Run Gendringen 9 KM
Date February 2nd 2019
Difficulty (what’s this?) 9KM: T2, 5KM: T1
Rating Recommended

On February 2, we went with a group of 13 people to the Gendringen survival run in (drum ruffle) Gendringen! It is one of the oldest survivalrun associations in the Netherlands and gets a lot of visitors each year. There were a lot of first times in this run, with many of us doing their first run of the year, some new members doing their first run ever (5 km), Justin doing his first KSR run and me doing my first run since I came back from Korea (9 km). I decided against doing the 5 km, since I wanted to see if I was still on the same level as I was before I quit training for half a year. It really was a battle with the elements this run (spoiler, they won).

Let’s begin this tale with an anecdote concerning warm clothing with long sleeves (or the lack thereof). I made a whoopsie and showed up wearing only 2 t-shirts. This was a bad idea for the following reasons:

  • It was 2 degrees outside (I mean, it was February after all)
  • It actually snowed during the run (beautiful ambiance, but I probably would have given the sky a middle finger if my hands could feel anything)
  • I made quite a splash (only literally, unfortunately. More about that later)

Alltogether, I was not very well prepared to do a 9 km run (which a lot of bystanders felt the need to point out). The first half however, was quite doable, showing mostly familiar obstacles such as swingovers, monkeyhangs over the river and ring swinging. There seemed to be a lot of focus on raw arm strength here, which was helpful to get your hands warm again, but was also made more difficult since everything was wet and sometimes snowy. There was also a part where we plowed straight through a large piece of farmland. The farmer must have been quite happy with us.

One of the more memorable obstacles for me were the short ropes. I was glad I had practiced those at our training, but still I needed 4 tries to get through them. A lot of other people were quite scared of them and thought they couldn’t do it, but the people around were all encouraging, which caused many runners do finish the obstacle for the first time in their survival running career (well done Mélanie). It was very nice to see the wholesomeness of all the runners around this obstacle.

The obstacle that caused me to lose my band was the curtain. This obstacle was basically traversing, but instead of a few ropes, there were a lot of thin ropes instead which together formed a curtain. The idea was to grab multiple ropes at once and do the foot knot around them, but my state-of-the-art technique just resulted in me playing vertical twister by myself (and somehow not winning). I think it would be fun if something similar was put in the AT construction. Losing my band was not that bad though. I mean, at least I didn’t fall into the water…

Nope, that would come 2 obstacles later with an obstacle that involved climbing from one side to the bridge to another. At this point, my arms were too cold to have enough grip to climb up again and I fell in the water. At that point the run was basically over and the sensible thing to do was to find the quickest way to the finish point and get myself warm again.

But hey, adrenalin.

So I grabbed an insulation blanket and kept running, until I reached probably the biggest flaw in the run which was the monkey hang over the water. There was a very long line there, because of not enough ropes for the runners and some people not being very fast anymore. The result was that many people wanted to wait until the person in front of them was of the rope, since they did not want to wait while on the rope. Since I was soaked and had already lost my band I decided to skip it. Fortunately, this was the only real bottleneck in the run. The other obstacles had little to no waiting time.  

Overall, I’d say Gendringen is a good, but not great run. In terms of difficulty I think it is well balanced, with people from the A group having not much difficulty finishing with their band on the 9 km run, but people from T are likely to have a hard time. The 5 km run was finished by all the runners, including the first timers so it is definitely good for beginners. Personally I would have liked a bit more originality in obstacles. The obstacles I encountered were fun, just not that surprising in my opinion. From my experience, it was a little lacking compared to a particular run which is held at April 28 and may have something to do with rocky mountains (hint: it’s Steenbergen).