Spring Half Marathon – Utrecht

Utrecht, Netherlands
Sunday 18 March 2018

We are thrilled to announce the 2018 half marathon will be in Utrecht, Netherlands, a city described by Lonely Planet as in the “Top 10 of the World’s Unsung Places.” Located 35 miles southeast of Amsterdam, Utrecht is home to the largest university in the Netherlands and boasts an ancient city centre with buildings from as far back as the high Middle Ages. It has been described as a graceful city, encircled by a medieval canal and filled with bustling wharves, bohemian cafes, shops and restaurants.

The half marathon is particularly appealing to our group. In addition to a great mid-March date before spring break and (hopefully) before hot spring weather, the course is dead flat (with only an one meter rise over the entire course). The course starts outside of town at the University Science Park and then loops back through the town and parks of Utrecht. There is a marathon on the same course which means the time cut-off for the half is the same as for the full marathon at 5.5 hours. The marathon gets good reviews for being well organised with regular water stations and toilets. The race is smaller than some of our previous races, with about 2,500 runners (similar in size to the Padua race). The benefit of a smaller race is easier logistics and less runner congestion at the start and during the race. This is a great race for everyone in our group whether it’s your first half marathon or you’re going for a personal best time.

One thing to be aware of is that the race starts at 12:15 which is later in the day than our previous races. On the positive side, this means there is no need for an early morning wake-up on race day!

Please remember that the half marathon trip is for WRW runners only. No husbands, no partners, no kids, no non-runners. This weekend is all about you and the women in the running group. If you want to talk about this, just let me know.

Hotel and Race Registration
Below you’ll see the link that takes you to the hotel’s group-booking form for WRW. You need to book through this system to get our group rate. You will also see the link that takes you to the race registration site. PLEASE FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS because you need to enter a special WRW code for the race registration. This code will allow us to collect all the WRW race numbers at once which means we will have a free day to enjoy instead of having the entire group go to the race office to pick up numbers.

If there’s any chance that you’ll go to this race with us, please book your hotel room now! (The hotel has given us a generous cancellation policy so you could always cancel later) We may need to increase the number of rooms that the hotel is holding for us and the sooner we know if we need more rooms, the better.
As a reminder, if you haven’t done it yet, please send your flight information to Sue Wheeler at sue.zealand@gmail.com. Also if you are booking a double room, please email Sue with the name of your roommate.
We are holding a block of rooms at the NH Hotel in the centre of Utrecht.
The rates including VAT and breakfast are:
Friday night:
Single room (1 person) – 93.90 EUR
Double room (2 people) – 108.80 EUR
Saturday and Sunday nights:
Single room (1 person) – 113.90 EUR
Double room (2 people) – 126.80 EUR
The difference in price between the single person room and the double person room is the cost of an additional breakfast.
All rooms have two twin beds which the hotel either makes up together as one king bed for a single room or separately for a double room.
You will guarantee the room with a credit card and all rooms are refundable up to 24 hours in advance.
Please note that when you first request a room the price shows up in GBP, but on the next page the price is in Euros.
On the first page, just ignore the superior and standard room pictures and click on the boxed text indicating the group rate.
After you book, you’ll receive a confirmation email.
Please use the following link to get the group rate:
Please follow the directions below because you need to enter the WRW code and you also may appreciate the directions while navigating some of the questions that are only in Dutch, not English.
1) First step is to select the language in the upper right corner. When you land on the page it says Nederlands. If you drop down, there are options for English (UK) and English (US). The English (UK) choice did not actually translate the page into English, but the English (US) selection did.
2) Runners should register as an individual (not team). Please select the 21.1km option for 23.50 euros. Then check the two “Assumption of Risk and Privacy Policy” boxes.
3) Fill out pertinent info. When selecting countries, if you are trying to select United States, it is at the very top, not under “U” in the alphabetical drop down menu. Don’t forget to include 0044 or equivalent for UK mobile number. The box for “Country” is the country of your address and sets the formatting of the address fields.
4) There is an option to enter an expected finish time. Race organisers sometimes group runners with a similar time at the start. If you would like to make sure that you are standing with your pace group at the start we recommend that you enter the following times (this doesn’t have to be even close to your actual time, it is just about the start position):
8s group – 1:40
9s group – 1:50
10s group – 2:10
11s and 12s group – 2:20
All beginners – 3:00
5) The next question is in Dutch (Noodnummer wis moeten we waarschuwen in geval van nood?)
and it means, “Emergency number, who should we contact in an emergency?” I’m not sure why they ask this question twice but it is required here. You may want to enter the number of a runner friend who will also be in Utrecht.
6) Our group code is UK1. Please be sure to fill this in where it says “If you are part of a group and we sent you a group code, please fill in here.” This will enable us to pick up everyone’s numbers at once. This is easier for us and for the race organizers and works better with our schedule as the numbers are available in the middle of the day Saturday, when we will want to be touring.
7) Underneath the group code question, the page reverts to Dutch. The first question asks you to input your running license number and it can be left blank. The second question in Dutch (Via welke promotie ben je opmerkzaam gemaakt dat dit evenement plaatvond?) is asking how we heard about the race, and is required. In the drop down menu, select the top choice, which is the Utrecht web site.
8) The two check boxes under this question are to approve receiving emails and offers. I imagine many of you won’t want to tick those boxes, so you can leave them blank.
9) On the next page, there is an option to order a shirt for 19 euros.
10) The section below that is an option to donate to a cancer charity
11) The next section is an option to have an engraved medal for 6.50 euros
12) The next page totals your charges and asks for payment info. Fill it in and then you are done. You will receive a confirmation email.
This is the link that takes you directly to the race registration page.

