Brussels ING marathon Roller. October 10th 2004


Wow, this was quite a marathon in Brussels. Certainly not my best. I had a rough time skating against the wind. After the turning point I recovered a bit and was pretty fit again when we skated back into the city.

It was a weird marathon. At the start the we waited long after the banner was removed. One of the skaters (JanF) decided to count down loudly to make some progress. Then someone from the organisation waved with a white folder, causing Huub (Belgian inline Center) to start immediately. The others were in doubt for a fraction of a second, but decided to follow. It was only then when the start shot was fired!

After the first 30m a left and right turn were followed but a slight uphill. Huub started very fast but had to pay the penalty for tit soon after. I was busy taking pictures and shooting video, but managed to stay at the front of the pack. In the downhill I though "this is to risky". It was not clear what would be at the bottom. No indication, what so ever. A sharp turn to the left onto the big bad road. I heard that a lot of following skaters crashed at this point.

After this turn there was a gap in the pack. The first four were gone. Didier from Rouli Roula lost the first three and ended up in the second group with Nielens and me. With the three of us we finished the race taking turns to break the wind. at one point Didier fel, but we waited for him to continue.

The long straight stretch was boring: no audience, industry, hard wind, rough surface, pain in my back. I used my four wheel 80 mm frame as I usually do, but five or 90mm wheels would have been better. What a bad roads do they have in Brussels! Occasionally some one from the organisation was sleeping and you had to ask for directions.

The finish was strange to say the least: The "marathon" for skaters would be 36km, but signs "37", "38" passed and still no finish. Suddenly there was a narrowing road at an intersection, which appeared to be the finish! Didier jumped from behind and finished in front of me. We passed the line onto the intersection which wasn't properly blocked from traffic! We rolled out, when a lady chased us with some kind of racket. Then it became clear that she wanted to read out the chip in the start number on our chests. How about that sprint. Better would be to break to be first at that lady.

At the big market square I witnessed a bizarre scene. The runner in the lead got lost in the streets of Brussels just around the corner of the big market square. Again some staff have been sleeping (JanF has a nice picture / evidence of this). The audience near the finish could see this happening on the video wall and was in shock and angry. the runner was helpless and angry, nobody helped him. The cameras kept on filming. Finally he entered the market square from the wrong end and crossed the finish line from the wrong side!!! Bizarre.

The atmosphere was great however and I met a lot of friends (DUSFOR) and made new ones :-) We took a picture at the statue of Manneke Pis and had a pasta for dinner. Enjoy the video and pictures below! :-)

Video of the ING Brussels roller marathon 2004 3 min 49. 27MB

Results: Inline skaters
More pictures by Jan Feijes.


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Skating through the streets of Brussel to the start.
The Atomium.
Me behaving like a tourist :-)
Paperwork in the ...
Koning Boudewijn stadium.
More and more skaters are gathering.
Lots of officials too.
Belgian police on skates. Will they join us?
Hydro skaters present too. They would benefit from their special skates on the rough roads.
How many skaters will appear?
Jan Feijes also present.
And of course Rouli Roula.
Skate Spiderman and Skate Batman in a fight?
DUSFOR liberates Belgian.
Preparing for the start.
Klaus and me in the front row.
Profi ladies Hilde Goovaarts (r) and Anja de Koster (L) in pusuit of Jean-Vincent Faehres and Didier Baetens.
Didier, Henri and me during the last kms.
km 38: Where is the finish???
Here it is. on a corner of an intersection.
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Peter Nikkel.