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From the south to the sea with Los Alpacas Nerdos

After a great Roparun experience it was now time for another challenge: the first Hood To Coast in Europe. Of all places they choose for Europe’s flattest countries, Holland! Hood To Coast started in Portland in 1982 and is the world’s largest running and walking relay. From Nike 1250 employees from all over Europe participated in this epic relay. 

The initial plan was to run from Brunssum in Limburg to Zandvoort for a total of 285km. However due to the national heat plan it was decided to shorten the run from 24 to 16 legs (about 190 km). We now started at the High Tech Campus in Eindhoven (worked there for Philips for over 3 years). 

Before we started we first had a great ceremony at EHQ in Hilversum. Per team we got two cars which we could decorate. As our team was called Los Alpacas Nerdos we decorated our cars appropriately. Edgar Jorissen, VP Marketing EMEA welcomed all runners and had two awesome athletes, women’s marathon record holder Paula Radcliffe and Olympic Champion Mo Farah, to come on stage with him. Also Bert Hoyt, VP EMEA shared some inspirational thoughts. 

Each team was invited to come on stage with the car. Although I had some challenges to get used to the car we managed to get on stage safely. After that we went* to Down Under in Nieuwegein where it felt like a beach party. It was very hot and after our burgers and sate some of us even played beach volleybal.  

To avoid traffic jams we headed to Eindhoven around 15:00. Over there we relaxed a bit, had some food and prepared ourselves. 18:00 the first runners started and in staggered waves other teams started every 15 minutes. Louise was the first of our team to start at 19:15 for 16km. After we supported her we drove to the next point in Nuenen.

It was my turn for a 14k run. I felt really happy to start and it went really well. The first 5 km I ran with Mikos from Greece. After that I ran alone and had my first roadkills. Arriving at Erp I managed to pass 7 runners with almost 12km per hour. 

Patrick started his 14km run and he did very well. So well that I was still at the car preparing myself when he finished. I did an extra leg as German Lars was injured and could only do one leg which was a little bit over 8km. It was around midnight when I arrived in Berlicum and Mia, team 2's first runner, started her run. I was really happy to take a shower. Feeling refreshed we drove to Culemborg where we rested for about two hours in a gym with a lot of others. Quite hilarious to hear the variety of sounds ;). 

After Mia, Dutch Lars, Michaela and Michel respectively ran their legs in the middle of the night. By the time the sun set Louise started her second leg. After her I did my third and final leg from Vianen to IJsselstein running along de Lek. Beautiful. I only had three roadkills and I was actually a roadkill myself by a good looking athlete. After Patrick and Lars completed their final legs, team 2 started on their last legs to Zandvoort. We already drove there and Louise, Patrick and I “enjoyed” Fish ’n Chips in the shade. 

Around 13:30 Michel came around the corner and we joined him with the last meters. The heat hit him quite a bit so we took it very easy. It was around 30 degrees so we were all happy to pass the ceremonial finish line, get the medal and drink a few cold beers at the Beach House Bernie’s.

At 16:00 Louise and I said goodbye to the team and took the bus to Amsterdam. Thanks to the traffic-jam I managed to see the Dutch women soccer players beat Italy with 2-0. I was happy to arrive home and see my family. After some good burritos I passed out and slept like a baby (again). 

Muchos gracias Los Alpacas Nerdos for a great time! 

*it was a lama!!! 

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