A Weekend In Amsterdam (Part Three)

A helicopter, a giant shoe, and Robbie Williams!

On Sunday morning, it was marathon time! We were up at 6am which, after our evening out, was quite frankly bloody ridiculous - even though we were working. The marathon was due to start at around 8:30am, so we needed to get dressed, have breakfast, make sure we'd got everything, and get to the Olympic Stadium. We went down to the hotel dining room for breakfast, and very quickly turned around. They wanted nearly €25 just for breakfast! That was absolutely outrageous, so we decided we'd nip into a shop on the way to the stadium. We found one near the train station, and managed to get a hot breakfast sandwich, a sweet pastry and a drink for around €7! After a short train journey and walk, we arrived at the stadium.

The Olympisch Stadion Amsterdam was built in 1928 for that year's Olympic Games. It can currently hold just over 20,000 people. Jan Wils, who was the architect, received an Olympic gold medal for his design! This year though, it would once again host the Amsterdam Marathon. The route starts in front of the grandstand inside the stadium, and takes in Vondelpark (the largest park in the city), the river Amstel, and the southern area of the city, before returning to the stadium. It's broadcast on European television too. This year, over 30,000 people entered! While I was waiting for the start, I took a couple of photos.

The TV helicopter

Spectators and runners all waiting for the start

A giant running shoe! Isn't this brilliant?!

This is the main entrance to the stadium. The inflatable and the banner reads
"The real energy boost!! I am Amsterdam. Good Luck."

As I was taking these photos, the stadium PA system started playing 'Angels' by Robbie Williams. It seems he really does get everywhere these days! Shortly after I'd taken my snapshots, the race began.

It's good to see that Santa takes time
out from his busy schedule!

She wasn't checking her watch,
she just had a funny run!

Once the runners had all left the stadium, we went to the hospitality area. As we approached the entrance, two doormen stopped us and said we absolutely couldn't go in. One flash of my wrist later and they opened the door and apologised. You see, as part of the media team, we had one of these:

It says 'Organisation' and having one means you can go into the hospitality suite and other areas. Inside there was a huge buffet, and about 20 other people from different countries and different industries. There was plenty to eat and drink, and by that time we were quite hungry again. We ate until we were stuffed, because it would be many hours before we'd have the chance again. The first runners were expected back in around just over 2 hours, so we'd need to be ready and the medal point. Our job was to get photos of people with their medals, which they collected after the finish line. We met so many different nationalities I lost count! Amongst the finishers were Kenyans, Italians, Americans, Australians and Dutch (naturally.) The winner was an Ethiopian man called Getu Feleke - he finished in just under 2 hours and 6 minutes! As he ran through the finish line I tried to taken a photo, but he was too fast. I ended up sprinting past him and the camera bike to get far enough ahead to get a photo and, as it was on the photography company's CF cards and not my own, I've never actually seen it!!

Although we only spent a couple of days here, it was an enjoyable time. We've added it to our list of places to visit properly! Next time we plan on seeing more museums, taking in a show, and lots of the other things that the beautiful city has to offer.

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