Three in a row for university team Groningen

| Rense Kuipers

The University team of Groningen is the provisional winner of the 52nd Batavierenrace. This edition was characterized by some incidents along the way, which led to four cancelled stages.

Photo by: Frans Nikkels
Groningen final runner Nik Lemmink.

Was the victory already a certainty? Groningen’s final ladies runner Marije Hijman didn't dare to say anything with certainty, just after she crossed the finish line at the UTrack. 'For me, the main thing was not to make any mistakes and to keep going. But I don't dare to make any statements about it yet.' Her Wageningen competitor Lisan Duijvestijn, who crossed the finish line ten seconds earlier, is sure of it. ‘They're a bit ahead and have a fast men's runner.’

Not a flawless Bata

Done and dusted, you might say. But the uncertainty didn't come out of the blue. It certainly wasn't a flawless Bata. For example, three stages were cancelled in the morning due to a medical emergency. Problems with the time registration at multiple exchange points then caused even more uncertainty for the teams.

In the final phase, the relay race was again held up due to a traffic accident near Boekelo. At the intersection between Oude Deldenerweg and Ganzenbosweg, two cars collided. No one was injured, but the Bata was delayed again. Stage 22 was also cancelled.

The Groningen final runner Nik Lemmink turned out to be a bit more convinced of the victory, after he was the first male runner to cross the finish line. ‘This can't go wrong anymore. It went really well. And as soon as you enter the campus, it's fantastic', says Lemmink, who eventually recorded an average speed of 20.77 kilometres per hour over 7.8 kilometres. ‘I got a beer on the way.’

UT/Saxion team satisfied, despite circumstances

In all likelihood, the UT/Saxion team will finish in sixth place in the university competition. Final ladies runner Gerber Loman is satisfied. 'Last year I ran the last stage on behalf of Tartaros, but then I was completely exhausted at the end. Now I had saved a little more and ran at my own pace. That way I could keep the last part fun.'

Loman was disappointed with the cancellation of stages 15 to 17. 'Those were longer stages where we had fast runners at the start. In such stages, you can make a big difference.' Fellow final runner Tom Lamaker agreed with those words about twenty minutes later, but looks back on the team performance with satisfaction. 'Also because we had to change a third of our team two weeks in advance because of all kinds of injuries, we did well under the circumstances. Fortunately, we had a team back on its feet after last year's absence.’

He was not pleased with his own performance (7.8 kilometers in 28.37 minutes – 16.35 kilometers per hour). 'Personally, it didn't go so well. The start was late. Because of the long, nervous wait, I drank too much water, which caused me to get a side stitch after six hundred meters. Nevertheless, I tried to enjoy the run. Yes, that certainly worked. When you enter the athletics track here, with so many spectators. That's something very special.'

UT/Saxion final ladies runner Gerber Loman.

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