Belgian Marathon side by side ASML Marathon in Eindhoven

Photo Credit: Eindhoven Media Library

At the ASML Marathon Eindhoven, the Belgian Marathon Championship will also be run for the seventh time. Gery Follens, president of the Belgian Athletics Federation explained to Studio040 how the championship ended up in Eindhoven.

“In 2015 we lacked a full-fledged organisation in Belgium,” Follens begins. “As a result, we started looking across the country’s borders. Eindhoven hosted a good marathon in which many Belgian runners were already participating. We then contacted organiser Golazo and decided to organise the championship in Eindhoven as a trial.”

And that went down very well, says Folens. “So the following year we came back and also organised a Belgian House in the Aristo building. There we have a real Belgian party, dressed up with Belgian beer and fries. There we also do the award ceremonies this year that are outside the main stage. In fact, we will do the awards ceremony for the master categories in the same place as the winners of the entire marathon.”

Fast Course

Whether the Belgian Championship will continue to be held in Eindhoven in future years, Folens could not say. “Obviously, we are happy here. Moreover, it is a fast course, which ensures that our athletes can set a good time. That is actually perfect. However, we also want to be able to organise a Belgian Championship in our own country.”

Back to Belgium

To that end, another attempt was made in 2022. The marathon was organised in Antwerp. “But that experience was very disappointing, the organisation left much to be desired from all sides. So that’s why we’re back in Eindhoven this year. It also has to do with the number of participants and in Eindhoven there are many Belgian participants. But Golazo Belgium would also like to organise the event.”

‘Beautiful runners’

The organisation says that if it is up to Golazo Netherlands, the Belgians will also run the marathon championship in Eindhoven next year. “As far as we are concerned, the Belgian Championship is also welcome to be organised in Eindhoven in the coming years. It adds value to the event and always attracts great runners to the start.”

“Look at the women’s starting field, for example. The Belgian Championship attracts two strong Belgian women to the event (Karen van Proeyen and Astrid Verhoeven, ed.) making it a great race within a race for the public as well. Naturally, we evaluate after each edition with the Belgian athletics federations for the national championship.”

Whether the Belgians can be admired at the Eindhoven marathon again next year will therefore have to prove itself, Folens also confirms. “But we feel very welcome here. How it will go next year is not yet known, but Eindhoven is well-liked.”

Source: Studio040

Translated by Chaitali Sengupta

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