I recently ran the Zevenheuvenlenloop in Nijmegen, the Netherlands. Most races in the Netherlands are typically flat and fast, the Zevenheuvenlenloop, however, is not your typical race. It is an annual 15km run around the city’s seven hills (Zevenheuvelen in Dutch), which, by the way, are the only hills I’ve encountered the entire time I’ve lived here.
I’ve run races in a number of cities in the Netherlands – Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, Hilversum – and after a few miles those canals and gable-roofed buildings, as lovely as they are get a little monotonous. It was nice to see the country mix it up a bit with the hills. I figure if you’ve got seven hills you can plan a race around, go for it. Another scenic aspect of Nijmegen is the famous bridge that crosses the Waal river. While not part of the race route I enjoying seeing American history in the Netherlands. Nijmegen is also famous among runners because it is where the ChampionChip was invented. Speaking of ChampionChips, I left mine at home, which considering how slowly I run didn’t really matter.
The race was going well, until around kilometer 5, I stepped down on my ankle in a weird way and injured myself. I walked briefly and though I felt some discomfort I wasn’t sprang and it didn’t feel it was bad enough to withdraw from the race. I continued the race even slower than my usual snail’s pace, slowing down even more going up and down the hills so that I wouldn’t do more. In the end I finished in 1:35 and since I forgot my ChampionChip, you’ll have to just take my word for it.