Pirineosfit Jaca Trailweek – Final Day Six

Return Jaca: Final(ly) a fast mountain marathon!

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FIT 4 Fantasticos with Ana, James and Pedro – READY for Day Six!!

Suddenly it is already the last day of the six days multi-stage mountain marathon of the Pirineosfit Jaca Trailweek.

It turned out to be a great day for me as ‘low land – no hills’ Dutchtrailrunner!

During the start on the Plaza of Jaca it started to drizzle a little, meaning: less heat, and luckily it stayed quit clouded and sometimes a little wet and windy during most of the race. Just my type of weather.

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Rainy start from the Plaza in the old part of Jaca

The track for this final mountain marathon was fast. The first 20km passed in just two hours cruising on wide tracks with not than many stony obstacles (which I am not good at – feeling more like a mountain cow than a mountain goat as some other runners). I found companion with two Spanish runners all the way to the top of the mountain overlooking Jaca. We pushed each other forward uphill but I had to let them go down hill racing via zigzags back to Jaca. The last few kilometres were great, knowing that I finished the challenging (for me first time) six day trail run, feeling well in body and mind, without any injuries and speeding at 3.40 km/minute into the old town cheered on by people shopping and enjoying coffee, finishing in 4.33 hours for 42km and 1700m height gain.

After the long and hard third day I was not sure if I would be able to finish in one piece with my left knee and Achilles a little sore. But the last two to three days brought back my spirits!

I am really grateful that I was able to join this adventure …

… exploring new trails in the beautiful Spanish Pyrenees with a international group of dedicated and partly mad / crazy trailrunners (especially the by coincidence due to driving to the different starts FIT 4 Fantasticos Ana, James and Pedro).

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A special thanks to the whole PirineosFIT2017 team who made this possible …

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Final Day = Paella Day – MJAM!!

… setting out the tracks, providing water along the way, making great pictures, serving tasteful salads (and paella on the last day) at the finish and always welcoming you and cheering you on with a big smile … THANKS!!!!

Pirineosfit Jaca Trailweek – Day Five

Return Canfranc: Zigzagging like a ‘Drunken Submariner’!

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FIT 4 Fantasticos ready for Day Five

The Day five Mountain Trailrun of the Pirineosfit Jaca Trailweek felt for me like being a ‘Drunken Submariner’. Being Submariner is easy for me, that is my profession. And I confess right away that I also have experience to really zigzag like a ‘Drunken Submariner’ in some foreign port.

But luckily I am not always drunk, especially not when trailrunning!

However, today started where we finished yesterday, Canfranc. And just as yesterday, directly after the start we pushed ourselves up the steep slopes using a 100+ zigzags.

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Multiple 100+ zigzags

Ending, after some last steep ‘technical’ climbing a 1000 metres higher just to go down again (as you tend to do with these events!), first over, for me at least, a difficult bolder field, but than ending in a nice winding track all the way back to Canfranc. There I left the half-marathon behind and started the second climb up the steep slopes on the other side of the village.

And yes … again 100+ zigzags …

Ending in a beautiful wide valley with a dozen eagles flying high up int the air.

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Day Five: up / down the slopes on both sides of Canfranc

It was warm (!) so I was really happy to find at the end point of the trail a ice-cold mountain stream. Refreshed and hydrated I started the last part: a nice and easy old road track, ending again … 100+ zigzags down to Canfranc.

I passed the finish within 6.18 hours with 37km and 2300 metres height gained. Not bad for another day out of the office.

All in all I felt much better than yesterday, even with the heat today. The trail fitted my running strengths better: endurance combined with a relative high ‘basic’ speed and ability to keep pushing uphill or against the wind. Today’s’ trail brought, via all the 100+ zigzags, longer parts with good underground, either up or down which allowed me to go faster.

The last zigzags through the forest I sped downwards as in a road race, really enjoying the chance from pushing up with trailpoles or carefully stepping down through a bolder

field.

I will never become a mountain goat trailrunner but slowly

after five races I am getting a bit more used to it …

five down … one to go … READY!!

