Zuiderpark Parkrun Report by Mark Creasey

I had booked a weekend in Amsterdam and the temptation to squeeze in a parkrun whilst there was too strong to resist, but which one? 

 Of the 5 parkrun`s in Holland the nearest was in Amsterdam itself. But one stood out from the rest.  Zuiderpark in The Hague (Den Haag). The one beginning with Z that can`t be found in the UK.  

On arrival in Amsterdam, I enquired at the main railway Station how long it would take to get to The Hague to see if it was feasible. It would involve a change of trains and would take about an hour. On reaching The Hague the last part of the journey would be 20 minutes by tram. It would mean an early start but could be done. 

Saturday morning up at 6, showered and out by half past, it was a cold day but not too bad.  Boarded the 6.40 train to Vlissingen changing at Leiden for the train to The Hague, Arrived at 7.50. Quick cup of coffee at the station then on to the No 9 tram. Eight stops later we reached the park at 8.25am. We headed into the park to where the start should be only to find no sign of a parkrun! We walked towards the large sport centre to ask where we could find the Parkrun. As we neared the sport centre, I met a man wearing a fluorescent yellow parkrun vest. He told me I was in the right place and the start would be about 50 m away. The reason I saw no sign of it was because the course was 2 laps of a large circle and required minimum of setting out. They were laying out a few cones to show the finish. He recruited Pam to act as a marshal near the finish where you turn off the circle and run the last 50m to the finish. By now other runners were arriving. Talking to them I realised that the majority every week are from the UK come to chalk up a Z run. 2 girls we chatted to came from Bristol and only needed this run to complete their alphabet. At the pre run briefing nearly everyone was a first timer. The course explanation was easy and at 9am the field of 60 assembled were off. I settled into my normal position near the back. On the first lap I ran a mile before I had to walk, then as the run progressed the intervals between walks became less and less. I finished in 41minutes dead. 54th out of 61, which was a minute slower than my last run 2 weeks previous at Cutteslowe.  

After the run we went to the cafe on the far side of the park for coffee and a well-earned breakfast with the organisers and other runners. 

We decided to get the tram back into the city centre and do some sightseeing. 

The Hague is not the capital but it is the seat of the government and contains the oldest parliament buildings in the world. After a couple of hours walking round with a stop for a bite to eat and a few drinks we got the train back to Amsterdam, for a shower and a rest at the hotel before our evening out in the city. 

All in all, I would recommend this run. It`s a fast and pancake flat course all on tarmac. The journey from Amsterdam is straight forward enough. If you have any problems ask. The Dutch speak better English than we do.