On Sunday, The Hague once again offered great fun for people of all ages during the 44th NN CPC Run The Hague. This Dutch ‘spring classic’ is a favourite on the calendars of over 40,000 runners. And with one of the runners scoring a finish time of 59:37 for the NN Half Marathon, the annual event even has a top performance on this season’s international scoreboard.
A large, 8-member break-away group ran a stable first 10 kilometres, laying the groundwork for an impressive finish time. Kenyan James Rungaru took the lead as the front-runners moved onto Scheveningen Boulevard, with only his compatriot Leonard Langat managing to keep up. This was followed by an exciting neck-and-neck in the final kilometres. After both athletes had entered the famous end stretch on Boorlaan, Rungaru’s 4-second lead proved enough to win him the race. Rungaru’s world-class 59:38 is a personal best for the Kenyan, as well as the sixth-fastest time worldwide this season. Leonard Langat ran an impressive 59:41. Fellow Kenyan Dominic Kiptarus was the third to cross the finish line, with a time of 1:00:07.
In the women’s race, Swiss runner Maja Neuenschwander achieved a new personal best of 1:10:46. She was already able to get ahead of her two Ethiopian rivals after the first 5 kilometres, and she held on to this lead for the remainder of the race. Genet Beyene came in second at some distance, with a finish of 1:11:52, and Zewdnesh Ayele took third place with a time of 1:12:42.
As was expected, the first Dutch runner to cross the finish line was Khalid Choukoud, with a time of 1:03:38. The Hague runner actually participated in this race on his home turf in preparation for the NN Marathon Rotterdam in four weeks’ time. The second Dutchman to cross the finish line was Nick van der Poel, with a time of 1:07:06. Third place went to Edwin Slijkhuis, who ran 1:08:23.
The centre spot on the Dutch women’s podium was occupied by Jill Holterman, who ran a time of 1:13:52. The top tier was completed by runners-up Natasja Jansen (1:16:50) and Daniëlle van den Brink (1:17:34).
In the first warm weekend of the year, with local temperatures rising above 10°C, the Malieveld field started filling up from 8 a.m. on with the youngest future running stars. They’d predicted rain however, and the heavens really opened up just as the participants in the 1 km Ernst & Bobbie Children’s Run set off. Runners in the Triodus Youth Run (2.5 km) also had a wet time, but this didn’t dampen their enthusiasm. After crossing the finish line, the proud children were presented with their well-earned medal.
The sun started to break through a bit at the beginning of the afternoon, and the pleasant temperature meant that both in the city centre and Scheveningen, the circuit was soon lined with many thousands of spectators. To the delight of those taking part in the 5, 10 and 21.1 km runs, of course: from first-timers to grizzled veterans, the finish line saw one smiling face after the other. The shiny medals that the satisfied runners could hang around their necks bore the names of the seven Hague neighbourhoods and the circuit that they had completed. There was a flurry of pictures on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, making #CPC18 a nation-wide trending topic throughout the day.
Organiser Mario Kadiks looks back on the 44th edition of the event with satisfaction. “NN CPC Run The Hague is a wonderful tradition. Every year, it is nothing less than a celebration of running. There was a lot of rain at the start of the day, but this didn’t spoil the fun for the kids. It cleared up in the afternoon and became perfect weather for running – resulting in a lot of personal bests. You also had marathons in Lisbon and Rome today, but the fastest time was run here, in The Hague.”
Those who weren’t able to take part this year, or would like to repeat the experience: the 45th edition of NN CPC Run The Hague will be held on Sunday, 10 March 2019.