Thursday, February 4, 2016

Tourist Run Amsterdam - a running tour review

Ever since I heard about the idea of a "running tour", I've wanted to go on one. Well, sorta -- I have wanted to have gone on one... since, well, this sort of thing makes me anxious. What sort of thing? Running with strangers, in a small group, where maybe I won't be fast enough, strong eoungh good enough to keep up. And, of course, everyone would point and laugh, forever. 

And so I was nervous about doing this. So I am actually rather dorky-proud that I went ahead and booked the tour with Tourist Run Amsterdam for Saturday, my last full day in town. Shortly after submitting my payment, I received an email from Paul, and we arranged to meet in Dam Square, near the national monument, the next morning at 9am.

Did I mention that a storm blew in on Friday night and it was pouring down rain and blustery wind? Winter Storm Gertrude had hit Scotland on Friday and blown across to the Netherlands. I decided I would wear my Gore-Tex jacket to the meeting point so that I didn't get soaked while I waited for the others. Spoiler alert: I never took it off. 

GTS ready to hit the cobblestones!
Today we were joined by two other runners, neither of whom had ever been on a running tour either, and one of whom had never run more then 5k. So we had a nice, friendly little group. Paul wanted to get us running so we would warm up, so we ran to Museumplein and snapped a photo in front of AmsterdamIce. 

doing my best Hans Brinker at Amsterdam Ice
Paul told us a little about the area, then we ran through the Rijksmuseum (well, underneath it!) and back into the center. One regret: for some reason, probably nerves, I didn't turn my GPS on, so I don't have our tour on a map. This makes me more sad than you could possibly know.

I really can't say where all we ran ... we had lots of twists and turns, and did I mention that it was POURING DOWN RAIN still? But it was still really fun to run around a city I don't know well, not having to worry about where we were.  We crisscrossed canals...

with my tour-mates on a canal
Stopped on the Magere Brug across the Amstel river...

standing on the Magere Brug across the Amstel River
and even ran to a point where we had a great view of the bridge...

view of the Magere Brug
(where Paul took a "sneaky pic" of me...
Paul's "sneaky pic" of me taking the pic of the Magere Brug
and I considered what life would be like in a canal-side house:
on the Amstel
At one point we stopped on a bridge over a canal with a perfect view of the Zuiderkerk:

and got a nice group shot, as well:
the team in front of the Zuiderkerk
We also saw some quirky sights, like Amsterdam's narrowest street, a 1-meter wide passage in the Red Light District (okay, there's a smutty joke there...). We also saw this little beauty, by a secret artist who installs these works of art here and there through the city, each one reflective of the neighborhood. 

street art that pops up around the city -- this one in the Red Light District
Throughout the run, Paul told us snippets of information about Amsterdam, both historical and modern-day, and pointed out lots of sights. He was funny, spoke excellent English, and kept a close eye on his runners to make sure they were having a good time -- no matter what the weather is like! The pace was pretty gentle, too, and we ran about 8k in the hour.

map of a sample run -- not exactly ours, but close -- can't believe I forgot to turn on my GPS!
So if you find yourself in Amsterdam, look Tourist Run Amsterdam up and tell them Sunny says hi. I do wish that I had taken this tour at the beginning of my stay rather than on the last full day -- so that I could have used it to orient myself. It was a fun way to get an overview of the city, get a run in, and do something most tourists wouldn't do.

#runselfie in Amsterdam!

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