The Glass House is going up again, which for many Dutch people is the signal to do something crazy. Rowing through 11 Frisian towns in less than 21 hours, for instance.
Marleen Henkens (Virology) admits at once to being an eleven-towns addict. She has already competed 18 times in the ‘regular’ eleven-towns race for rowing boats, so she signed up immediately when the organization announced a special eleven-towns rowing marathon for Serious Request. And she managed to rustle up ‘another 12 nutters’ in less than two weeks. Using the name VADA, the 13-strong team of colleagues, alumni and rowing friends will be competing with 12 other rowing teams, including another Wageningen team put together by rowing club Argo. VADA will have a coxed double scull and Argo will be there with a coxed quad scull.
The starting gun will be fired at 11 o’clock on Saturday 21 December, close to the Glass House in Leeuwarden. The finish will be there too, less than 21 hours later. Henkens: ‘It will get dark at quarter past four so we’ll be rowing 160 of the 210 kilometres in the dark. The section on the IJsselmeer side will be particularly heavy going as there are lots of bridges and bends in the circuit. In the regular eleven-towns race on Ascension Day you do this bit in daylight but now it’ll be dark. The effort required and the cold make it difficult to steer properly.’ Each VADA team member has to row at least four legs of over an hour each. That means resting in the cars following the boats and eating loads in the intervals. ‘There could easily be sub-zero temperatures at night so the heater needs to be turned up. But we’re used to this.’ To sponsor VADA, transfer money to account number 4376224, in the name of M. Abma-Henkens, stating ‘SR13’. For Argo, see the Facebook page WSR Argo Elfsteden Serious Request Roeimarathon .