Ronald ran 40 km in the Marathon of Chicago (US), October 7th for the Kika Foundation fighting Cancer in Children. Back from Chicago and my feet are back on Dutch ground, but my head and heart are still partly on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. The anti-climax feelings prevail, and my body feels a bit shaken; is it the jetlag? Is the buildup adrenaline finally gone? It’s all part of the ‘after-affect’.
It was a year filled with fantastic KiKa-actions! A few of the highlights: the carnival emblems action (the KiKa-Oeteldonk-frog), the KiKa sponsor dinner at Sitio Restaurant, the sponsor run at the primary school ‘de Bron’ and many more great actions. And of course, a lot of donations from people or organizations who support KiKa.
Also, this year’s three major sponsors could call themselves a t-shirt sponsor: Cité BV, ATS Teconomy and ESET internet security. They were all willing to donate a large amount of money for KiKa and in return their company’s names were printed on the KiKa t-shirt which is worn during runs in the Netherlands and the USA.
During the last KiKa meeting in September some amazing KiKa ambassadors were titled “Goldrunner”! And thanks to all the donations, sponsors and encouragers through which I raised an amount of over € 10.000, I was one of them. I was a huge honor to be wearing the title ‘Goldrunner’ on my KiKa t-shirt in Chicago.
Thursday the 4th of October: together with all the KiKa runners, their supporters and the people of the KiKa organization, we left from Amsterdam Schiphol Airport on an 8.5-hour flight to Chicago. The plane was filled with fit and excited marathon runners on their way to Chicago marathon! Besides KiKa, runners for the Semmy foundation were also on the plane. The Semmy foundation is a foundation that raises money for a specific kind of childhood cancer, brainstem cancer. Wendy van Dijk, a famous Dutch actor and television presenter is ambassador for this foundation and she and her husband Erland Galjaard were going to run the Chicago marathon on behalf of the Semmy foundation. They both finished the Chicago marathon; a fantastic accomplishment! With all these great and excited people on board, everybody is in a great mood and soon we formed a very close group of people. Beautiful friendships have formed, and the conversations were a mixture of joy, tears and authenticity.
Once arrived and settled in Chicago we visited the Expo on Friday to get our starting numbers for the marathon. To get there we made a very nice tourist walk through Chicago, that was so cool! Chicago is an amazing city! We ended that walk with a KiKa group photo at the cloud gate. On Saturday the 6th of October, Eveline, my partner and supporter, and I participated in the 5K run of Chicago, with around 7,000 participants. This was a nice and good general repetition for me in preparation for the marathon.
Sunday, October 7: we gathered in the lobby around 5:30 AM. Everyone, feeling a healthy portion of excitement, was totally surprised by a positive pep talk by my girlfriend, supporter but also coach Eveline. Super thanks to you, Eveline!
7:30 AM: the marathon starts. At the start I felt very fit and good to go. My head was clear, my heart and stomach worked together and were connected. I felt like I was flying through the streets and enjoyed everything and everyone around me. What a beautiful city and nice people there are in Chicago. There was a lot of oxygen in the air because of the drizzling rain. I felt just great! But, after 17 miles of running, when I’ve reached the second KiKa supporters point, I felt like I was about to collapse. The rain had started to fall heavily from the sky and everything was soaking wet. My close felt heavy and rubbed against my skin. I felt like I was no longer balanced, and thoughts kept running through my head, my focus was gone. Encouraging words from Eveline at that 17-mile supporters point, and a lovely kiss and hug helped me to get back to myself again. I realized that giving up was not an option for me and not even a choice. A sick child also has no choice in giving up. I want to fight for all those brave little kids out there and that’s was what I was doing at that specific moment! That thought strengthened me and my wings were back again!
No matter how hard the last few miles were, I finished the marathon in 4 hours and 5 minutes, I was so happy and so proud of myself! I did it again. With a thick medal plate around my neck, which I dedicate to Noa Esmee Westerlaken, I walked back to the supporters’ bus, feeling very proud! Back at the supporters’ bus there was a very warm welcome by all the supporters and the first few runners who had already finished. Great big hugs and coca cola and chips awaited me there. YES: I finished the Chicago marathon for KiKa and I feel immense amounts of pride!
Everybody in the group of KiKa runners finished the marathon of Chicago. So, cheers and applause to all of them! And a special applause to my colleague KiKa runners Wilfred and Piet who ran the last of the six great marathons and therefor received their well-deserved six- star medal plate. And a special thanks to
Roger and Ingo, fellow goldrunners, for letting us have their ‘breakfast-in-bed’ reward that they got from KiKa but which they wanted me, and my girlfriend to have instead. Very nice, we enjoyed it a lot !
Monday, the 8th of October, the day after the Chicago Marathon almost the entire Kika group flew back to Holland. Eveline and I stayed for a few more days, together with Hans and Rosetta. Wonderful people, great and dedicated ambassadors for KiKa, very nice to spend time with. During one of the moments spend with them, we came up together with the idea that Eveline, who got already more and more committed to KiKa in the last few months, could run the New York marathon in 2019 together with me. We are already a couple, best friends, buddies and like to run together.
Thanks to everyone who has been able and willing to make this marathon for KiKa happen! Thanks to y
ou all those sick children are one step closer to be cured and to be just a normal healthy child again! We hope that we can count on you in the (near) future. You are in my (our) heart(s)!
About ATS Community:
ATS Community sponsors ATS employees who wish to make a personal effort to participate in activities for Charity in a sportive way. Find out more information on:
ATS Community – Fund Raising page