In order to present the Beekse Marathon, in Netherlands, I had the opportunity to interview Marlou van Oevelen.
Marlou has been an active member of Achil’87 for 13 years, the running club organizing the race. She describes herself as a recreative runner on Sunday mornings, married to René a marathon runner. They both have children.
She is also a member of the Achil committee in charge the results of the race, the website, the registration and the public relations of all the races during the year.
Hello Marlou, on September 21st, you’ll be organizing the Beekse Marathon. Can you tell us where it is located?
The 29th Beekse Marathon starts and finishes at the Vrijthof, the historic centre of Hilvarenbeek. The full marathon covers 5 laps over most metalled roads mainly in the countryside and through the villages Hilvarenbeek and Esbeek.
The marathon will celebrate it’s 29th anniversary this year. Why was it created in the first place? How has it evolved the past 29 years ?
The first Beekse Marathon was organised by a group of friends becouse one of them became 40 years old. The friends gave him a marathon as a present.
Later on it became more professional and more runners came to Hilvarenbeek.What kind of route have you set up for the runners? How would you describe it?
The route of the marathon is beautiful. No big marathon but a regional happening. It is possible to accompany the runners by bicycle after the first lap.You run along cows and farmhouses and along the woods.
How many runners do you expect on Sunday morning? What type of runners do you plan to attract?
Totally we expect about 500 runners for several distances. We hope runners will come who love the countryside. No fast runners who come to run for cash. Just local known runners. And a lot of runners from Belgium, our town is only 1 km away from the Belgium border.
Do you organize other races during the Week-End? If so, on what distances?
On the 21th September we have 6 different distances: 1km kidsrun, 5, 10, 21, 30 km and the marathon.
Achil’87 also organises four official races during the year: on Queensday the ‘Torenloop’ (Tower Run), in the summer vacation the ‘Vakantieloop’ (Vacation Run), in September the ‘Beekse Marathon’ and on the last day of the year the ‘Oudejaarsloop’ (Old Year’s Run). Furthermore Achil’87 organises in November the ‘Beekse Bosloop / Run For Fun’.
At that time of the year, what kind of weather can we expect?
The weather in September will be warm but nice. About 20° celcius (68° F). But we start early, so good running weather.
Have you planned festivities around the marathon?
For the children we have some activities to keep them bussy while mom or dad run their race. Some firms will have a booth at the Vrijthof. All café’s and restaurants will have their terraces outside and the speaker will tell them everything about the runners. Of course there is also live music.
After the race there is first the ceremony: for all different distances there are 3 prices for men and women. For the marathon distance those who win the 1st, 2nd and 3rd prices get a cup and there are also money prices for the marathon participants for each category and all runners get a surprise.
Then the runners can go to the changingrooms to take a nice hot shower at the gym of Basisschool de Driehoek, Papenstraat 96, about 500 meters from the start/finish. You can walk there by following the signs. Then they can sit at one of the terraces in the centre where are also nice restaurants. For tourist information they can visit the local tourist information shop or visit the website: www.vvvhilvarenbeek.nl.
Our little town is beautifull and nice for a walk or bicycletour.We also have good hotels, private guesthouses or campsites. We also have the Beekse Bergen nearby, the safaripark and recreationpark. For foto’s of last year marathon visit our website: www.achil87.nl.
In a single sentence, what would you tell the readers of 42k195 to make them register for the Beekse Marathon?
Athletics club Achil ’87 Hilvarenbeek is a social club with about 200 members. We keep ourselves busy with running, nordic walking and rollerspeed skating.
You find us in the most beautiful village of the south of the Netherlands: Hilvarenbeek. On the marathonday everybody helps to make this marathon a perfect race. We have a good electronic system for time-registration with a running-chip in your startnumber. The marathoncommittee is a group of 15 people in our club who is organising everything during the whole year. At the marathonday al lot of volonteers help us.
Thank you very much Marlou