General Plan for the Weekend
Friday – Arrive and group dinner.
Saturday – Enjoy Utrecht and/or Amsterdam. We will provide some tour options for those who are interested in exploring. There is an option to pick up your race number in the afternoon. Group dinner.
Sunday – THE RACE and celebration dinner!
Monday – Return to London.

Looking ahead to the overall cost of the weekend, we expect that the hotel rooms will be in the range of 100 – 130 euros per night with options for singles and doubles. Dinner costs should be in the range of 50 – 70 euros. Please note that these costs are not finalised and could change, but not significantly.

Travel plans
Flights:  We’ll fly to Amsterdam and then there is a 35 minute express train (cost 10 Euros) from the airport directly to the centre of Utrecht. The hotel is a three minute walk from the train station. Another benefit of this race is that there are many flight options from London to Amsterdam. There are over 25 flights a day just considering BA, KLM and EasyJet. We have listed some of the flights below but there are many more options as well. Please be aware that when people start booking flights the prices will go up. If the prices seems suddenly expensive, make sure you look around at other options.

Hotel:  We are reserving a block of rooms at a hotel in the centre of town. We’ll email in the next few weeks with details about how to book your room.

Race registration: Please wait to register for the race. The race director is going to give us a special code for our group so we can pick up our race numbers all at once. We’ll get back to you soon with more directions about how to register.

What to do now?
The most important thing to do is to mark your calendar and keep running. If you are ready to commit, you can book your flights. Once you book flights please email Sue Wheeler (sue.zealand@gmail.com) and let her know which flight you are on. This will help us keep track of our numbers and our travelling groups.

Finally, we all owe a HUGE “Thank You” to Carolyn Perelmuter, our trip planner extraordinaire! Carolyn has been hard at work behind the scenes talking with the hotel and the race director and making sure that everything is in order for us. THANK YOU!

I’m really looking forward to sharing this experience with you!


Friday, March 16, 2018 Flights London to Amsterdam

Airline Departing airport Departure time Arrival time
BA Gatwick 11:40 14:00
BA Gatwick 15:45 18:05
BA Heathrow 7:50 10:15
BA Heathrow 10:55 13:20
BA Heathrow 13:00 15:20
BA Heathrow 14:20 16:40
BA Heathrow 16:30 18:50
BA Heathrow 17:45 20:10
BA London City 11:00 13:00
BA London City 13:05 15:10
BA London City 15:30 17:35
BA London City 17:05 19:15
BA London City 19:35 21:55
Easy Jet Gatwick 8:00 10:30
Easy Jet Gatwick 8:50 11:15
Easy Jet Gatwick 11:30 13:50
Easy Jet Gatwick 15:00 17:20
Easy Jet Gatwick 16:30 18:50
Easy Jet Gatwick 18:35 20:55
Easy Jet Gatwick 20:05 22:25
Easy Jet also flies out of Luton and Southend
KLM Heathrow 8:40 11:05
KLM Heathrow 10:00 12:25
KLM Heathrow 11:45 14:05
KLM Heathrow 14:05 16:20
KLM Heathrow 15:45 18:00
KLM Heathrow 16:25 18:35
KLM Heathrow 17:05 19:15
KLM Heathrow 17:50 20:10
KLM Heathrow 18:50 21:05


Monday, March 19, 2018 Flights Amsterdam to London

Airline Arriving Airport Departure Time Arrival Time
BA Heathrow 7:35 8:00
BA Heathrow 10:25 10:50
BA Heathrow 11:40 12:00
BA Heathrow 14:15 14:35
BA Heathrow 16:05 16:25
BA Heathrow 17:30 17:45
BA Heathrow 19:45 20:00
BA Gatwick 14:50 15:00
BA Gatwick 18:55 19:05
BA London City 7:15 7:20
BA London City 10:20 10:20
BA London City 11:30 11:30
BA London City 16:20 16:25
BA London City 18:15 18:20
Easy Jet                          Gatwick 7:05 7:20
Easy Jet Gatwick 9:05 9:20
Easy Jet Gatwick 11:50 12:05
Easy Jet Gatwick 14:20 14:35
Easy Jet Gatwick 15:45 16:00
Easy Jet Gatwick 17:50 18:05
Easy Jet Gatwick 19:20 19:35
KLM Heathrow 7:20 7:40
KLM Heathrow 8:35 9:00
KLM Heathrow 10:20 10:45
KLM Heathrow 11:40 12:05
KLM Heathrow 13:25 13:50
KLM Heathrow 14:05 14:25
KLM Heathrow 15:45 16:05
KLM Heathrow 16:40 17:00
KLM Heathrow 17:35 17:55
KLM Heathrow 18:55 19:15
KLM Heathrow 20:30 20:50