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The Dutch Submariners badge, aka ‘Flipper’

Pirineosfit Jaca Trailweek – Day Four

Candanchú y Canfranc: A ‘Feel Good’ Mountain run with a Brutal end!

DSC_0049Day four of the Pirineosfit Jaca Trailweek started for me as a ‘feel good’ trailrun for many reasons:

  • We started relaxed down hill through a nice forest.
  • It was clouded with even for a few minutes a little drizzle, for me perfect. However my Spanish and Portuguese trail friends dressed themselves quickly with arm-sleeves and even wind jackets, for them it was really ‘frío’!

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  • My legs felt good, which was a surprise after the long and hot run yesterday.
  • IMG_20170706_130446506The route provided again amazing views of the high mountains, but also through a meadow full of cows, steep climbs and hard descends.
  • After 34 kilometres I had eaten all my gels and bars, drank approximately two litres and could see the road to Canfranc, i.e. the finish, but than it happened ….

The track did not go to Canfranc but …

… started a almost vertical climb of 500 metres …

BRUTAL!!!!

That was a bit brutal (understatement), a real test of my moral.  Something similar to a running drill in the armed forces. Just when you see the barracks you are told … ”another round boys!”.

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‘Brutal’ climb and 100+ zigzag

That is how I felt, but than again, it is a mountain trailrun, the organisation already showed the past days they are really good in finding hidden paths through the mountains end most importantly …

Nobody forced me to join this six days trail endurance …so stop moaning … keep calm, carry on and enjoy!

I took out my ‘emergency bar’, got some water along the track and continued. The vertical climb ended in a narrow traverse before descending finally towards Canfranc with a 100+ zigzag descend (at least that is how it felt). The descend was positive both in that it winded down through forest and most importantly, I did not feel anything at my left knee when speeding downwards. Both yesterday and today I felt a slight soreness in the knee when navigating through bumpy meadows and rocky trails. But not after 40km speeding down hill, HAPPY!

I finished just in 8:29:33 hours, i.e. just within the official cut-off time of 8.30 hours (!) for 41km and 2700 metres height gained.

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We did it again!

All of the instant-team ‘FIT 4 FANTASTICOS’ finished again without any major injuries. Just tired after four long runs in the heat. We are now passed the half-way mark, two more to go.

Yesterday I was too tired to go the shop for an Ice-cream but today I feel much better, probably due to the less heat … so ultimate recuperation time for me will start now …

 

ICE-CREAM TIME!!!!!!!! 

Pirineosfit Jaca Trailweek – Day Three

Castun to Canfranc: For sure a real Mountain Trailrun!!

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Ready for Day Three!

Day three Pirineosfit Jaca Trailweek brought a point-to-point mountain marathon of 41km with two big climbs and 2400 metres height gained, beautiful views and for me at least very sore legs!

The start in Castun was a bit strange because this is a very small ski village completely closed in summer time. However, the speaker and the loud upbeat music prepared everybody for day three. The marathon and half-marathon split Screenshot_20170705-193634today directly after the start leaving in total eleven men and two women braving the marathon trail this day.

Today no shade from trees, the whole track was in the higher mountains of the Pyrenees, so the sun burned fully upon me with a maximum temperature of 34 Degrees Celsius. Luckily on the trail today there were many streams providing fresh water to drink and cool of my head.

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When the speed was still there!

The first part reminded me a bit of the first part of the climb towards the Cobbler in Scotland, gently winding uphill. I trailed along the ski slopes of Castun at a gentle pace, knowing that it would be a long day and I also felt my thighs from yesterday’s fast 25km trailrun (I really enjoyed the speed but knew I had to pay for it today, as I did!).

Together with James Poole of the instant-team  FIT 4 FANTASTICOS’  I trailed at the back of the group towards the first big climb after which a very scenic descent followed, zigzagging down through small sturdy mountain trees, meadows with beautiful flowers and birds of prey flying high.

FB_IMG_1499278530433Was the first climb already a challenge, the second even more, with a steep ascent ending on a small top with a clear top beacon and a magnificent view! In the descend I lost contact with the other runners. It was half-way and I started to feel my left knee a bit too much, combined with being tired and therefore less able to concentrate on the small rocky trails. I decided not to push luck too much and slowed down to a ‘fast’ walking pace (where possible!).

