TCS Amsterdam Marathon Review

On Sunday 21st October 2018 I completed the Amsterdam Marathon in a time of 4:30:20.

This is a PB of 5 mins and 32 seconds which I was honestly very pleased with, having been out of action for a good 3 weeks during training!

My personal running account looked a little bit like this…

Mile 1-13 I managed to keep 9.30min/mile and felt good!
Mile 13-18 this dropped closer to 10min/mile and the 4.20 pacers overtook me  but I still felt strong and capable.
Mile 18-23 I began to flag a little.. I was holding onto 10-10.5min/mile but it was hurrrting
Mile 23-26.2- it all fell apart haha, I stopped to drink water from a cup and my right quad cramped up which took me by surprise, resulting in me half falling into the barrier. It stayed cramped for aaages and these last 3 were a painful walk/jog/stop situation as it kept cramping. BUT I didn’t let the 4.30 pacers ahead of me, I was feeling stubborn as f*ck haha.

The course and the pacing taught me a lot, and hopefully I can apply these lessons when I take myself for an amble around New York next week!

Race Distance

The Amsterdam race organisers put on a selection of distances you can book yourself in for – 8km, half marathon, and full marathon. This review will be concerning the full marathon.


Getting to the Expo was easy as pie, as they seem to have their public transport system absolutely nailed in the ‘Dam. All in all it was about 30 minutes from the airport to the Expo, and about 20 minutes from the Expo to Centraal Station after we were done collecting.

(Note, the ‘unlimited travel’ pass for 2 days was just 21 euros)

The expo itself was beautifully quiet when I attended (on the Saturday, day before race day). It was a far cry from the LOUD loud scenes at London and I only had to queue for 5 minutes to collect my race number at T-Shirt. This marathon issues your t shirt before you race, whether you wear it on race day or not is your decision though.

In terms of stands and products up for grabs, I wasn’t particularly wowed by anything but similarly I’m not huge on the expo experience so I was happy to be able to move through the motions fairly quickly, sampling a few endurance bars as I went.

They had a few of those “free photo booths” where you stand proudly with your number and wait for a physical print of your pic to come through. We all love a bit of content for the ‘gram right!?

The Course

The Amsterdam marathon is known to be a FLAT route, and it most certainly delivered on that front. Rather amusingly, people in the Netherlands consider Amsterdam to be the hilliest part of their country…I find that hard to believe. Apart from some verrrrrrry slight gradients and coming up and down over some small bridges, the rest of the route was pancake – perfect to chase a PB on.

Amsterdam Marathon Route

However, if you are running slow enough to NOT be chasing PBs at a crazy fast rate and you quite like to enjoy scenery on your run… this one isn’t really that fab. I personally found the course to be pretty dull.

The first few miles were okay as we made our way through Central Amsterdam, through a park and then under a historic museum – the name of which has temporarily escaped me, may research later – and continued with crowds for a few miles at most. However, from about mile 4 things started to get quiet, and the route started to look like it was just taking us around office blocks. I could liken it to perhaps running through Aldgate on a Sunday… but less pretty. And Aldgate isn’t even that pretty. Okay, I’m rambling.

From about Mile 8 – 16 we had a glorious 8 mile chunk of river-running. Still not the city-run I was expecting, but very very pretty and with plenty of music entertainment and HUGE homes by the water to gaze at as we trundled past. It felt like something out of a film… such big, pretty homes. My pacing was very good on this river-stint, very consistent, and I think that’s because I was genuinely enjoying myself!

Miles 18-23 were a bit rubbish. Maybe it was because I was physically tiring,  or maybe it was because I was finding the route so dull… either way, it wasn’t a great time for me. It was residential, and running on some big main roads, and I just wasn’t feeling it.

The final 3 miles, on the contrary (despite my physical pain) were VERY well supported, and much more of what I expected from Amsterdam marathon. Big crowds and running through the centre of the city, back through the park (which felt weird having been through a few hours prior) and then a short final half a mile or so to the finish line.

The start and finish of Amsterdam marathon was in the Olympic Stadium, which was pretty awesome from both a runners perspective and for atmosphere. Booming music blared and I got swept up in the excitement of it all again… despite being physically pooped.

The Organisers/Support

The race is sponsored by TCS (who are also the sponsors of NYC Mara too) and they did a bloody good job, from my opinion. I queued for just 20 minutes for a portaloo (not bad at all) and everyone seemed to know which race pen they were heading to, and how to get there. There were PLENTY of marshals on the day. I felt supported.

I didn’t experience bag drop at this event as I had my own personal mule (lol).

Post-run goodies were a bit sparse

  • Isotar energy drink (which I was already feeling sick from drinking on the way round so I left)
  • Banana
  • Water (obvs)

…and that was it!


75 euros – I thought that’s very reasonable.


Amsterdam Olympic Stadium.

When will they take place again?

Next October 2019

Would I run it again?

Probably not. It would take something pretty special to make me want to do that route again… maybe if I was chasing a serious PB perhaps, or if I was running alongside a group of people who could take my mind off the surroundings? Never say never.

Amsterdam Marathon Post Race.png

2 thoughts on “TCS Amsterdam Marathon Review

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