This year, AEGEE Groningen sent a team to the 50th-ever Batavieren race on April 29th and 30th. The 175 km Batavieren race stretches from Nijmegen to Enschede and consists of 25 stages which range from 3.5 to 10.7 kilometers. A different AEGEEer runs each stage and, on finishing, hands a vest with a time tracker to the next runner. On Saturday afternoon, the race ends and a massive party begins on the campus of the University of Twente in Enschede.
Getting there meant piling into trains on Friday afternoon, some going straight to Nijmegen, most to Enschede where students from all over the Netherlands piled into the gym to crash on sleeping bags. Or maybe just try to sleep, because after a few hours, bleary eyed students awoke and were soon waiting to pile onto buses. Once out in the countryside, AEGEE’s Batacie, Cedric, Sylvia, Melanie, Ben and Kim, provided transport, driving runners from stage to stage in a van. Each runner went through a different stretch of the countryside (or city) accompanied by another AEGEEer on a bicycle who provided directions.
Boardie Ann led the race through the streets of Nijmegen and posted a blistering time. Soon, night fell and runners passed the vest through the early hours of morning. As dawn approached, Jess and Joris had already run two stages each, but responsibility increasingly fell to the Batacie to finish off the race; feeling very good, Cedric volunteered to run the longest stage, perhaps because it ended at the Grolsch factory just outside Enschede.
AEGEE Groningen finished 274th, better than many expected at the beginning of the race. More importantly, it was a lot of fun. Everyone there was happy to be running together again after two years of cancellation and the weather was great, sunny and not too hot. The Batacie did a great job keeping everyone organized and, except for buses replacing trains in Enschede, the race went smoothly.
The final stage is run as a pair, 7.8 km from Enschede’s historic center to the stadium on the university campus. Thousands of students poured into the stadium, beer in hand, to cheer on the last runners. For AEGEE Groningen, it was Melanie and Simo. After giving them a hearty cheer, the AEGEE Groningen team headed to a celebratory barbeque with the other AEGEE locals that participated. After a few hours of inter-AEGEE bonding, the real party began. Eventually, students stumbled back into the sleeping bags in the gym, tired after long but successful days of running and dancing.