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Frisian alternative 205K Eleven Cities experience draws 800

‘Triple Cross’ goal for walkers

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

LEEUWARDEN - The famed Eleven Cities Skating Marathon - the most recent one was held in 1997 - has other competitive and leisure versions as well. The Eleven Cities experience also can be had by bicycle and a five-day walk as well as by a number of marathons in which participants use various means of transportation, including canoes, skateboards and skeelers.

Recently, the Eleven Cities Walk was held, one of the older alternatives, this being the 58th edition.

Some 800 people set out from Friesland’s capital city Leeuwarden. In five days, the participants covered the 205 kilometres, a distance common to all Elfsteden events. Overnight accommodation could be pre-arranged on one of the tour boats at anchor at fixed stops. The route passed through all eleven cities in the province: Sneek, IJlst, Sloten, Stavoren, Hinde-loopen, Workum, Bolsward, Harlingen, Franeker, Dokkum, starting and finishing in Leeuwarden.

Getting the coveted ‘brevet’ is the goal of those walkers who earlier completed the skating marathon as well as the bike tour. Some of those now decorated with the Triple Cross, included ‘newcomer’ Johannes Ureterp, a 72-year old enthusiast who completed his first walk, and Jan Posseth (62), who biked the tour 29 times, skated three marathons and this year completed his sixth walk.

No entry cap

Organizers, who provided participants with all the usual amenities, special needs and medical care for such events (which includes the famed Four Day Walk of Nijmegen), try to keep the Frisian tour manageable, without capping entry. Nijmegen limits the number of participants.

By keeping the Eleven Cities Walk a simple and uncrowded event, walkers can better enjoy the scenery of the often expansive and flat, but still widely varied landscape and cityscape in the province. Organizers also offered a ‘sample’: a one-day walk from Leeu-warden to Sloten, the first-day stretch for marathon walkers. A medal was made available to the ‘samplers’ as well. The ultimate goal however is to entice them to go for the full event medal, while the most dedicated participants eventually receive the Triple Cross.