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BUT: 3 personal records in one day

Race name
Brabantse Ultra Trail 
The Netherlands

Oops, only 5 kilometers into the Brabantse Ultra Trail 50k (BUT) and my gluteus medius, the muscles on the side of my hips, are already protesting. This is going to be an interesting race

I expected my legs to protest today, just not so quickly. I mean, last week I ran the Mighty Marathon at the MUT Festival in the Ardennes in Belgium. That race was a hard one. Of the 43,5 kilometers we had to run, I think at least 42 were slippery mud. My legs were destroyed at the end.

Not a smart idea

So, yeah, running an ultra today isn’t the smartest idea. But he, I’ve got the Dolomiti Extreme Trail coming up in June. This is probably my last chance to run one more ultra. Okay, I can run 50 kilometers on my own, but a race is a bigger motivation. And by the sound of it, not just for me. Lots of people are here to prepare for bigger races this summer. Jeroen Stoof, for example, is going to run The Great Escape. Agata Synoradzka is preparing for a race in the Polish mountains.

Pain in my butt or not, I am a man on a mission today. In my first trail marathon, a relatively flat one like this one, it took me 5 hours, 1 minute and 39 seconds to run 42.195 meters. Today I want to break that record. My first and only 50 kilometers race (52) I ran in 7 hours and 34 minutes. I should break that record easily, as that race had 1.600 meters of altitude.

No way-markers

That’s why I’m running 6.30 per kilometer. Happily running them, because it’s beautiful out here in Valkenhorst, a protected nature area. We’re running over lots of single tracks, in between trees and bushes and alongside creeks and ponds, while the sun is slowly rising.

Although my legs are protesting, I have, up to 30 kilometers, no problem keeping this pace. Okay, here and there a kilometer goes a bit slower, but that’s because none of us have any experience with navigating and this BUT has no way-markers, so every now and then we have to stand still and check the AllTrails app if we’re still on track.


After 30 kilometers I’m starting to struggle. I’ve formed a nice little group with Justine Warmerdam and Agata Synoradzka. Justine and I are running more or less the same pace. Agata stays with us so as not to get lost. She’s preparing for a 100 kilometer race and already said at kilometer 27: ‘Wow, we’re almost there’.

My kilometer times slowly go up to 7 minutes per kilometer, but I’m still on schedule for my fastest marathon time and my fastest 50k, and I’ve already broken one personal record. According to my watch I ran my fastest 30 kilometers ever.

On my own

Just after the last refreshment post, around 41 kilometers, I have to let go of Agata. It has been the two of us for a while, as we’ve let Justine behind us earlier in the race. But now a faster runner has come by, who is comfortable in navigating, so Agata decides to run on. It gives me the excuse to walk for a moment, eat an energy bar and let my heart rate go down. It has been around my lactate threshold for a while now, which is no good with another 10 kilometers to go.

It’s not just my legs playing up now, also my knees are painful. Especially my right one. I kind of hope it’s my Sartorius muscle again, as I know how to fix that problem. The good thing is, it’s just my body struggling. In Sussex, a month and a half ago, my mind was struggling as well. I had to tell myself to run to the next tree and the next and the next, to keep myself going. Now I have the feeling I am almost there. I know I can do this. I’ve done it before.

Three personal records

To take the pressure of my legs I run a bit, walk a few steps and run again. Justine passes me again. Three more runners do. I try to follow them, but my right knee keeps protesting the moment I up the pace. The mountain bike track we’re running on, isn’t helpful as well. All little bumps, one close to the other. It means one leg keeps stepping down, the other keeps stepping up. It kills my legs.

Luckily the finish is around the corner and as soon as the little bumps are done, I squeeze out one more kilometer in 6.46. It’s always fun to see how your legs can be completely dead, yet there is somewhere some energy in them to speed up in the last couple of meters.

When I cross the finish line, I see I’ve done what I hoped to do at this BUT. A marathon in 4.46, which is 17 minutes faster than my last personal record, and the 50k within 6 hours. Mission accomplished. I think I’m ready for the Dolomites.

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