It was my first 5K race in almost 2 years. I finished in 1st place running 16:24. I accomplished the two goals I set coming into the race: 1) better my 5K PR of 16:37, which I ran 7 yrs ago; and 2) Top 3 finish. I was hoping to run faster than I did, possibly somewhere around 16:05-10, but two bridges with gradual inclines, many turns including a U-turn, and slippery cobblestones (which the course consisted mostly of) made that task a bit difficult. In the end the time didn't matter too much as I was most ecstatic about the win.
The race was very well organized, as they all seem to be here in the Netherlands. When the gun went off I held back because I knew many would go out at about a 5:00/mile pace. I also knew that many of the pretenders would be coming back once we hit the incline of the first bridge, only 300 meters into the race. At approximately 1K (actually never saw or looked for the marker) there was about 12 runners in the front. Shortly after, the group was broken up into 2 smaller groups with a lead pack of 4 and the rest including myself a few meters back. After we crossed the 2nd bridge and made a right turn, I decided to move up to the lead pack. Up front I saw the motorcycle with the race clock reading 8:xx. I figured we were somewhere around 2.5K. I was feeling good and strong at this point, so I decided to make a push. I don't think it was much of a push, but it was good enough to put a gap between me and the other 3 runners. Just before the 3K mark, which is the only marker I saw throughout the race, we made a U-turn. It was my first chance to see how much of a lead I had. To my surprise I had about a 10 meter lead. I tried to increase the lead each time I made a turn. At about the 14th minute of the race I looked back just to see if I was in any danger of being caught. The next runner was about 50 meters back and I knew I had the race in the bag. I made one last turn towards the finish line in the Market Square and was greeted by a loud cheering crowd. I cherished the moment and celebrated by raising the arms as I approached the finish.
I didn't take any splits at all. In fact, I never even looked at my watch, probably because I was following the motorcycle with the race clock. Complete Maastrichts Mooiste race results here. (Note. My last name was mispelled - "Bas" instead of "Blas")