RaceRunning in the Netherlands
RaceRunning is becoming very popular in the Netherlands these years and the country now has 220 RaceRunning athletes. Petra van Schie tells the successful history of RaceRunning in the Netherlands.
By Petra van Schie, on behalf of the Dutch RaceRunning team
RaceRunning only started in the Netherlands in 2010 when Petra van Schie, a pediatric physical therapist and researcher, working in Amsterdam UMC, found out about the Petra-bike/RaceRunner when teaching colleagues in Denmark.
Back home she was super excited about the RaceRunner and found out it was unknown in the Netherlands. In her wish to share this great device, she applied for funding of her first RaceRunning project which she could start in April 2012. Petra was able to buy four RaceRunners, which were placed in three pediatric rehabilitation centers and special schools in the Netherlands.
Pediatric physical therapists start using the RaceRunners and shared their experiences. They all were very enthusiastic and did not want to miss the RaceRunner anymore! This first project was a big success. Some of the schools started buying their own racerunners because children, parents, physicians and pediatric physical therapists were so enthusiastic. A highlight of this project was the first Dutch RaceRunning athlete Twan competing at the Camp & Cup in Denmark in 2013.
Time to Scale Up
In 2015 a grant for a new project was received and Sietske de Weers and Arnoud Edelman Bos joined the team. In this year the RaceRunning team organized 10 workshops in special schools throughout the Netherlands. Again, the professionals in these schools were also very enthusiastic and most schools bought some RaceRunners for themselves. Time to scale up!
The new plan was to help athletic clubs to start with a RaceRunning group. The team received a grant for this ambitious 1,5 years project. So in the autumn of 2015 the first three RaceRunning groups started, in Hoofddorp, Rotterdam and Lelystad. RaceRunning trainers Elske Warners (Lelystad) and Ramon Storm (Rotterdam) joined the team of RaceRunning Nederland, soon followed by RaceRunning trainer Harry Jan Keizer (Assen). We started our website https://racerunning.nl and Facebook page https://nl-nl.facebook.com/deracerunner/, and during the project more and more clubs became interested in RaceRunning and actually joined the RaceRunning movement! We actually started to become a sport!
By starting a new sport we needed to train our trainers. We have got great help from Peter Drysdale and Janice Eaglesham, who came to Amsterdam in April 2016 to give a ‘train the trainer’ workshop for trainers, athletes and their parents. Eighteen months after the start of the project 12 athletic clubs had a RaceRunning group!
Highlight during this project year was the first edition of the Dutch RaceRunning Cup, organized by our team in 2016. It is a kind of (unofficial) national championship, which has been held yearly since then. This event is growing bigger by the year, and is appealing for more and more athletes on every level!
In 2018 Dutch athlete Colin participated in the Camp & Cup for the first time and run three new world records for his age, a very big success!
The team applied for another grant to continue to promote RaceRunning, which was again rewarded by NSGK. RaceRunning NL organized clinics and helped trainers to get started with a RaceRunning group. In cooperation with our national Athletic Foundation, a training course for trainers was organized, given by members of our team. Until now 6 courses were given.
220 Athletes and Still Counting …
Moreover Johan Cruyff Foundation was very helpful to our project by donating racerunners to special schools which could not find finance for this themselves.
At this moment, spring 2019, 25 athletic clubs have a RaceRunning group, with 220 athletes in total, most of them children. During the years more and more running events opened up for RaceRunning athletes. Dutch athletes like to participate in kids-runs for 600 or 1000 meters. But more and more athletes also like to run longer distances, even up to 10 km.
We think the sport can still grow a lot in the Netherlands, especially when more adults will get involved in a new project. For the future, our team is aiming at 40 athletic clubs with RaceRunning groups to achieve a national geographic coverage. Moreover we would like to participate in international competition. So, look out for the orange Dutch team, coming soon!
We are very grateful to our sponsors:
Project: The RaceRunner
Funded by Johanna Kinderfonds, Revalidatiefonds and Stichting Rotterdams Kinderrevalidatie Fonds Adriaanstichting
Project: RaceRunning on the move
Funded by: Revalidatiefonds, Johanna Kinderfonds and Cornelia Stichting
Project: RaceRunning is a sport!
Funded by NSGK
Project: RaceRunning is a sport (extension)!
Funded by NSGK
Project: RaceRunning in all of the Netherlands!
Funded by NSGK
Petra van Schie, on behalf of the Dutch RaceRunning team