“To ad life to the days, where days cannot be added to life anymore.”
Roparun – an event with a good cause. While running non-stop in relay from Paris (or Hamburg) to Rotterdam (524 kilometer) in the Pentecost weekend, money is collected for people with cancer. Since 3 years I am member and coordinator of one of the 400 teams joining in this challenge.
Our team, Teamall4Friends, consists of 25 people: 8 Runners, 6 cyclists, 2 navigators, 5 drivers, 2 catering ladies, a masseur and a team captain. The run is a relay race with 2 sub-teams of 4 runners, each covering about 30 to 50 km per stage. In the end, each runner has covered roughly 65 km. The whole run takes about 43 hours. Throughout the year sponsors are contacted and events are organised to collect money for the foundation and for the run itself. After a whole year of planning, collecting funds and arranging the necessities for our run, Pentecost has come and we finally go to Paris.
Roparun – 14 – 16 May
It feels good to see everybody again. The people in my team I know, but not on a very personal level. Yes, we spend 3 days together in rather tough circumstances. Non-stop, day and night we are on the road. We do everything together without much sleep, we eat little and are sometimes packed for hours in a small bus. It gives some feeling of intimacy. We talk, laugh, sing, complain, suffer, give compliments… we agree to be honest to each other. How will it be this year?
The weather is reasonable. Pentecost is early so it is cold, very cold. Especially in the night shifts. But it is mostly dry. The exciting feeling at the start is all we need for the first stage. The average speed is high, 12,5 km/hr. The guys love to run. We sub-devided the stages in small bits.1km running, 3 km rest, 1 run, 3 rest, and on and on and on. Until the stage is over and our next team is taking over.
I am a navigator. I keep us on track, inform the sub-team of challenges to be overcome during the stage and am the trouble shooter. If something happens, I find the solution, I fix the navigation, put batteries in the GPSes, feed the cyclists and keep the driver alert. I am the contact person for the base camp and our other team. A role I really like, because no stage is the same. I can look outside, make pictures and post them on our live site and on twitter and facebook. Just to keep the home front informed.
This year I will also run in one of the stages. Something I really like to experience myself. What do they feel, how do they experience the route, the supporters, the other teams on the road. It is only a bit more than 10 km, but I love it. Running in the beautiful countryside of northern France, crossing the border to Belgium, hearing the cheers and getting tired. I want more. There was not more this year. Maybe next year?
The days are intense. First night no real sleep. Just a power nap of maybe 15 minutes. Second day I still feel ok. Get a bit of sleep on a small camp bed on a parking somewhere in Belgium. Funny idea and part of the adventure. Just get into your sleepingbag somewhere and try to get some sleep in the open air. Lovely. Along the route are many villages giving us a warm welcome. People are awake day and night and party as long as the teams pass by. Next night again just a power nap. Fatigue is entering our bodies and minds. Small annoyances come up, but nothing too serious. Every year I am surprised how most people can manage, even though they must feel dead tired. Somewhere I seem to enjoy it so much, that it overcomes the negative feelings. We are on a mission!
In the morning of the third day we arrive on a large parking. We share it with all the other teams. Busy, tired faces, sore legs, but still eager to go for the last 60 kms. There are showers in the public swimming pool. Yes, time to take care of myself a bit. It is lovely and will keep me going until the evening. In the mean time the ladies from the catering are making pancakes and grilled toast with cheese.
After 43 hours in the race, and 55 hours of being ‘awake’ we finish in Rotterdam. We finish almost 2 hours ahead of planning, with an average speed of 12,1 km/hr. We are 26th of 252 finishing teams. We feel good! We meet our family and friends at the finish line and after the official ceremony and group picture we feel tired but so satisfied. We did it again!
Now, after a few nights of sleep I feel proud. I am part of a great team. Even though I meet some people only for these 3 days, I can still say sincerely that I love them!