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Summit number two

The last 12 kilometres where slowly (for me) downhill through a wide valley where Spanish High mountain cows enjoyed themselves with their bells and ‘Moo….sss’.

FB_IMG_1499278423549I had eaten four energy gels and seven bars along the way (without any stomach issues!) when I finally finished in Canfranc.

After 7.21 hours I could enjoy the now already traditional ‘Finish Salad’ with today a Melon Gazpacho, MJAM!!!

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Day Three – DONE!! – Up to Day Four – READY!!

All of the instant-team ‘FIT 4 FANTASTICOS’ finished with my Portuguese roommate Pedro ending second. He ran a 100+ kilometres trail just a week ago! The set-up of six days – six mountain marathons attract a certain type of trailrunner, mostly ultra runners just like James Poole, or a crazy Dutchman.

Three days done, three days to go! It will be hard work but trailrunning in the Pyrenees is really great, so if you have not experienced these mountains (as I did before this event) than I can surely advice you to come and join the Spanish trails!

Pirineosfit Jaca Trailweek – Day Two

Biescas round-trip: A ‘Walk in the Park’ …

IMG_20170704_145419_685How can you call day two of the Pirineosfit Jaca Trailweek a ‘Walk in the Park’?

Well luckily for three good reasons!

First of all I woke up feeling refreshed after yesterday’s run. Resting in the afternoon sun, foam-roll self-massage and a mountain of proteins and Ice-cream worked out quite well.

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Day Two – Again enjoying myself!

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Just to be clear, with a ‘Walk in the Park’ I do not mean the English Parkruns every Saturday morning at 0900: ‘just show up and run ‘only’ 5km’. I really like that set-up and that brings me to the second reason: the organisation needed to shorten the route again, just like yesterday to ‘only’ 25 kilometres and 1300 metres height gain, i.e. a ‘Walk in the Park’ when your whole mind is focused on running 41km and 2700m+.

Luckily this time they announced it at the start so it was no surprise at the end! I quickly left half of my TriSportPharma Energy bars and water behind, no need to carry more than needed!

Whilst most runners started relatively fast I decided to start at an ‘easy’ pace, warm up the legs and get into the running rhythm. The MudSweatTrails Black Diamond Trailpoles were ‘locked and loaded’ from the start and of great help whilst winding uphill along a MTB-trail. The legs felt good so I could maintain a nice pace and caught up with some of the earlier fast starters.

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Great pictures from Day One: Alpine country!

 

The MTB-trail must be a real challenge for cycling downhill, running uphill I really enjoyed (so if you want to do some ‘extreme MTB’ this is a good place to go to). And that is the third and final reason for the ‘Walk in the Park’, the trail went through forest, meadows and followed an easy ridge. Completely different from the Alpine environment yesterday.

After reaching the top half-way also IMG-20170703-WA0007the down hill part was along MTB-trails, sometimes crazy steep, through forest and some remote rocky parts.

 

 

All in all I had the feeling of running in a Forest Nature Park, or as the call it in the UK: ‘An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’, and sure it was beautiful!

DSC_0029DSC_0030Just like yesterday the PirineosFIT2017 organisation offered a nice cold pasta at the finish.

During the run I already looked forward to it, mjam!! – with some salt, olive oil, cucumber and a ice-cold gazpacho, just great!

DSC_0032Tomorrow even more sun and a bit warmer again. However, at the moment I have no sunburn (yet), probably (or hopefully) because I follow the wise advice from my spouse Lonneke, ‘put sunscreen on in the morning before getting dressed’, combined with my comfortable Julbo sunglasses and Compressport Ultra-light Visor (disadvantage is that I need to put sunscreen on my head due to my short haircut 🙂 ).

All four of the ‘instant team’ FIT 4 FANTASTICOS ran well today, hopefully we will all finish again well tomorrow, which according to the organisation will not be ‘that easy’.

