100KM, are you crazy? This is a question I have heard often. It started last year when I registered for the 2019 edition of the Grizzly Instinct 100KM trail run. A trail run (running through nature) of 100KM and also the thoughest trail run in terms of elevation (3000 meters). This event was held in Limburg, the area with most of the hills in The Netherlands and an area which also has the highest hill known as Vaalserberg.
In 2019 I just returned to The Netherlands after having spend over 6,5 years living abroad in Ireland. Before I returned I spend a few months travelling in SouthEast Asia and had quit my job before that. Once back in The Netherlands I was left empty handed, no job and most of my old friends in The Netherlands had gone their own way. Of course all my other friends were abroad.
That's why I decided to try something new and I started running in January 2019. Once I went off road and started trail running I was sold. I had found a new passion! Luckily not much later in ran into B&P Professionals through them I found a new job at Rabobank. Eventually I also ran into my new girlfriend in this job. I was glad I was able to rebuild my life in The Netherlands that quickly!
With the help of my girlsfriend's support and my own drive to push my boundaries I registered for that year's Grizzly 100, this would take place in October. "Are you crazy?" is what most people asked me. You haven't been running for even one year and this goal isn't possible. From 0 tot 100KM in 10 months? You will regret it and hurt yourself. Perhaps, I thought. But perhaps not? Either way my girlfriend was crazy enough to believe in me and I knew with the right mindset I would be able to conquer this goal.
So in October 2019 it was time. I was at a startlines of a 100KM race. It was 6:00 AM and still dark out when the starting gun was fired. Earlier that weekend I already travelled to Valkenburg, a nearby village, to stay there. The time limit for this race was 18 hours and my girlfriend and parents would support me during this period to help me finish the race.
Once the starting gun fired I kissed my girlfriend, waved at my parents and started running. Through the woods, in the dark with a headlight on and over the hills in the bright moonlight. All this together with a handful of other idiots that were crazy enough to sign up for this. What a great experience.
My parents and girlfriend were waiting for me at each aid station (about 25KM apart). They helped me getting the required nutrition and through mental support. Especially my girlfriend was a big support in helping me see it through. Around the 65KM mark I was at my (perceived) limits. Her help, amongst other things, helped me carry on and after this point I ran almost a full marathon length. I had literally given everything and finished with a time of 17:58:38. Just under the 18 hour cut-off limit. Otherwise it would have been all for nothing. I came over the finish sprinting like my life depended on it and it was really close. Read more about this race at: 2019 Grizzly trail, my first 100KM race
The only one who still had faith I would finish in time was me and my girlfriendShe started trail running that year and by now has completed her first few half marathons. Sadly she has got celiac disease, an auto-immune disease. Because of this condition she cannot eat gluten and it could have fatal consequences. Beside that she is also tired quit often. Despite this she has been able to achieve all this.
Since she makes me very proud I have decided for 2020 to run the 100KM once again but in her name and to raise awareness and funds for celiac disease. For this goal I have started working together with De Vereniging voor Coeliakie (The dutch foundation for celiac disease). They will use the funds that I hope to raise for scientific research into celiac disease. Luckily B&P Professionals supports me in this and have agreed to be my sponsor. I believe with their help and your support I can reach my goal of raising sufficient funds for the battle against celiac disease!