Race Report: Zuiderpark parkrun (10th February 2024)

by | Apr 12, 2024 | Race Reports

Photo: Lisa and Michelle at Zuiderpark parkrun

We took an early flight from Teesside Airport on Friday morning into Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. With no checked baggage, we cleared customs straight away and headed for the train station to book our ticket to travel to The Hague. The ticket machine has an English option, making it such a quick and easy process to catch the connecting train out of Amsterdam.

The event we travelled for was Zuiderpark parkrun, Den Haag (The Hague). It was early February and we were lucky enough to have bright, clear weather, despite a bit of rain forecast for the rest of the weekend.

Getting to the park was relatively easy, even from the other side of The Hague, getting a tram from outside our hotel to the centre and then taking the No 9 tram to Zuiderpark – you’ll know you’re nearly there when you spot the shimmery, copper coloured building (the Sportcampus) out the right side of the tram.

We followed and chatted to English parkrun tourists before the run. If you’re going to arrive before any of the volunteers (like many of us did), the start is on a quiet looking, unassuming corner of the park as soon as the Zuiderpark Sportcampus comes into sight, with the AV Sparta running track on the left. Visitors aren’t allowed to use the toilet facilities at the campus and need to use the running track café.

The first timer’s brief was all in English, with a very high number of non-Dutch visitors. There’s no cover on a rainy day, but there is a large tarp laid out on the ground for visitors to leave their luggage – perfectly safe, there were so many people milling about, with a really friendly atmosphere. The route was two clockwise laps of a large park, like its Darlington namesake x100, lovely wide paths with plenty of space to pass each other, beautiful green spaces and scenery. There were no marshalls around the course, but it was incredibly easy to follow – just follow the big wide path or the other runners! At the end, one of the runners was celebrating his birthday and we were offered fruit and chocolate.

We had a quick brew with other runners in the AV Sparta running track café (pay with card only) immediately after the obligatory post run pictures with the Zuiderpark banner, of course. We chatted all things parkrun with other tourists, comparing ‘alphabeteer’ achievements, opinions on other shared parkruns and thoughts about our own local parkruns. Then the two of us moved on to Parkoers, a café deeper in the park (we passed it on the run route).

After brunch we took a slow walk round the run route to really soak up the atmosphere of the park; and were surprised to see and hear parakeets in the trees (happily there due to the milder winters in the Netherlands, apparently). There were also deer, a large banana (!) and other people enjoying their Saturday morning by playing football or just having a stroll or speedwalk around the park. All the while, we could still see the shimmery, coppery Zuiderpark campus, changing colour as the sun moved in and out of the clouds.

In summary, it was easy to navigate, lovely to do, and we would go again. We made a weekend of it, returning into Teesside on Sunday tea time. Travelling is very easy with the airport, trains, buses and trams all connected and very reliable. When travelling on the trams, you simply tap your card or phone payment wallet on the machine on entry (1 beep) and exit (2 beeps). There are real time displays at all the tram stops and dual language audio visual displays whilst travelling on the buses, trams and trains, that help tell you when you get to your destination. Travel apps like Google Maps have access to all the same information too.