In February, BSL received an invite from NN to take part in a charity Business Run as part of the Rotterdam Marathon on 7 April. Participants could sign up for a 10K (1/4 marathon), aiming to raise money for a good cause along the way – the Linda Foundation. This charity helps make life a little brighter for less fortunate children in the Netherlands. And because we’re not called the Bright Side of Life for nothing, BSL wanted to help them to reach their target of €100,000. We sponsored two of our colleagues to take up the challenge!

BSL gears up for the NN Rotterdam Marathon

BSL is always up for a challenge, and for helping others. So finding support within the company was easy. Eric (an experienced runner) and Gabriella (an enthusiastic hobby runner) were quick to sign up for the 10K Hart Loop Challenge. The rest of the team played their part too, providing plenty of encouragement, sympathy for aching muscles, and of course donations as well. 

More support came from the organizers, NN Business partners. They arranged for a personal online coach to guide Eric and Gabriella during their preparations. None other than Dutch middle and long distance runner Susan Krumins. A silver medal winner at the 2018 European Championships, 10.000 meters in Berlin, Susan was also the ambassador of the Linda Foundation. And the Linda Foundation’s goal was to collect €100,000 in sponsorship from business participants. They plan to use this money to help children in the Netherlands who live in families struggling to cope financially.

NN Rotterdam Marathon, 7 April 2019

The day of the run finally arrived. A beautiful Sun(ny)day, unusual for early April in the Netherlands.  Bright and early, our runners made their way to the “runners home” in Rotterdam. Here they met other NN business partners teams participating in the 10K Hart Loop Challenge. We’ll let Gabriella carry on the story:

On arrival, a valet showed us where to park in the huge parking lot made available for the runners. I could feel the excitement in the air. Groups of colleagues and acquaintances were mingling in the hallway, all talking about the day’s event.  After a security guard had checked our passes, Eric and I went up a long escalator to the “runners home” on the first floor. This huge area was crowded with people changing clothes,  chatting, and drinking coffee. And the coffee was definitely welcome. It wasn’t yet 8 a.m, and at 8:15 we were due to start the warm up with Susan.

Point of no return

At 8:45, we began the 15 minutes walk to the start of the race. The roads were closed for car traffic, and the sidewalks were flooded with runners and their supporters. At this point, faces around us started looking more anxious. This was it! Marathon organizers divided us into four starting groups, each separated with a small  time difference. These groups were defined by the time participants would take to complete the 10 km run. Eric started in group 1, I was running in group 3.

Eric’s group left first. And all too soon it was my turn.  Because once over the start line, I knew there was no way back. The route was well-marked, and the runners soon became an indistinguishable mass of bouncing neon green, pink and bright yellow colour. But what an atmosphere to help us along! Cheering crowds lined the route, children’s tiny hands reached out for high-fives. Loud music piped out from logo-emblazoned tents  erected by local businesses. And drummers and theatrical groups had set up alongside signs marking the number of kilometers.

The finish line

Finally, the finish line was in sight. And although it had been fun, I must admit…. I was glad it was over! After  crossing the finish line, we received a commemorative medal, much needed water, and handfuls of fruit. From here, it was just a short walk away from the crowds back to the “runners home”. Time to rest, meet up with Eric, and feel proud of our achievements. Both on a personal level, and for a good cause.

And later that morning, NN business partners officially presented the Linda Foundation with the generous donations collected by all the teams who took part in the Hart Loop Challenge. With a collective sense of accomplishment, participants gathered around Susan for photos and exchanged their experiences of the day.

The focus shifted to TV screens at midday, when we watched Marius Kipserim win the Rotterdam Marathon. He established a new course record with a race time of 2.04.11, 16 seconds faster than the Kenyan Duncan Kibet 10 years ago. We rounded off the day with more coffee and some tasty sandwiches before heading home – tired, but satisfied.

Watching over us

While we were running, our colleagues were able to follow our progress via a smart NN Marathon App. They could pick who they wanted to follow, as well as get race updates. I was really pleased to receive congratulations from a colleague soon after crossing the finish line. It was great to know that I hadn’t been running alone.

Watch some of the highlights of our 10K run:


The morning after

On Monday morning, our runners were back at BSL with their “NN Rotterdam Marathon 2019” medals and stories to tell. For BSL, events like this are great way of building an even stronger company team.  Eric and Gabriella are now fully recovered from the 10K, feeling good about their achievement. Back at their desks, they are once again working on great projects for our clients.

Would you like to work with an energetic and enthusiastic partner? Then contact BSL to discuss your next IT project!

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