The Bata, every year a really nice moment to look forward to. Also a great moment to show other universities what your student city is worth in terms of running. This year the competition was not the day after the batavierenrace, so the Tartlétosteam was quickly full. The WUR team was selected as usual, with the campus run as the highlight for this selection. It soon became clear that this would be the fastest team of the last few years. All men under 17:40 on the 5km and women ran faster than 20:00, most of which had also been under 18:00. So we’re going for the goal that hasn’t been achieved in the last 5 years: a medal.
The team was ready, all instructions had been given and we only had one thing left to do: run! The biggest rivalry would, as always, come from Nijmegen and Groningen. On the first stage it turned out that Enschede also did a lot to prolong their podium place. Nevertheless a good start with a 3rd place.
The night shift is always something magical. In pitch darkness, bumping through narrow paths in Germany. The hilly stage went well for Lars, he took it all the way and we also started with a 3rd place in the night. All WUR-team runners in the night ran very well, almost everyone ran a podium place. Only the long men’s stages, where we knew we were going to run a bit slower, we didn’t make it. However, the loss was very limited. Because of the good starting position Tim was able to lead us to 2nd place in the general classification with his stage win! This second place wasn’t handed over all night.
When we arrived in Ulft it soon became clear that Groningen had missed a turnout and had lost 8 minutes there! Also team Enschede was put on a few minutes in the night. Nijmegen was already a few minutes ahead, so spot 2 was the main goal. The morning started with an unleashed Roel, who almost ran 18 km per hour. He himself said the following about it: “I’M NEVER GOING TO RUN MORE THAN 5K ANY MORE!!!”. When he heard his time, he fortunately came back to this quickly. In the morning there was also a stage won, by Kristel van den Berg. Groningen tried, but they didn’t come any closer to the Wageningen Spartans. From the 12 minutes behind they only came about 30 seconds closer after the morning.
The afternoon started sunny in Barchem. Also figuratively, because nothing stood in the way of a podium place. After the usual chaos on the restarts Karel van Wiltenburg took the lead. Following in the footsteps of a number of other teams we walked in the direction of Enschede. Ynte won stage 20! Stage 22 was one of a slightly different nature. Koen had been a bit sick, and had an ailing knee, and started his 10.7km hike. Luckily Koen was pain free, but it took some time compared to the competition. Just under 4 minutes before Groningen. Fortunately Yasmijn Bakker came with a stage victory to Enschede!
The final stages were coming up, the stages where many teams put their best runners on. Guus has to compete against some 20km/hour guys, and we had Ellen van der Kolk. As she said in an interview: I just wanted to be the first on the track, so I took that cool moment with me anyway. And she did! The Groningen rider was probably able to study Ellen’s calves very well, because Ellen went for it with the final stage! Meanwhile Guus had started, and we knew that he had a 4.5 minute margin at Groningen to defend that precious 2nd place. He made a good estimation of what was going to be run and he ran economically, because after Guus there was still 28 seconds left for the WUR-team! Silver! After 5 years no medal! We certainly would like more now, and in the coming years we are going to win more medals and we are going to do our best to bridge the gap to Nijmegen!