Universiteit Leiden

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A weekend of running for charity

Running 520 kilometres from Paris to Rotterdam. Over the Whitsun weekend the members of the Currimus running club will take part in the Roparun, Europe's biggest relay race.

65 kilometres per person

‘Eating, sleeping, training and working. Oh, and not forgetting organising. That's what our lives are made up of at the moment,' Lotte Verleng, one of the runners and also one of the instigators of the Leiden University Roparun, explained. 25 members of the University's running club Currimus will be covering the distance from Paris to Rotterdam this weekend. Most of them will be cycling, driving the van or acting as masseur. Eight people will do the actual run, in two teams. Verleng explains, 'That's about 65 kilometres per person. Each runner runs distances of two and a half kilometres in relay, and the rest of the time they are in the van. It'll be tough, but the most difficult part will probably be the lack of sleep.'

Enthusiastic club members

Why are the students putting themselves through this ordeal? Verleng explained that it started with the Roparun in 2013. 'The people who took part were so enthusiastic and it was for charity. We wanted to experience that ourselves.'

Care for cancer patients

The teams that take part in the Roparun pay pay a steep registration fee and they're also asked to collect as much money as they can for charity: palliative care for cancer patients. Some members of Currimus have people in their circle who are affected by cancer, or who are doing cancer research. The runners also want to show their social involvement as a university running club, she explained. 

Packing the shopping

The Leiden team has set itself a goal of collecting at least 13,000 euros, although everything above that sum will also go to the charity, of course. Another of the organisers, Aafke Ruiter, explained that they have thought up some different sponsor activities, including baking biscuits, speed-dating and a pub quiz. 'But the biggest success was the Christmas activity.  We went to supermarkets and asked people if we could help them pack their shopping. It was almost a symbolic gesture, but everyone was really positive about it. We were given donations ranging from 50 cents to ten euros.'

Eat cake and sponsor

Ruiter also talked about another successful idea - the cake campaign at De Bonte Koe café. 'They pay for the ingredients, we bake the cakes and they sell them for us. Everyone can eat cake to sponsor us!'

Few student teams

This year, Currimus is one of the few student teams in the race. According to Ruiter, 'That makes it more difficult, to get sponsors, for example. Company teams probably have it a lot easier.'

Message behind the run

Besides all the sponsoring activities, the participants have been training three times a week, as well as doing an endurance run at the weekend. Ruiter, Verleng and Anne de Haan, also a member of Currimus, said that they were starting to get nervous, but they had no doubt everything would be fine. De Haan: ‘The message behind the weekend makes it even more special. While running, you're bound to be thinking about the charity you're doing it for. The finish in Rotterdam will take us past the hospital that we're collecting the money for. It really brings it home to you how lucky you are to be in  good health.' 

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