NOTE: The PirineosFIT2017 have live Facebook coverage every day, summary videos and amazing photos (do not expect anything else from the Extreme photo – it is really funny, they are great in hiding themselves and than suddenly – flash!), all worthwhile to take a look, who knows maybe we can make another instant team next year!)

But for now, sit back (on the bed), relax and recuperate …

CHEERS!

Pirineosfit Jaca Trailweek – Day One

Panticosa Round-trip: Enjoyed … but too short?

grafica-web-1What a great experience this first day of the Pirineosfit Jaca Trailweek brought. The day started fresh, with the start at 0800 in the shades of the mountains surrounding the small (ski) village Panticosa. Cheered by a few people sixty runners started the ‘Endurance’ six day trailrun, of which twenty choose to go for the marathon distance.

DSC_0013I started at a relaxed pace, warming up whilst winding uphill along a stream. I did not bother warming up before the start, it is a six days endurance so … no hurry, no worries!

Soon I left Panticosa behind and climbed steadily through meadows where cows, goats and (wild) horses were grazing, their bells cheering us on going up the hill.

The first 12km I really enjoyed the views, magnificent high mountains, still covered with some snow, the sun warming me up, great!

After the first top I wondered where we would go next …

… not that snow field and scree slope … you are kidding me … no really that’s where the markings were heading me …

DSC_0020I could have known because this was a mountain marathon in the Pyrenees! The MudSweatTrails Black Diamond Trailpoles really were of great use up hill and especially on the scree slope. Finally at the top I understood we had to go back down the same scree and snow slope … I am from the flat earth part of the world, called ‘The Netherlands’, so uphill is already a challenge but downhill even more with all the loose scree and boulders

… Stay Calm, Do not Panic and Carry On! …

… these thoughts brought me down safely.

What followed was a nice downhill winding path ending near a lake and a secluded forest track back to Panticosa.

31km on the Garmin, ten more to go … however? I hear the speaker in the village already and finish in 4.29 hours with 1900 meters elevation and an average of 8.34 minutes / kilometre. What happened? …

Later I understood that some markings were taken away by people and in order not to get all marathon runners confused and lost in the mountains they changed the track. All right, still five to go so who cares about 10 kilometres and and 440 meters less height. I certainly do not and enjoy the cold pasta salad at the finish.

DSC_0023I the car towards Panticosa we made up team: FIT 4 FANTASTICOS with Pedro Sanchez Bruno from Portugal, James Poole from the UK and Ana Trivino Ramos from Spain. Quit an international group of trailrunners. That is besides the running what I really enjoy, meeting all these other trailrunners with their own amazing stories of long ultra’s and other crazy stories!

 

 

I am already looking forward to Day Two, it is a real treat to be able run in this beautiful area .. I would like to thank the Pirineosfit organisation, my sponsors and my family (!) for allowing me to do this …

THANKS!!!

Now time to recover … shower, foam-roll massage, TriSportPharma RECUPRO for a ‘mountain’ of proteins, and …

Huge Ice-cream Time!

 

Sacred Forest WK Trail

Wat een fantastische ervaring!

Trailrunning door de bergen

is gelijk aan

bergwandelen voor ongeduldige mensen

Zeker als het een trail betreft van 48km met 2800 hoogtemeters door de prachtige Italiaanse Apennijnen. Want met een gemiddelde snelheid van 8 km / uur komt dat toch redelijk in de buurt van een lekker bergwandeltempo. Al moet ik bekennen dat het niet zonder moeite ging.

Logo_color_TSF+CMP_completoVoor mij persoonlijk was het WK Trail weer een stap verder in mijn trailrunning ervaring door de combinatie van een flinke afstand, behoorlijk wat hoogtemeters, lange klim- en daalstukken over losse stenen, het gebruik van trailstokken en een temperatuur die opliep tot 30 graden ( zie ook mijn ‘persoonlijke – ahum – video’).

Samenvatting vooraf:

Het was afzien, afvragen waar ik aan  begonnen was, maar ook genieten tijdens de wedstrijd van de prachtige natuur, de sfeer en festiviteiten.

