It was still the beginning of 2014 and everyone still had a lot of good intentions. From the start we had 7 enthusiastic runners who wanted to give the best of themselves on 22/03/2014. Not the usual runners from the past editions, but 4 Ekiden rookies: Lies, Sien, Peter Van Hove & Joren. The team was completed by Geert, Tiene & Pieterjan. With one substitute, we could afford one person getting injured.

Preparation

Everyone started to prepare themselves his/her own way. Joren trained in the fitness, Lies used “Start to Run” and Sien took it to another level and trained together with colleagues from the Bratislava Office along the Donau in Bratislava. Everything went well till Geert was running a “cooling down” tour after a match of badminton with a muscular injury as a result. With only 6 left, there was a little bit of stress because there was no way back. Starting positions and distances were decided: Lies (5km), Tiene (10km), Joren (5km), Pieterjan (10 km), Sien (5 km) & Peter (7.2 km).

D-Day

Last Saturday was D-day for all 6 of us and everyone hoped for a sunny afternoon, not too warm, not too cold. Reality was different. Weather changed from rain to sunshine, back to rain and let’s not forget the wind...but as real “flandriens” we started to run.

Lies, however, looked a little bit strange last Saturday. She had a beard, was quite tall and had black hair. That’s because Lies dropped out on the last moment and was replaced by Alexandre Pisano, ex-employee and partner of Lies and still happy to defend the colors of Yamagata Europe. Alex had to run in the rain the whole time and took 27:32 minutes to complete his lap.

Tiene was our second runner. In the past editions of the Ekiden Tiene always ran 5 km, but she took the challenge this year to run 10 km and ended in a very nice time of 1:05:39.

Joren – normally always with glasses - was our third runner and for some reason ran without glasses. I don’t think that’s the reason why he took a small, unregistered detour at the end but even with the small detour, Joren arrived in a very nice time: 24:26.

Next on the schedule was Pieterjan, always happy to do some sports and making other people enthusiastic to follow him in doing sports. Pieterjan arrived 44 minutes and 44 seconds later.

Two runners to go at that moment. Sien was the last one to run 5 km. Having some doubts in the beginning about the distance, she amazed herself with a nice 37:02.

Last one to run was Peter who limited the amount of beers the day before especially for the Ekiden marathon to be able to run a very nice 42:33.

This resulted in a nice 04:01:53 total time.

A special thank you for our only supporter last Saturday, Gita, who – despite the rain and wind – was present to shout for the runners of Yamagata Europe.