Sander Bosma (25), the chairman of the Bata committee, would gladly tell how the planning is coming along but excuses himself. ‘I have to walk outside first. Everyone in the office is working on the last things, so it is a madhouse at this moment.'
According to Bosma, the chaos at the Bata headquarters is in stark contrast to the planning. ‘It is actually looking really good. Everything is falling into place. Since last Friday, I have the feeling that it is going to work just fine. That is quite special if you look at the run-up to this Bata.’
Anything but self-evident
The Business Administration student refers to all press conferences during the corona crisis. Until January, all plans were squeezed with measures and one and a half meters distance. The fiftieth edition of the Batavierenrace was anything but self-evident anyway. Enthusiasm about the event seemed to be tempered considerably after two online editions. Vox, the independent news medium of Radboud University, wrote last summer about ‘a chronic lack of organizational members’.
According to Bosma, the worries will return with the final points of attention for the organisation. ‘You can see it in the whole of the entertainment branch: Try to find enough volunteers. The Enschede Marathon called to ask whether we were able to get enough volunteers. For the entire Bata, we have about 750 shifts to fill. Some volunteers fill two or three, but we are short on about a hundred shifts. I expect that we will make it, but it would be amazing if people who want to help out will come to us.'
29 april, 22.30: Start race Grote Markt Nijmegen (Centrum stage)
30 april, 00.00: Restart Sportcentrum Radboud University
06.15 Restart Ulft
11.15 Restart Barchem
17.20 Restart Oude Markt Enschede
17.30 Finish Campus UT
The organisation also noticed that making agreements with companies was different this year than before. ‘With the van company for example. During the corona crisis, they sold some of their vans, so it was more difficult for us to get vans, but that is all cleared up. We are almost ready.'
330 student teams
The organisation welcomes about 330 student teams and ten company teams in two weeks. ‘A team consists of about 25 people, so that means that about 8,500 people come to Enschede. A beautiful number. We hope that we can put the Bata back on the map like the old days. I work at the GGD and recently spoke to about a sixty-year-old doctor. He told me that he took part in the Bata more than forty years ago. That shows how beautiful this event is and that it is important to restore it to its former glory.'
For a large part of the last two generations of students, the term Bata mostly raises questions. Bosma hopes that the coming edition can change that. ‘We are happy that a large share of those students are able to find us through a sports or study association. When this Batavierenrace is over, we will undoubtedly receive another boost among the first generation of students.'
Back to the future
If the return of the event is not special enough in and of itself, the 29th and 30th of April also revolve around the lustrum. Fifty years Bata, a golden anniversary. Bosma is deliberately keeping a low profile about the plans for that. ‘I do not want to give everything away, but all participants will notice that this edition is special. We will decorate the course with futuristic images, similar to the movie Back to the Future. I do not want to say more about it, the participants can discover that for themselves.’