half marathon

On the 27th of October 2019 I ran my very first half marathon.

Last year I decided that I was going to try to run a half marathon. Knowing I never was a strong runner and had troubles with keeping my weight in check. This wasn’t going to be an easy task.

During my training I attended a City run, also this event was a first timer for me as well, the first time running in an event and also my first +10km.
I also competed in the Mr. T triathlon again after a few year. Where I smashed my PR with at least 15 minutes.
All things I thought that I needed to do, in order to get myself reading for my biggest challenge yet, running a half marathon.
Drone shot over the 'Watersportbaan', where the event took place
The day was finally there…

Arriving at the event I was a little bit nervous. The runners of the full marathon were still finishing their event, and I saw people crawling on to their bikes to cycle back home afterwards. While I was entering the building where the finish and registration was, I saw a guy with heavy boots, a kilt (scottish skirt) and no shirt at all, just his finishing medal on his chest, a beast of a human. At that point I started to get scared of what I was about to do.

On my way to the starting line I bumped into my friend Nico De Neef, who just set the Belgian record on the marathon in combination with a wheelchair. He gave me some last good advice and wished me luck, which I would need.

The moment was there, the go-shot was fired, off we went.
The first few kilometers I ran well above my pace. I think you’ll be able to relate to it, when everyone around you is running a high pace, your natural instinct is to follow, so I did. After the first 5km we arrived at the first checkpoint, I quickly grabbed a cup of water and ran on, I actually didn’t stop, just grabbed it while I was passing. I still felt great and kept on running. At this point we were running by the river, the sights were beautiful. The people organising this event had put together a great running course. I’m almost 30 years old and I saw parts of my own city that I didn’t even know existed.

It was only until we ran over the highway (E40) that my pace was started to drop, I had ran for a bit more then 10km straight. We just passed the second checkpoint where I grabbed water and piece of banana. I almost made it to the third checkpoint at kilometer mark 15, but then I had to stop to catch my breath, people had been running past me for a few kilometers by now, my pace wasn’t that great anymore. I decided that I would start to alternate from running to walking, by doing so, I would prevent muscle scraps.
At the third checkpoint I took another piece of banana and 3 cups of water, I was told that in order to keep the muscle cramps away, I must drink lots of water during my activity. But I guess it was all to late. By kilometer mark 18 I was completely empty. The walking parts were more frequent by this time and I was starting to calculate how long I had left to make the cut off.
Bert is running with a stare into the distance

At the final checkpoint at the 20km mark I grabbed a piece of banana, an energy snack and again 3 cups of water. I also stood there for about a minute. This helped me to get through the final part of my challenge. During the final 2 kilometers I passed a guy that just had torn a muscle in his leg, he was in a huge amount of pain. Eventually I saw him again after the finish, they picked him up to check his leg, he had to give up.

When I arrived at the sports center where the finish was, I saw my wife and her father, they came to cheer me on. Which helped to run the last 800meters, entering the stadium and going over the finish of my first ever half marathon.
Bert crossing the finish line, happy that he made it
It wasn’t easy, actually it was hard. But I managed to do it. Something to be proud of I guess.

Check out my strava event here: