We Own The Night - Nike Women's 10 km Run 7 June 2014
8 June 2014
The second edition of We Own the Night women’s run was organized by Nike, and held in Amsterdam on 7 June 2014. The registration for this event was open between 20 January and 2 June 2014, and offered online. An estimated 4000 women attended the race.
The initial route was announced just weeks before, but was changed unexpectedly a day before the event. The organizers failed to bring this fact to the contestant’s attention, even just before the start, leaving many friends and family disappointed, as they waited along the Magere Brug, expecting to cheer on the determined runners. That said, the adjusted route was posted on the Nike website on time, but this information was not really promoted – if you did not check their site for updates, you were in for a slight surprise during the actual run. This fact worked to the disadvantage of all, as there were less people cheering us on, and many people waiting for nothing, in the wrong spot. There is no doubt that the Amsterdam Magere Brug “leg” of the route would have been a popular spot for people to observe the race, especially considering its beautiful scenery and lighting.
Overall, We Own the Night did not disappoint! The atmosphere was wonderful, and the weather was hot, especially for Amsterdam. A few drops of rain scared everyone initially, but the organizers were quick to offer free rain ponchos to everyone who wanted one. In the end, they were not needed, and the rain clouds cleared up as we were ready to start running.
The Olympic Stadium was filled with women wearing their turquoise Nike Dry Fit tees, provided in the official Race Packs, included in the €20 race fee. These were to be picked up at the Kalverstraat Nike shop several weeks in advance. The Race Packs also included wrist tags, and special red shoe tags used to mark every runner’s time, using an electronic system with sensors spread out through the running route. After the race, these numbers were used to check the official time, and average speed per kilometer.
Most runners did not fail to wear Nike gear from top to toe, including characteristic shorts, leggings, running shoes, and head bands. Those who arrived wearing Adidas or New Balance sports shoes, were pointed out by some, with a smile. [“Kijk, kijk, zij draagt Adidas!!…” ;-)]
The “Running Village” included a variety of stands, including a VIP area, free locker space to store belongings during the race, a Nike merchandise store, a bar with food and drinks, a Vita Coco coconut water stand and later, a photo booth for post-run photo opportunities. The most noticeable and popular was the beauty stand where free hair and nail services were offered.
The line was long, but the job was done quickly. Not that a proper and tidy manicure can actually be done within 5 minutes, but it was a fun addition to the event. The hair service was probably most worth your while, as you could get a French braid or two done in time for the race. All the ladies were generally excited to enjoy some last minute pampering. This feature of the event was certainly unique and uncommon for mixed gender races and runs.
The atmosphere was pleasant, and the stadium was filled with pairs of friends and groups of training buddies, who clearly trained together for weeks before the event. Some even got their Nike shirts printed on the back with their Twitter tags or training group names. Many were posing for individual or group photos; you could feel a buzz of friendship and excitement in the air!
Half an hour before the run, professional dancers filled the stage and the official warm up was getting everyone pumped up for the race, to the tune of loud music. It began fun, with lots of enthusiasm, but soon impatience crept in, with many ladies getting a bit antsy, and letting the organizers know their disapproval for the 18 minute delay…
Small groups of people were lined up along the route, encouraging us to do our best. A nice surprise awaited in the Vondelpark, with handsome young topless guys waiting to give us high fives, and to clearly raise the temperature and level of excitement of the already hot race. The first signs with “toilets ahead” appeared within the park, but sadly, the signs were not really necessary, as we could smell the porta-potties before even reading the signs…lets attribute this to the general temperature of this hot spring night ;-) As we got closer to the city center, more and more groups of partying young males cheered us on, some even offering a cold beer for refreshment – we didn’t witness anyone take them up on their offer, though some were tempted.
A small sense of relief arrived as we managed to run to the Prinsengracht, knowing that we are soon on our way back. Many were tired, speed walking on the sides of the route, rather than running. Many were encouraging their friends to keep going, and we even witnessed complete strangers reach out to each other with a sweet “you can do it girl”, in a rather sweet sport(wo)manship spirit.
The run through the tunnel under the Amsterdam Rijksmuseum was a special treat, with colored lights brightening the beautiful historical arches of the building. Many were checking their Nike+ Apps on their phones to try to judge the distance still ahead. Many were noticeably tired after these first seven rather challenging kilometers of city terrain.
A few ladies sped up considerably just before arriving back at the Olympic Stadium, others seemed just happy to have arrived! The stadium was a bit of a mess, clogged up with hundreds of runners trying to grab their final goodie bags and Boyscout necklaces. A few ladies were down right agitated trying to find an exit, but the majority seemed rather proud of themselves.
Overall, everyone was hot and tired, but ready to go home with a sense of great accomplishment, and some overall body pain, no doubt. We only saw one injured person during the run, and one probably overheating (being tended to by paramedics), just before the finish line.
The event was a success and we expect it to only grow in popularity for future editions! Following directly after the race, social media groups and platforms were filling up with feedback of participants, with the biggest complaints being the delay in start, the 1,5h waiting time to retrieve locker belongings, and not surprisingly during a women’s only event – the toilet lines ;-)
This event turned out to be a great, affordable day out. Not only did €5 out of the €20 sign-up fee go to the Kids Aktief charity, but you got the same value back in merchandise and goodies, like Vita Coco water, Tony Chocolonely chocolate and of course the lovely Boyscouts necklace. All this, in addition to the priceless motivation of training and succeeding.
Check online for #weownthenight for thousands of images taken by the participants themselves.