DSC_0880Met een gezellig Nederlands team van zes heren, vijf dames en een vijf persoons begeleidingsteam waren we donderdagavond voor de race neergedaald in het dorpje Badia Prataglia, middenin de Apennijnen, in een eenvoudig maar zeer gezellig hotel Floresta vlak bij de start. Het anders redelijk slaperig plaatsje was compleet in de ban van de Trail de Sacred Forests. Aan het WK deden 38 landen mee met ruim 239 startende atleten van over de gehele wereld, Uruguay, Australië, Japan, Iau, Nepal … wel bijzonder dat al die atleten naar Italië komen voor het WK. Er was trouwens niet alleen het WK Trail maar ook andere wedstrijden tot aan 80km (oef!).

DSC_0871Vrijdagavond was openingsceremonie op de kasteelgronden van Poppi. Op zich is dat altijd wel leuk met een vlaggenparade van alle teams maar helaas duurt het ook meestal erg lang, zeker als alle landen met applaus worden voorgesteld en vervolgens de lokale notabelen mooie speeches in het Italiaans geven gevolgd  door kakofonie van wereldwijde atletenorganisaties. Dit WK ultra Trail werd georganiseerd de International Association of Ultrarunners (IAU) namens de International Trailrunning Association (ITRA). Klinkt logisch, maar het lijkt wel de wereld van drie boksbonden, want je hebt ook de World Mountain Running Association (WMRA) of de International Sky running Association (ISF), of de Silly Walk Department (mijn favoriet!). Uiteindelijk leuke avond om in de wedstrijdsfeer te komen, met alle teams samen en een heerlijk (pasta) buffet ’s avonds.

Zaterdag 10 juni was om 0800 de start … 0400 ontbijt … even weer liggen … 0600 twee heerlijke Italiaanse Espresso doppio … gereed!

DSC_0882Het parcours gaat meteen hard omhoog de bossen in, eerst nog een breed pad maar dan smaller en meer losse stenen. Mijn wedstrijdstrategie was om de eerste helft relatief rustig aan te doen, kijken hoe het gaat met het klimmen en dalen en de hitte en dan op mijn duurvermogen de tweede helft doorlopen. Bij de start nog bewolkt, breekt de zon toch al snel door en stijgt de temperatuur richting de 30 graden Celsius. Prettig is dat een groot gedeelte van het parcours door de prachtige bossen gaat, dat is genieten van de natuur en minder warm! Toch zijn er ook enkele open stukken over steengraden naar uiteindelijk drie ‘toppen’ in de route, en dan is het erg warm!

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Tijdens de trail stop ik soms even voor een foto / video / energy gel / genieten

Op de helft is de eerste post waar begeleiding spullen mag aan-/afgeven. Hier neem ik de trailstokken mee voor twee relatief steile stukken. Het oefenen afgelopen week met in-/uitklappen van de driedelige Black Diamond Trailpoles (vriendelijk gekregen als testexemplaar van de MudSweatTrails Store , dank!) heeft geholpen en ik merk echt profijt bij het klimmen. Wat mij betreft zijn deze trailpoles nu onderdeel van mijn uitrusting als ik in de bergen ga trailrunnen. Afhankelijk van hoe sterk je bent in het klimmen leveren trailstokken zeker meerwaarde op,

Simpelweg: Trailstokken hoe minder berggeit – hoe meer voordeel

IMG-20170610-WA0002Onderweg wordt er veel water aangeboden, dat is fijn met de hitte maar toch blijkt achteraf dat niet iedereen zich misschien realiseert dat alleen water drinken niet voldoende is als je zoveel zweet (mijn trailvest en broek waren wit uitgeslagen door het zweet), maar dat zouten / mineralen moet toevoegen. Veel mensen met kramp, ook binnen het Nederlandse team – dusdanig dat onze beste Nederlander Zac Freudenburg kortstondig aan het infuus moet na de finish (hij trekt gelukkig snel bij!).

