Lost Among Europeans

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Half marathon

It was bound to happen one day.

In February, Florian and I started running during lunch break on Tuesdays. Maarten would often join us, and we’d run a relaxed 40-50 minutes. One day, Florian told me he had registered for the Luxembourg half-marathon. I thought about it a few minutes, and decided to do the same. We started running in the weekends too, and I even kept the habit when abroad in Italy and Slovakia.

The half marathon was last Saturday. It was a crazy event. There were over 3400 runners for the half marathon alone, and the runners for all races started together, at 7pm. The LuxExpo area was crowded, and Florian and I were not able to find each other before the race.

It drizzled for a few minutes in the beginning, and it was cold for this time of the year, which helped the race. I was off to a quick start. I kept overtaking people, and the percussion groups along the road pumped me full of energy. I was running below my sprint pace, but not far below.

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Maarten had told me he’d be watching from Place Guillaume, around kilometer 16. When I got there, I saw that little more than an hour had passed, and I got excited. I might make a good time! I only time myself very loosely when training, so I didn’t have a good prediction for my time.

The last kilometers were hard. There was a continuous uphill, and the finish line kept teasing me. When I finished, I was ecstatic to find 1:37 in the race timer, which, discounting the delay in getting to the start line, meant roughly 1:33. This was much better than I had ever hoped. I would find out a couple of days later that my net time was 1:31:57.

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A while later Florian finished, followed by Maarten. When Florian got to Place Guillaume, Maarten came out from the crowd, reached Florian, and ran the last part of the race with him. A fantastic gesture, and a great conclusion to our running sessions from Tuesdays.

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We stayed a while in the finish area, exhausted and excited at the same time. After an hour, we went to a bistro and had a proper dinner, and then we rode the bus home.

All in all, a completely worthwhile experience.