Foreign teams do not normally stand out in the Hyde Park Relays. A typical student competition, this resembles the 'Batavierenrace'. But on a smaller scale, says athlete Marlou Bijlsma. 'And a great deal of running is involved.' Besides a large number of English people, participants also included students from Spain and Poland. By the way, Hyde Park will be the competition venue for the triathlon in the coming summer Olympic Games.
The Dutch team 'Zeus Dames' ran four rounds of 3.5 kilometres within a time of 53.52 minutes. With two Tartlétos-members, Marlou Bijlsma and Esther Swart, it was the fastest foreign women's team and was third in the overall placing, losing out only to the teams from Cambridge University (52.59) and St. Mary's (53.42).
Bijlsma considers the Hyde Park race as a prelude to the Batavierenrace, the biggest student relay in the Netherlands. She has full confidence in the Wageningen team: 'Our team is very strong this year; we have many good runners. We are definitely going to win.' Their biggest rival, Groningen, is not as good as in previous years, says Bijlsma. 'Our only risk is getting an injury; we therefore need to have good reserves.'
To join this high-flying Batavieren team, you need to be a fast runner. Women must be able to cover 2.5 kilometres at an average of 14 km/h, while men have to cover five kilometres at an average of 16 km/h.