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Review: 4 Mile Groningen

If you want the perfect metaphor for TopDutch culture, look no further than the 4 Mile run from Groningen. Competitive, yet community-spirited; sporty but also lovers of music and performance; and egalitarian – with a passion to help those less fortunate than ourselves. This year, 18,000 competitors and even more spectators took to the, slightly drizzly, streets of the province of Groningen to come together in health, sport and fun.

Something for everyone

Bonding through fitness

The 4 Mile Groningen is, as the name suggests, a 4-mile run through the province of Groningen, beginning in the town of Haren and cumulating in Groningen city center. For the 33rd edition on the 13th of October 2019, the town was filled with Lycra, Fitbits and anticipation as 18,000 runners descended on the start point to show off their sporting prowess.

 

Fun fact #1

4 Mile Groningen has a partnership with the social organization ‘Quiet’, that helps members of the community join in with activities that may otherwise be too expensive. They offered 10 places of the run for free to people who couldn’t afford it, encouraging people from all walks of life to get moving.

What makes the 4 Mile great is that the day is for every member of the community. Of course, there are the true athletes coming from far and wide to compete – this year the men’s and women’s races were topped by Kenyans, Davis Kiplangat winning the men’s and Eva Cherono women’s gold medals respectively. But the vast majority of competitors are TopDutch locals, for whom the 4 Mile is a chance to get fit, bond with their friends or their colleagues, and feel proud of themselves. Although all participants ran the same course, they began in waves: With something for the youngest members of the community in the youth run, going up to students, businesses and the general recreation run.


Community spirit

More than running

And where would all the great runners be without the support of their friends and family cheering them on? All the way down the route, tens of thousands of supporters were lining the streets, cheering on the participants and shouting messages of encouragement for those starting to get a little tired. They were joined by a wide array of entertainment, scattered through the course. From DJs to live bands to orchestra, there was plenty of opportunities for a pick-me-up along the way.

For those who wanted to join in, but perhaps not running the full way, there was the 4Mijl4You taking place on the Saturday evening. 2,600 people donned lights and fancy dress, and traveled the 4 miles in a different way than running - be that via scooter, wheelchair, or pushing a stroller.    

 

Fun fact #2

Hanging around at the finish line you’ll see the sight of Timey the mascot, a blue creature with Groningen’s most iconic building – the Martini Tower – growing from his head. He’s considered the most fit Groninger, because although he lives in the bell tower, he runs up and down the stairs of the tower every day to collect the mail…

Timey the mascot

In typical TopDutch style, the participants were not only having fun, but also helping out those less fortunate. Every year, the race is dedicated to one charity, and this year ‘Stichting Walk On’ was chosen. This charity supports those with paraplegia, helping to rehabilitate them through the use of an exoskeleton that allows them to walk and train under the supervision of professional physiotherapists. Our incredible TopDutch’ers raised a total of €55,000 to the charity.

Wishing you could have joined in? No problem – it will be on again next year, so gives you plenty of time to get training! And if you want to keep up to date with the best cultural events from the TopDutch region, keep an eye on the website, or sign up to our newsletter.


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