For a moment, it looked like the WUR team would reach the podium. But due to time measurements of the stages that were adjusted afterwards, the team missed a third place by 18 seconds.
One of WUR’s runners at the end of his stage. © Batavierenrace
‘I am rather disappointed’, says Koen Jansen, co-organiser of the team and runner on the fifth stage. ‘It has repercussions on the entire team. We have truly gone through this race together. For a while, it looked like the WUR team had missed third place by nine seconds due to a stage being scratched. However, with time adjustments made to the stages afterwards, the WUR team would have been behind on number three by 18 seconds if the fifth stage had not been scratched. That means they would not have made it to third place anyway.
The organisation deemed the removal after the race necessary as many runners has taken a wrong route during the fifth stage. The cause was a lack of clarity in the description of the route, says Jorien Zoon of the Batavierenrace organisation.
It was exactly in that stage that the university team had placed its fastest runner. And that was Jansen. His stage was nearly 10 kilometres long, and he passed the runners of team Twente and team Nijmegen on that distance. It was his great time that contributed, among others, to the WUR team finishing third. Then came the announcement that the organisation decided to scratch the crucial stage. ‘I had absolutely no problems with the directions. There were large signs along the road with arrows showing the way’, Jansen says, ‘and besides, every runner also has a companion cycling along with them. They have an overview of the route and provide various information, such as running speed, for example.’
The teams from Eindhoven and Maastricht have immediately appealed against this decision on Saturday. Whether team WUR will do the same is still being discussed within the team. The team has the possibility to appeal against the organisation’s decision until Wednesday.
The university team from Groningen is the winner of the university competition, team Nijmegen took second place and team Twente completes the podium. Team WUR ended fourth, like it did in previous years. The team was on the podium for the last time in 2013. At the time, the Wageningen students ended third. In 2012, Wageningen University Team won the Batavierenrace.
The other Wageningen teams did great as well: W.A.V. Tartlétos, the team of the student athletics association, finished sixteenth. The best teams of student associations SSR-W and KSV ended in positions 21 and 22. IJzersterk's ice skaters placed 37th and Argo’s rowers 43rd. A total of 276 teams participated.
The ‘Bata’ is an annual relay race between Nijmegen and Enschede. In all, almost 400 team joined in this year, including nine university teams. Each team consists of twenty-five participants: sixteen men and nine women who run a total of 180 kilometres. The race started Friday night at midnight, with the finish Saturday afternoon. The winner is the team that needed the shortest time to get from Nijmegen to Enschede.