Survival running club Woest is a spectacular new entrant in the Wageningen sports scene. ‘There wasn’t a club for this in Wageningen,’ says the new treasurer Roos van der Locht, ‘so we are filling that niche.’
Members of the survival running club Woest training on Bongerd’s brand-new obstacle course. © Sven Menschel
Next to the football pitch at the Bongerd is a brand-new obstacle course where Woest now trains twice a week. ‘There have been plans to build a course like this for years at the Bongerd,’ explains Van der Locht. ‘A design was even produced four years ago. But they had to build a new sports hall first, after which there was no money left. Some survival runners then took the initiative to build some obstacles themselves. Meanwhile, we kept on at the Bongerd about the importance of such a course.’ Which got results: a professional wooden survival running course was built in November. There are also a few obstacles in between the trees next to the course.
‘At the moment we’ve got a core group of about 15 people,’ says Van der Locht, ‘but as many as 22 have turned up for training. There is a good atmosphere and we do a lot of things together so that the members can get to know one another properly and the lessons aren’t just anonymous.’ A training session lasts about 90 minutes and consists of various elements: running, stretching, training on obstacles, competitive aspects and a game at the end. ‘Tag, for example. It’s basically intensive outdoor play for 90 minutes,’ laughs Van der Locht.
You take part in survival running competitions on an individual basis, says Van der Locht. ‘Some members compete. We also go to runs as a Wageningen delegation. We went to a run in Belgium a couple of weeks back and in the spring we’re planning to compete in runs in Zeist and Elst.’
Van der Locht thinks it’s strange that Wageningen didn’t already have a survival running club. ‘It’s really a typical Wageningen sport. It’s a proper outdoor sport as you run through woods and fields where you come across various obstacles; they often involve rope climbing but sometimes you have to do archery or kayaking. Add to that the weather: snow, rain, storms. The run is never cancelled unless it’s code red. You have to not mind getting dirty.’
There was actually already a group of active survival runners in Wageningen before Woest was founded. ‘The Tree Pushers (Bomenduwers), more a group of friends than a club. Many of them have already graduated too. But a few of the Tree Pushers are now training with us.’
Curious whether survival running could be your thing? You can join three training sessions free of obligations on Tuesday or Thursday evenings. Check out woestwageningen.nl.