On the 27th of March, the Run4Usher team joined almost 12.000 other runners at the start of the Zandvoort Circuit Run. This beautiful spring day set the scene for one of the first major running events of the year. The Ushers Syndrome Foundation was chosen by Rotary Zandvoort as the official charity for this edition of the Zandvoort Circuit Run. Not only adults appeared at the start; for the young participants there was also a special Kids Run. The large team of Run4Usher broke all records on this wonderful day and collected the fantastic amount of € 85.427,- !
From Pole Position, the 185 participants of Run4Usher started the 13th edition of this spectacular running event. The program consisted of various courses: the 10 English Mile (16.1 km), 12 km and 4 km (One Lap) and for the youngest participants there was the special Kids Circuit Run and the Wheelers and Racerunner Race. Also Carol Brill and Debs Heffernan from Usher Syndrome Ireland had been specially flown in for a one-lap track over the circuit.
In the special tent of Run4Usher at the Paddock there was the opportunity to meet each other and share the solidarity. After the Kids Circuit Run, the young participants were treated to various activities led by a large group of volunteers, there was candy floss, face painting and costumes as well as go-kart races at the Paddock.
The rapper Rijsterbij (Martijn Rijsenbrij) gave a benefit concert, selling his CDs and donating the proceeds to Stichting Ushersyndroom. Martijn Rijsenbrij sings Dutch hip-hop with solid beats. “It’s getting dark, all the lights are going out, but I’m not going to wait for the day it gets dark, to that thought I say thunder”. Martijn has the eye disease Retinitis Pigmentosa, just like all people with Usher syndrome.
All records broken
The participation and presence of the Run4Usher team did not go unnoticed and generated a lot of attention for Ushersyndrome during the event and in the media.
The proceeds for the Ushersyndrome Foundation are a record: the runners and their supporters, the volunteers who collected at the event and the additional proceeds from LeChampion and Rotary Zandvoort together raised € 85.327,- !
A long haul
For the project group, the organisation has also been a challenging time. The team that organised this edition of Run4Usher consisted of ‘Ushers’ Machteld Cossee and Carin de Bruin and ‘Usher parents’ Daan Wijsbek, Esmé Ter Stege and Liesbeth Kenters. Machteld: “I remember that in mid 2019 the first contact was made with the Rotary Club and Le Champion. We were going to watch and gain experience at Stichting Hartekind, which had been chosen as the Charity for that year, but unfortunately the pandemic threw a spanner in the works.”
Despite this, the project group continued to make plans and recorded a promo with John Williams, a Dutch celebrity. Because you never know!
Unfortunately, the 2021 edition of the Zandvoort Circuit Run was also cancelled due to corona.
Until the end of 2021, event organisation Le Champion cautiously gave the go-ahead.
“We had to switch gears for a moment and suddenly we were back in business. It took a lot of Zoom meetings and group apps to get everything right,” say parents Daan and Esmé. “Various interviews, sending out newsletters and having to arrange all the practical matters at the last minute, it was simply top-class sport! according to Carin. The ever-calm Liesbeth thinks it has been a matter of long breath. “We did it, and we did it well”. Fortunately, the project group was able to count on the support and assistance of a huge group of volunteers for the practical help.
Thanks to sponsorships from runners, the sale of merchandise and volunteers who collected during the event, they managed to raise a staggering € 65.427,- !
On 11 April last, the members of the project group received a cheque from the Rotary Zandvoort and event organisation Le Champion.
This brings the total record revenue of € 85.327,- !
Thanks to the financial support of “Stichting ter verbetering van het lot der Blinden” for the incurred expenses, the entire proceeds of Run4Usher Zandvoort Circuit Run can benefit scientific research into and treatment of Usher, in order to stop the process of becoming deaf and blind. In this way, the dot on the horizon for people with Usher syndrome is coming ever closer.
Here you can see all the photos of the Run4Usher edition Zandvoort Circuit. With many thanks to photographer Sanne ter Horst.
Would you like to be part of the Run4Usher team? Or would you like to help organize the next Run4Usher edition during the Seven Hills Run (19 and 20 November) in Nijmegen? Then please contact us via the mail firstname.lastname@example.org