The top priority in the run-up to the Batavian Race (Batavierenrace) is not training, but making bookings for buses, bicycles, food, drinks and chauffeurs for a weekend of partying. 'I think that some people don't even train at all.'
While the university team held a selection competition at the end of March, the other teams are happy just to have enough runners. 'We now have our 22 nd participant, so some of us will have to cover two laps, says Wytze Schell of the Biolympia team of biologists. There are neither training schedules nor daily routines. 'Some of us will be running, though, individually or in a small group, while others will keep to their own sport.' He and two colleagues are concerned with the practical aspects: making sure that everyone will have food, drinks, transport and a place to sleep, and that everything gets to the right place on time.
Taking part in the 'Bata' is a logistics challenge. The event will kick off on Friday evening at the Nijmegen sports centre, with re-starts in Dinxperlo and Barchum. After the closing party in Enschede, everyone can stay overnight. Wytze, a Bata first-timer, is lucky to have a checklist to refer to; a team from his student society has been participating for many years. But a race well-run is just a small matter to him. 'The party afterwards is what makes the Bata enjoyable, but I would be pleased too if everything goes well.'
Dirk de Hoog of Fastfood, comprising the student societies Heeren XVII and Di-et-tri, has pretty much done all the pre-arrangements. So what will the agro-technologists and nutrition fussers take with them? A beer tap with fifty-litre kegs, two refrigerators, a deep-fryer, a coffee-maker and caravans, one of which has a roof deck. This was bought last year for the Achterhoek festival 'de Zwarte Cross'. They have been trying to train together once a week. What distance they will cover will depend somewhat on the people who show up.
'The laps vary greatly, from three to twelve kilometres.' There will probably be participants who do not train at all, Dirk thinks. The no-beer policy won't apply on these days. 'We run for fun, and it's the entire weekend that matters. The party afterwards should in fact be for the runners only. Then everyone will have trouble with his legs.'