actively encourages participants of all profiles to join 👐.

(Credit: Bijlmer Run)

Revamping a neighborhood's image 💅

Bijlmermeer, is an outlying neighborhood of the capital that's often viewed unfavorably 🗞️. It's among those overlooked areas every large city has 😔. However, for those living there, it's much more than that ❗️ Indeed, it can be frustrating to see their neighborhood being stigmatized or neglected by the public authorities 😡. This was the case for Charita Zandgrond, who was eager to present a new image 🖼️ of this part of the city, while also providing an opportunity to develop sports and activities. The Bijlmer Run was partly created to shatter negative stereotypes 🔨. It’s a success story 🏆. The race has been sold out for 3 years and the route passes through beautiful and authentic sites of Bijlmer. It offers a unique chance 🍀 for runners to enjoy the pleasant and diverse surroundings of the city across four laps of about 5 kilometers each 🔄.

(Credit: Bijlmer Run)

Get moving and have fun 🥳

The race's main objective, naturally, is to get people moving 🤾. And what better way to do that than with an event that offers 5 different distances? 🤔 Whether you're a novice or an experienced runner, the outcome is the same: you’re going to have a blast ! 🎉 Yes, even seasoned runners can find their stride here. Remember: the Netherlands is extremely flat 👌. So, you can smash your personal best just as you could at the other Amsterdam half-marathon! 😇 The atmosphere here is definitely lighter, and you’ll notice this by mingling with the residents and locals! It’s not as tourist-focused as the Mizuno Half Marathon. Here, the vibe is more casual and inclusive 🔥. Plenty of supporters will await you at the Anton de Komplein 🤟, the start and finish line and loop junction… But also all along the course! After your run, you’ll no doubt enjoy the available food trucks 🌭🍟 to chat with local partners of the race to learn more about the wealth of this neighborhood.

(Credit: Bijlmer Run)

Enjoy the climate 🌤️

The semi-marathon takes place in May, right in the heart of spring 🐣, known for its motto "do what you will". Surely then, you'll enjoy lacing up a pair of sneakers to hit the Amsterdam pavement 😃. The temperature is mild, typically ranging between 12°C and 17°C. Of course, this is Amsterdam, so a chance of rain cannot be ruled out! 🙄 However, you'll likely be spared and able to enjoy a magnificent backdrop as it's also the peak tulip 🌷 blooming season, the national flower 🇳🇱. You should easily find a moment to visit the cultivation fields surrounding the city once your race is finished. A beautiful wrap-up, isn’t it? Don't forget your camera! 📸

(Credit: Flickr)

So, which Amsterdam half-marathon is for you? 


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