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De knokkelige knieën van het NLD INOV-8 team, beide op INOV-8 Roclite 305
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Mijn GARMIN gaf 47,5 km en 2800m

 

 

 

 

 

Onderweg heb ik tussen 30 – 40 km toch ook wat last van kramp in mijn voeten en kuiten. Nadat ik de veters van mijn INOV-8 Roclite 305 na de tweede teambevoorradingspost wat losser maak is dat opgelost, gelukkig maar. Een prachtig ‘horizontaal’ pad door een bos met mooie hoge bomen, de gedacht dat het daarna nog alleen maar afdalen is en dat ik nog kans heb om een plaatsje op te schuiven in de Nederlandse teamranking geven mij een tweede leven. Enkele kilometers voor het einde haal ik Dominique Pankow in die helaas veel last van kramp heeft.

Mijn voedingsplan voor onderweg verloopt gelukkig goed, ik vertrek met een 0.5 liter softflask met water en een mineralen bruistablet. Bij de twee verversingsposten ruil ik die in voor een nieuw exemplaar. Samen met een extra stop drink ik onderweg twee liter samen met in totaal zeven energy gels. Hier had ik op meer gerekend – drie per uur – maar dat voelde onderweg als te veel, mogelijk door de hitte. Geen hongerklap of lichtheid in het hoofd dus blijkbaar voldoende. Na de finish meteen veel eiwitrijke RECUPRO shakes gedronken (voor mij bevalt TriSportPharma maar je moet zelf proberen / testen en dan kiezen).

Wat heerlijk was onderweg: een blokje Parmezaanse kaas – zout, pittig, MJAM!

received_1520911964648913Ik finish net binnen de zes uur, 5.56.43, super blij (96e overall en 82e man (van de 138) – een hoop snelle dames dus! Dan is bij de mannen de Spaanse winnaar Luis Alberto Hernando (net als vorig jaar) al 1,5 uur binnen, en ook de eerste vrouw, de Française Adeline Roche, heeft al een uur gedoucht.

Nederland doet het als ‘vlak landers’ goed. Ragna Debats wordt super knap vierde (vorig jaar derde, en maar 3 minuten achter Zac) en bij de mannen zijn Zac, Tim en Peter ook al een half uurtje binnen voor mijn finish (waarna Dominique snel eindigt). Kim, Leonie, Karin en Mirthe volgen dan al snel. Helaas moest Erwin onderweg uitstappen met maagklachten. Het herenteam wordt 15e en het damesteam knap 11e , niet slecht toch!

We komen er als team niet helemaal ongeschonden uit. Naast al beschreven kramp en maagklachten maken drie nog een behoorlijk smak op de harde stenen. Zoals naar het nu lijkt zonder al te grote schade maar wel redelijk bont, blauw en beurs.

s’ Avonds is de prijsuitreiking in het dorp, lekker naast ons hotel, met veel muziek en een spectaculair vuurwerk ik de Italiaanse kleuren: groen, rood en wit. Nog even een ijsje eten, en dan gaat toch langzaam bij mij het licht uit.

Volgend jaar, 12 mei 2018, is het WK in het Penyagolosa Park nabij Valencia in Spanje met ruim 80km met veel (!) hoogtemeters,

wie weet … nu eerst even bijkomen.

Het Nederlandse team bestond dit jaar uit de volgende atleten:

Dominique Pankow, Peter van der Zon, Tim Pleijte, Erwin Adan, Geordie Klein, Zac Freudenburg, Ragna Debats, Mirthe Overkamp, Leonie Ton, Kim Mulder en Karin Sloove.

Een super gezellig begeleidingsteam hielp ons optimaal te presteren:

Laurens Groenendijk dank voor je continue, aanstekelijke enthousiasme samen met Guy Otten. En de ondersteuning tijdens de loop door Pere Aurell Bove, Menno Mulder en Onno. Bart van Driel speciaal dank voor de mooie teamsponsoring van super prettige Julbo Eyewear zonnebrillen en het regelen van teamtrainingspakken via Outdoor XL in Barendrecht. En Monique Derksen heel veel dank voor de goede massage en advies over mijn linker Achilles / voet irritatie.

Voor een algemeen wedstrijdverslag verwijs ik graag naar MudSweatTrails.