After being injured at the time of last year’s edition (which turned out quite memorable with Bruno running the entire 42.195 km in his heavy-weight, full length pair of jeans) there was no way I was going to miss out on the 2016 edition of the Bosmarathon in Aalter this year. A trip down memory lane: close to my parents, the majority of the trail is run on the trails & roads I pretty much know by heart from when I was still living with my parents.
After saying hello to a couple of familiar faces, I take off in the middle of the pack. Feeling pretty good, I immediately start moving to the front of the pack and by the time we near the first trees, I’m in the top 5. First up: Blekkerbos. Reasonably muddy, but in fact, quite alright. Making good progress. And even though I pretty much know every tree here, I can’t help looking around and enjoying it all. It’s good to be back!
Next up: Vorte Bossen. The closest forests near my parent’s place and the ones that were pretty much a certainty on every run, especially in the beginning when my runs were still relatively short. I can almost guess the next 10k from here: Across the big road, towards Doomkerke, a village whose name sounds so much more badass in English than it does in Dutch. Once there, onwards direction Beernem and the woods there. Man, I could do this blindfolded!
After about 13k, I arrive at the supply post. A bit of chatting and on with it! I’m feeling so at home that, for about 500m, I forget about the race and the direction indicators and follow my traditional training route. God punishes immediately. After retracing my steps for a few hundred meters, I’m back on track and continue direction Beernem, Bulskampveld. Familiar roads all the way!
After doing a big extra lap (The 43k route is basically the 21k route with this extra lap added to it), I arrive at the supply post again for a slightly longer break. I’m starting to feel really tired now. With about 12k to go, I’m starting to feel the lack of training. And finally, back at the Vorte Bossen and with about 6k to go, the amazing Gert Mertens passes me. Obviously in better shape. I don’t even try to stick with him but neither do I let it discourage me. 4th overall is still pretty ok.
And 4th it is. Even though I’m not feeling too strong, I manage to keep the pace up reasonably well and finish in 3:18:12. Less than 2 minutes after Gert. I’m not even disappointed about missing the podium. We chat a bit, I spot some friends, congratulate Joeri on an excellent edition of his trail and head home. My new home, that is.