The Last Finisher of the NN Marathon Rotterdam is as Important as the First

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England’s Jemima was the last runner to cross the finish of the NN Marathon Rotterdam amid loud cheers from the crowd on Sunday afternoon at 16:34 hours. Waiting there for her was mayor Aboutaleb, even though she walked straight past him initially. “I am the mayor of this city”, explained Aboutaleb. “Oh my god”, Jemima laughed incredulously, before Aboutaleb hung the medal around her neck.

The Olympic adage goes that the most important thing is not winning but taking part, and it also goes for the NN Marathon Rotterdam. Every year, the organisation makes it a point of honour to give the last finisher as much attention as the winner.

This was no different in the 2024 edition. Jemima was welcomed with firework fountains at the finish, a spectator fired a confetti cannon, and she got a bunch of flowers pushed into her hands. She was then surrounded by photographers and journalists. Finishing with so much attention, she did not expect that. Full of disbelief and emotion, she clasped her hands in front of her face. “This is incredible. From what I have seen so far, this is typical Rotterdam. You are all so nice.”

Jemima is a maths teacher and lives in London. She ran the marathon together with her boyfriend, but he had finished much earlier. “I have to congratulate him in a minute too.” It is her first time in Rotterdam, and she thought it was a perfect city to run the marathon. “It is so wide, and the crowd is so supportive, that’s what kept me going. It was even more beautiful than I had expected beforehand.”

Moreover, she ran the marathon to raise money for Breast Cancer Now. Her aunt Nikki, who lives in Australia, had breast cancer several years ago. “I wanted to do something to support her, even though it is such a long distance.”

“I think there is only one city where the first and last runners get the same appreciation. For me, this is the most beautiful moment of the day.”

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