2nd Anglo-Dutch The Hague Cross-country 12 March 2009

Time (‘Who knows where the time goes?’-Sandy Denny) and years pass by quickly nowadays: within the framework of the (now more or less ‘permanent’) ‘Anglo-Dutch Running Civil Servant Exchange’ our British running colleagues came over to run in the Hague and, like last year, they arrived a few days before the The Hague Half Marathon (CPC). With as their ‘aim’, not just running (& winning?) the ‘2nd Anglo-Dutch The Hague Cross-Country’ on March 12, but to run the CPC Half Marathon two days later as well.

In the hours just before the cross (‘our XC’) starts, always a (healthy) feeling of tension arises: will all be truly arranged in time, will the marshals (two classes of pupils of the Mondrian College, Security division) turn up, are we able to pick up in time from the Defence ministry the red-and-white track lining flags and the ‘time-box’, will there turn up runners anyway (you never know...), what kind of weather will it be like, and so on...

All the ‘ingredients’ proved to be there and right in time as well: the Mondrian pupils were on the spot with sufficient instruction (we thought...) and ‘guided’ in time to their appropriate ‘positions-in-the-field’; some 30 runners showed up including of course our British friends. So all was ready for a nice & pleasant afternoon on the ‘battlefield’, the sand and paths of the Waalsdorpervlakte, north east of The Hague. The weather promised to be excellent for running: light drizzle and plenty of humidity in the air.

Aldo Looijenga (VROM) won the 5 km (men) in 21min 28secs, with André Carstens (Foreign Affairs Ministry) coming second. Women 5 km: Judith Bekenkamp and Kim van Ginkel (both of the Transportation Ministry) finished together in 37mins 22secs.

The 10 km saw, like last year, a double British victory, with Jon Gilling winning the men’s in 34min 58secs, Jan van Vliet (VROM) coming second and Liz Stavreski as woman winner in 46min 22secs, with Hanneke Wortel (Parliament Services) finishing second.

Most if not all runners were delighted with the beautiful (double) lap on the Waalsdorpervlakte  (pictured). We will try, after thorough evaluation, for a ‘new’ edition in 2010, with -as a challenge for ‘us & them’- more serious competition for our British guests!

But there was more: all three British guests entered on March 14 the Hague Half Marathon resulting in fast individual performance: Jon Gilling (1hr 17mins), Elizabeth Stavreski (1hr 25mins) and Nick Hume (1hr 38mins; his first half marathon on the continent ever!). But their ‘assistance’ also proved very valuable for the BusinessRun team of the Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning & Environment: with their contribution a 5th place was secured, with Liz as the fastest woman BusinessRunner! We all will meet again (including of course Gerry Trainer and many others!) no doubt in November 2009 ‘somewhere in London’ for CSAA’s yearly XC!


Wim Kooij, Niek Tetteroo


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