The Olympic Running Team has won the Acerta Brussels Ekiden. At the King Baudouin Stadium Isaac Kimeli?s team ran the fastest marathon relay ever on Belgian soil, just shy of the Belgian record.
With a record turnout of 1,690 teams and 10,140 runners the race has affirmed its status as the world's biggest marathon relay. 1,300 of those teams were registered by companies, making it the biggest sporting event for companies in the region.
On a sunny autumn day the teams, consisting of six members, had to cover 5, 10, 5, 10, 5 and 7.195 kilometres in and around the stadium. Borlee brothers Jonathan and Dylan took part, supporting SOS Children's Villages with their run.
OLYMPIC RUNNING TEAM ON THE PACE
Yannick Michiels (Runners Lab) and Jonathan Wayaffe (AC Lyra) took a great start and were the first to re-appear in the King Baudouin Stadium to hand over their tasuki, the traditional Japanese cloth used for the relay, to the next team member in line. Lead by Isaac Kimeli the Olympic Running Team quickly took over the lead. The Belgian-Kenyan and his teammates dominated the race, with final runner Thomas De Bock crossing the finish line after 2:07:35. That time was 38 seconds shy of the Belgian record run in 2005. Saucony came home in second place, some three minutes behind the winners.
"I didn't know we were running for a Belgian record," said De Bock. "I backed off at the end because our lead was big enough. Otherwise a new record would have been possible. It's a shame, but we'll definitely come back next year to try again."
KRC Gent, featuring Bashir Abdi, clinched the Belgian Interclub title after beating Excelsior right at the end. Running Center Leuven Dreamteam was the fastest mixed team, while the women's race went to Yellow Armada.
1300 COMPANIES RUN ALONG
The Acerta Brussels Ekiden has proven once again that a running event can be an ideal team building activity. A total of 1,300 company teams took part, a record in the Benelux. The first place went to Runners Lab (2:19:23).
The race supported SOS Children's Villages to support the charity's project in Kinshasa, DR Congo. Runners were encouraged the throw coins into the giant urns alongside the course. Ahead of the Ekiden Kevin Borlee handed over a cheque of 7,000 euro, with plenty more collected on the day.
Outside the stadium all participants got the opportunity to relax all those sore muscles at the afterparty with cover band Cookies & Cream. A fitting end to a great day of sports in Brussels.