Babies, beer and Boerhaave: all about the 31st Leiden Marathon

Edwin Haasbroek knows the prototype of his arch of honor, which in reality is more than five meters high and almost eight meters wide. (Photo: Leiden Marathon).

This weekend, the Leiden region will be dominated by the 31st edition of the Leiden Marathon. The hiking edition takes place on Saturday and Sunday is for the runners. The closing arch, the design of the medal, the starting signal and marathon babies also make this edition extra special. An overview of what will happen.

At Garenmarktplein there is a start and finish arch for walkers. The participants in the walking version of the full and half marathon and the ten kilometers follow the official route, which the runners also take on Sunday. The routes are all ‘marked’ so you can not go wrong. For full and half marathons, there is a ferry at Rijneke Boulevard to take hikers across the Oude Rijn.

On Saturday 14 May, the hiking heroes on the 42,195 kilometers will leave at exactly 9.00. The enthusiastic half marathon walkers set off at 11 am, while the 10 kilometers start at 12. At the finish line, all walkers receive an enthusiastic welcome including a medal.

Folk marathon
The biggest sports competition in miles circumference is an official competition with international recognition and is very famous among runners from all over the Netherlands and even beyond. More importantly, the Leiden circuit has five distances that thousands of ordinary runners enjoy participating in. “In other words, the Leiden Marathon is a folk marathon whose excellent atmosphere with many spectators along the route is perhaps the best,” says chairman Tjeerd Scheffer.

As for the elite runners, the race on the full marathon is especially interesting. But the 10 kilometers also deserve attention. Maureen Koster and Diane van Es from the national top ten in Zorg en Zekerheid participate. Koster placed last weekend in California in the 5,000 meters for the European Championships and World Championships with a strong time of 15.06.86. This edition will also see a couple of African top runners start.

Late registration
If you decide to participate in the last minute, Leiden Marathon is the place to be. Post-registration is open Saturday and Sunday in the big tent on Garenmarktplein. Participants can then go straight to the start. Post-registration is open Saturday from 12.30 to 21.00. On Sundays, the tent is open from 8.00. “But of course it is wise to be a little on time and be well prepared for the big challenge,” warns Scheffer. “When someone first came to register after the start, he ran to Breestraat and started his catch-up race ten minutes after the last runner started. He finished on time.”

Boerhaave
Also this year, the organization has a number of details to report on the marathon weekend. The medal always has a special theme, and this year, how could it be otherwise, Leiden will be associated with the European City of Science. The medal shows the picture of Herman Boerhaave with his home at Rapenburg 31 and a piece of the logo of Leiden European City of Science 2022. Herman Boerhaave (1668-1738) was the most famous physician in Europe and is seen as one of the most important founders of modern medicine.

Beer
The Leiden Marathon is known among runners as ‘Marathon with the Beer’. No BVO, but a golden yellow rascal afterwards. “Once upon a time, there was no beer after the end of the Leiden Marathon. It had gone logistically wrong. Well, we knew that well, ”Scheffer recalls. “Many runners had been looking forward to this on the last hard kilometers and were deeply disappointed when it turned out that there was only water and a sports drink.”

About twenty years ago, runners in Leiden were pampered with a nice beer for the first time, when the weather was a little too hot. Back then it was low alcohol and now alcohol free. There is now a large bar on Gangetje where runners can commemorate their run with a beer from Zoeterwoude.

Babies
Everyone who is pregnant and has time to give birth on May 15, the day of the Leiden Marathon, will receive a certificate that allows them to participate in the Leiden Marathon for free for the rest of their lives, regardless of distance. . It is immediately the first gift for the marathon babies.

Horn
The starting signal will be given by the director of Vermeulen Groep on Sunday at 10:00. It is the main sponsor of the 42 kilometers. That starting signal will not be given with a starting gun this year. A starting horn is used out of respect for the victims of the war in Ukraine. A minute of silence is also observed for the victims of the war. Subsequently, Ludwig Smith from The Rockschool Leiden will interpret Wilhelmus exactly one minute before 10:00.

Close the door
Also striking this year is the brand new finish gate that Leiden Marathon had designed and made by Edwin Haasbroek. “The gate is unique in running country and symbolizes the story of the marathon’s origins,” says Scheffer. “The frame looks completely different than most finish constructions. Complete with watchtower and arch of honor to welcome the messenger of the good news. “Since the usual rectangular finish gate could not be built by the firm last year, it went wrong. The gate was there, but the cloths did not fit.” It is, of course. unworthy of the Leiden Marathon. “

The organization then decided to do things differently. The Leiden firefighter Edwin Haasbroek is an ‘object artist’ in his spare time and is now known in the city for several large, sometimes illuminated, Leiden giant keys in the city center. He was asked to consider an appropriate design. He immediately reacted positively and indicated that he considered it an honor to have a gate on his hand. “

Haasbroek designed a straight watchtower with a round arch of honor in the marathon colors blue and yellow. To which his comrade Bertram Wesselman added the free story of Greek origin. Messenger Pheidippides was sent to the king of Athens when the Greeks defeated the Persians at the city of Marathon in 490 BC. The envoy ran more than 40 kilometers in the scorching heat, greeted the king, told him of the victory and then died. Scheffer: “All over the world, finish gates are rectangular. Large, small, tall, low, but always rectangular and business-like. This is the first to have a beautifully designed shape with surprising curves and a tower.” It is this new arch of honor under which all runners will experience their moment of glory on May 15th.

Supervised child care and bag care
Because participants cannot start with a running bag, the Leiden Marathon has had a free guarded bag wardrobe for years. More than thirty people are busy all day in Van der Werff Park collecting and storing runners’ bags and returning them after the race. Everything is done based on the start number, which has a coupon attached to the bag.

Els van der Meer has for years cared for children of runners who would like an hour to themselves. “But it can also be a few hours if, for example, you want to run the entire marathon.” This time the babysitting is in one of the rooms on the first floor of the Pavarotti restaurant on the Nieuwe Rijn. There are toys available and there are free.

Shower and massage
There is a shower trolley with ten showers on Garenmarktplein. Finished athletes can take a shower there after their run. In addition, there are thirty masseurs ready to take care of the tired athletes. “It also costs nothing and is a service from the Leiden company,” says Scheffer. The masseurs have their own room on Garenmarktplein. There is only one condition for being able to lie down on the massage table, and that is that you must first take a shower.

Distances
Not everyone has to go ‘the king’s distance’. The whole marathon is called 42 van Vermeulen Groep in Leiden, it starts at 10:00 and is intended for well-trained endurance runners. Immediately afterwards, the half marathon (21,097 kilometers) starts at 11 am, which also requires a lot of training work.

The ten of Zorg en Zekerheid (14.30) and the 5 kilometers (1.15) can be run by all reasonably trained sports enthusiasts. “It is especially important that you as a runner do not start too fast,” says Scheffer. “It’s the most common mistake. By starting slowly, there’s still something left over the last few kilometers.”

Children up to 12 years can compete with each other at. 12:00, when CORPUS Kidsrun starts at Garenmarktplein.

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