Grachtenloop 10k race review – Haarlem, Netherlands

If you follow me on any form of social media then I’m sure you would have seen I spent this weekend in Holland. As an ambassador for 361° Europe we had a meet up this weekend which included a Friday night 10k local race called “Grachtenloop” which I believes translates as “canal run”.

361° are the sponsors of the race which included a 1k a 5k and a 10k, along the canals of Haarlem and through the city. The earlier 5k race had a great atmosphere with many kids and families taking part with the latter 10k having sections for corporate teams as well as other runners.

Pre race

We walked towards the race HQ about an hour before the race. I believe all the corporate teams were allowed to use this area, which was a large bar – some runners even drinking beer before the race! We dropped bags off took on some water, took a few hundred photos and headed towards the actual start – about a 10 mins walk.

There was a great atmosphere around the start area, a huge “scoreboard” with everyone’s 5k time showing up as all the 10k runners headed towards the pens. It was well organised that everyone’s bib did get checked before entering a pen – same can’t be said for all UK races!

The “warm up” was more of a party than anything – the race had a really relaxed atmosphere, most there for the enjoyment rather than those speedy times. We had a group of 25 starting together so it was brilliant to be around as we took several mor photos and boomerangs before counting down the seconds to the start…

Race

And as the gun shot we set off along the canal in the usual fashion of everyone sprinting…

Approx 4,000 people take part across the 3 distances but it really had the feel of a small race but on closed roads – similar to a RunThrough event. There was some great entertainment en route, lively crowds and friendly marshalls too.

I didn’t want to push but found myself on my own for quite a bit of the race. At no time did I feel cramped or struggling for room even on a fairly narrow, windy course. As you can imagine, it does continue on the canal for the most part with the middle section through the city and lively squares with packed bars.

There were also 2 beer stops on the course! You pass several bars on the race and one had cups of water and cups of beer lined up – which I may have partaken in on the second lap 😉

As it was a Friday night, the whole city had a great buzz about it. I thought it was a great idea. Those cheering were on the streets drinking and all in good spirits. Those that had ran the 5k were also now watching and cheering on the runners. This would be a great race to enter if visiting for a weekend with a group.

The first lap passed with relative ease and I decided to run with 2 others for the next few KMs. Back around the canal you see those coming up the other way and I spotted the leaders way out in front. The route has lots of large straight, flat stretches so would actually be great for a PB attempt. It is largely on a cobble-esque surface, it looks like cobbles but really not bad for running on like back in the UK – so don’t let this put you off!

Back into the city part and past the beer – I grabbed one and tried to enjoy the last 3k, even going on Instagram Live for a section – yes my accent is that northern for everyone that commented!

Not long after we passed the 9km and I did step up the pace for the final km, crossing the line and almost instantly seeing your chip time across the huge scoreboard which is a great touch.

Post Race

Running with 361° I did get my entry for free, however it is actually only €15 for the 10k or €225 for a team entry (up to 20 people), which makes it very cheap! For that you get a free t-shirt, which many ran in, medal, and we also got 2 free beers and 1 free pasta dish post race – not bad at all right!

I loved the race. The atmosphere was amazing and the whole city seem to come out in force for it. I really feel there’s a good market for Friday evening races, it’s great for families, kids and adults too.

We ended the night in the pub celebrating many PB’s across the group – a perfect race!

If interested in this for next time, please do let me know and I’ll answer anything you may want to know!

Check out another blog about the race/weekend from Charlene

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