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See Joop Run. Run Joop Run.

A lot of people got up yesterday to run the highly anticipated annual City-Pier-City Run Half Marathon here in The Hague.

Alas, Yours Truly was not one of them. I would have liked to, but I have a bit more work to do. Actually, quite a bit. A whole lot.

(Like get back into running, for one thing. Build up some stamina, any stamina, for another. And then run regularly for a third. But I digress.)

The race is known in running circles as the CPCLoop Den Haag. It attracts world class talent, Olympic medalists and World Champions, and runners who aspire to the same. Each year speculation is whether the Kenyans will upset the Ethiopians, or vice versa.

They call them the ‘Sub-60s,’ as in able to run half marathons in less than an hour.

(Did I ever mention that I’ve run two 10K races in less than an hour? No? Well, I did. A few years ago. Okay, more than a few years ago. Many years ago. And I struggled. Quite a bit. It was the highpoint of my running career, if you can call two 5Ks and two 10Ks a ‘career’. Needless to say, I was not in any danger of making a name for myself in the running world. Nike and Adidas did NOT come calling with endorsement offers.)

The CPC is considered a fast route.

Not surprising since the Netherlands is flat as a pannekoeken (pancake) in most places.

This year’s winner, Lelisa Desisa Benti from Ethiopia, won with a time of 59:37.

Yowza. THAT is fast.

What I enjoy about the City-Pier-City run is that it doesn’t hide the fact that it’s an urban race. It embraces it.

Runners start downtown, run throughout the city, reach the pier on the beach at Scheveningen, and wind their way back downtown.

And I like the fact that the race is also popular with amateur runners. Well over 26,000 people were running the race yesterday, the majority of them doing it just to challenge themselves. For the fun of it.

What I like most of all is the local support for the runners. Den Haag-ers are proud of their city, and line up to cheer on the participants.

They’ll bring the children, watch the runners take off, have a snack or a meal, wander around to catch sight of the runners a little later, bop into a cafe or bar for a drink, make a day of it.

It was warm enough yesterday (reaching 13 degrees Celsius, mid-50s Fahrenheit) to see people enjoying ice cream cones.

Don’t let the fact that the spectators are bundled up in coats fool you.

It felt downright mild. Missed qualifying as an early spring heatwave by a smidgeon.

So congratulations to the participants, hosts, officials and most of all, to the spectators who came out to watch and lend their support.

Who knows, maybe next year will be my year to run. Or not…

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