The Nerd Herd

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Medal Monday — Dwars Door Brugge

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Welcome to Medal Monday! This is where we share with you our favorite or not-so-favorite medals earned over the years and the stories behind them. Feel free to share your own medal memories with us by emailing Nerd Erinn at Maybe YOUR Medal Monday memory will be shared here!

Today’s medal holds a space near and dear to my heart just for the experience. The medal design is nice with some of Belgium’s Brugge on display, but the actual memories from that day make the medal a favorite of mine to look at and remember the fun from the race.


The 2015 Dwars Door Brugge 5k medal

My husband and I took ourselves to Belgium back in 2015. During our planning I realized, “Hey, maybe I can run a race in Europe!” After some Googling and translating, I found Dwars Ddoor Brugge (Straight through Brugge). There is a 15k and a 5k. We were planning to visit Brugge anyway, but our dates didn’t match up. After some city and date shuffling, we were all set. Then, my non-running husband surprised me and said he wanted to run, too. I couldn’t talk him into the 15k, so we signed up for the 5k.

Like any good nerd on vacation, our day before the race was nothing if not exhausting. We toured most of Brugge, drank too much good Belgium beer, ate too many good waffles, dipped our frites into a lot of heavy sauces and condiments, and got little sleep the night before the race. I can’t be certain, but at one point we may have accidentally become part of a bachelor party, too.


Nerd Erinn’s man hands were still no match for this glass of brew.


This quad from Straffe Hendrik is probably not something one should drink the night before a race.

On race day morning, we made our way across the city to the bib pickup and pre-race area. It was all a little confusing with our language barrier, but we were able to figure out where we needed to end up for the start line.


Dwars Door Brugge course map


Ears up from the start line

The start line was like any good race here in America. It had a DJ, a high-energy announcer and lots of energized runners ready to roll. The first mile or so of the race went through the beautiful, older parts of Brugge — think of cobblestone streets wreaking havoc on your ankles. It was pretty, but came with a price! The course went through new parts of the city, too, along the water and back to the bus station area. On course support was great all the way to the finish with spectators and aid stations. I think I even made a few on-course friends despite not speaking their language. My hubs stuck with me for the first part of the course. He had pledged his loyalty and claimed he would finish the race with me. I knew his competitiveness would take over prevent that from happening. And it did. He finished eight minutes before I did and still proudly boasts of being the first American finisher for the 5k (I think there were three of us, total).


Nerd Erinn and hubs, Mike, at the finish

The main draw for the husband was the race sponsor, Brugge Zot. This is from De Halve Maan brewery, which is also where you can find the aforementioned Straffe Hendrik. All finishers could get a cold Zot at the finish, and it was delightful. Which was a good thing because we got lost on our bus ride back toward our bed and breakfast and somehow ended up in the parking lot of a hospital before finding the right bus back (which ended up being the original bus we had boarded). That’s a story for another day.

zot The main takeaways from this Medal Monday memory is that when traveling — whether it is abroad or at home — signing up for a good 5k is most likely going to provide you a fun way to see more of your destination, give you some awesome memories, and (maybe) fill up your cup with a good brew. Get your ears up and get going!

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