Seven years after winning a bronze medal in the Dutch national marathon championships, I did it again. This time not in The Netherlands, but in Finland. It was a special marathon, with only competitive participants, 23 in total. Jaakko Nieminen won the title (2:26), and Mikko Tolonen won surprisingly silver (2:28) – he did not only surprise us, he also surprised himself. My own finishing time was 2:29’35, clocking just below 1:13 halfway. Although I had to take a short break after 30k with stomach pain due to a tactical mistake (speeding up uphill), I consider this race one of my best marathons ever, as the route was very tough, with almost continuously hills and several kilometers on non-tarmac roads. According to the organization, we ascended and descended nearly 300 meters during the race. Along the route, we were provided with spectacular ruska views, personal drinks every 3k (!) and helpful volunteers, making me love this wonderful country even more than I already did.
I have been able to pick up the training very soon after the race and am now preparing for the Amsterdam marathon, which will be on October 18th. There and then I will try to break my personal best, which is 2:23.
Check out Jaakko Nieminen’s blog for his (winning) perspective of the race (in Finnish).