Het is zaterdag 15 juli 6:45 in de ochtend. Midden in het dorp Grindelwald in Zwitserland sta ik in het startvak voor de 51 kilometer lange Eiger Ultra trail. Mijn startnummer is 2117 en naast me staat iemand met exact hetzelfde startnummer. Hij bedankt me dat ik hier samen met hem aan de start sta en samen kijken we naar de klok en wachten tot deze op 7:00 zal springen, het startmoment van dit avontuur.
Maar eerst even terug in de tijd. Hoe ben ik hier terecht gekomen. De Eiger Trail zat niet in mijn planning voor dit jaar en ik had nog zo gezegd dat ik het aantal wedstrijden zou beperken.
So here I am, the medal that proves that i finished the Bello Gallico 50 mile trailrun hangs around my neck. It is still difficult to believe but I did it!
At 9 AM on Sunday morning I come running into the finish location of the Bello Gallico, Mark Groeneweg who ended up being my running partner for this nightly adventure was right behind me. The room was filled with people, applauding as we ran up the stage on which we received congratulations and our finisher medals from race director Stef.
Astrid comes up and congratulates me and helps me with my running gear as I just gaze around trying to grasp what I just acomplished for myself. Several people I know from the trailrunning community congratulate me. Even Maarten and Marek (who I quietly see as an inspiration for me for running these distances) have sticked around to see me finish.
I say to Astrid that I am probably not that far in the back of the pack as I have seen nobody pass me and have passed quite some people in the later stages. She tells me that I finished 10th, I shake my head as I take this in.
I have been preparing for this race since August, after I had failed to finish the 65 kilometer Trail des Fantomes I had my eyes on the next big goal after that, the 80 kilometer Bello Gallico trail this December.
No this is not the start of a bad joke, it’s the conclusion of a weekend of trailrunning in the Dutch national park Veluwezoom.
Last year my very first trail event I participated in was a 25 km trailrun during the 2015 edition of the Veluwezoomtrail together with Astrid. By pure coincedence we had booked a hotel night after the run in the same hotel in which there was a pasta party for the runners of the 2 day run over 3 stages.
And so as trail runner newbies we joined the pasta party and ended up joining a few of the runners that were running a total of 58 km or 90 km over the two days. In fact we ended up at the table with the runners that were at the top of the rankings after the first two stages.
For some reason the stories appealed to me and the thought of running the full event remained in my head. So when the registration for the 2016 edition opened up I immediately signed up for the 2 day event, 93 km of trailrunning in total.
In March 2016 Astrid and I volunteered at the first edition of the Legends Trail, an experience we thoroughly enjoyed and that made a huge impression on us. Even though it is nearly impossible to explain it I have given it a try in this post about our first volunteering experience at a running event.
Even though my girlfriend Astrid and I have not been participating in running events for that long (out first race was a 10 km at the end of 2014). We did participate in quite a lot of events since then and were always thankful of the volunteers that made these events possible. So naturally the thought of volunteering at a running event had already crossed our mind a few times.
And then we read the call for Legendary Friends from Stef on Facebook…..
It is already a month ago that I ran my first ultra trail distance, so this post is a bit overdue, but better late than never.
On the 28th of November I completed the final running challenge of this year, the 55 kilometer ultra trail run in Lommel on the border of The Netherlands and Belgium. In fact it totalled up to 57 kilometer but who is counting (of course I am counting, I am very proud of each kilometer).
Since it was my first ultra trail I was unsure of what to expect. I just completed my first marathon 6 weeks before this trailrun and although I recovered from that effort quite quickly, having to go another 13 kilometers beyond that distance and on a trail course seemed at least challenging if not daunting for me.