Groet Uit Schoorl Run 2024

The 10km is the main event of the day as it is for the Dutch National Championship. The course is picturesque and undulating and the uphill sections are mainly in the first five kilometres. For many athletes it is a good opportunity for PBs, owing to the company of so many athletes to race against.

The start times are adjusted to age and gender. Almost every one gets their own starting vak: Senior Women/Men; Invited Athletes; International Men/Women and then Masters athletes categorised by age at five year intervals. ’Masters’ athletes are those who are 35 and above. But this belies the pattern of so many athletes performing at their best at ages 35 and above. ‘Masters’, is after all, probably a euphemism for ‘athletes are on the wrong end of the age spectrum and who are now facing a rapid decline.’ 

The course is spacious and without too much brick paving or (thankfully) any cobblestones. It passes through some dunes and thus at least presents some kind of impression of a varied landscape. The wind was mild and there were few kilometres running directly into it. Supporters of runners line different sections with their neighbours or walking their dogs. Near to the start and finish lines, children had set up tables selling cookies, hot chocolate and flowers.

The standout performance for Leiden Atletiek athletes was Veerle Bakker’s third position in the Women’s NK 10km, only eight seconds behind Anne Luijten and 14 seconds behind the winner Jacelyn Gruppen. Leiden Atletiek’s local hero, Noah Schutte, finished fourth in the tightly contested NK 10km. (more on that to come) The youngster Kevin Kloos finished strongly to record a PB of 33:48. Marco van Erp, never disappoints and got a cracking time of 30:04, a lazy 20 second PB. Although, he runs for another club, popular LA regular Dominic Bersee finished with another time under 30mins (29:54). Philip Wong got a time of 31:34. Thijs Talboom finished 10th in the 30km.

But back to the idea of ‘Masters’. Joao Seixas, a long-time freelance Leiden Atletiek member, ran a time of 34:31, for a PB at age 45. Ten years ago, he had run the same course in a time of 39:39. Probably this is one of the simple pleasures of long-distance running (and why so many of us keep on coming back for more): there are many paths to improving and improvement is (hopefully) not always linear or tied to age category. 

Report: Andy Fuller

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