Read about Byron's visit to the Erasmus Dance Society

EDS has a lot of girls

Sports reporter Byron Dolon tried to move and groove to Beyoncé at the Erasmus Dance…

At various distances behind, in front of me and alongside me were members of the Erasmus University Rotterdam Roadrunners club. This Wednesday evening, there were 25 people at the training, so I wondered how everyone would run as a group despite the differences in pace.

For the first four minutes, I concentrated mostly on falling into a comfortable rhythm of running, occasionally brushing off a mix of sweat and rain from my eyes. I was jolted out of my reverie by a piercing whistle, which I took to indicate a time for one minute of walking. Those running ahead walked back to the main group, so when the minute of walking ended, everyone began running at the same place again.

When the whistle blew for the sixth and final time, I slowed to a walk in relief and tried to massage the still stinging pain in my side. Taking deep breaths, I smiled at my running companions and made a mental note never to forget to drink water before sports again.

Weekly runs

Image credit: Joshua Kruter

The Roadrunners train twice a week, on Mondays and Wednesdays. Locations may vary, with Monday training usually taking place near the Kralingse Bos at the running association PAC, and Wednesday trainings beginning at Erasmus Sport. Training may focus on building stamina like the one I went to, developing running technique or preparing specifically for upcoming races. The club follows a training schedule posted at the beginning of each quarter, building up towards some end-of-quarter competition.

Thirty people on average are present at the training sessions, with a group of around fifteen committed club runners who show up every week. Running is often considered an individual activity, but part of the appeal of the club is being able to run with a regular group of people.

From hobbyists to marathoners

Image credit: Joshua Kruter

A couple of years ago, the club only had thirty members. That number has since grown to around ninety people who are members of the Roadrunners. The club is home to students of different bachelor and master programmes, with Dutch and international members alike. There’s always an influx of new students at the beginning of the year, and the open training sessions in September can get particularly crowded. In January and February too, there are additions to the club in the form of exchange students, as well as those who made New Year’s resolutions to get in shape.

Regardless of skill level, there’s always a place for you at the club. Some members join just because they enjoy running, while others join to compete seriously in different races. Members are also competitive at a variety of race distances, ranging from five kilometre competitions to marathons. Around July every year, there’s a marathon type event in which teams of seven can participate and which draws a lot of members of all skill levels from the club for a final race to end the year.

The student factor

The board put more focus on the social side of the club this year, organising more social events and creating opportunities for members to bond. Members of the group who attend training sessions consistently are often the ones who regularly participate in socials. Going out for drinks together has become a new tradition this year.

There’s also a yearly trip abroad in February that members can join. For the last couple years, the club has gone to London. 2018 marked the first year that the Roadrunners went to Berlin. As a running club, of course the trip had to include a race of some sort, but much of the time was also spent exploring the city, spending time with each other and enjoying good food and drink.

‘Beerchases’. I promised not to reveal all the club’s secrets, but I’ll just say this: if you like drinking and running, or if you just like drinking, this is a fun thing that the club likes to do, so come and join to experience it for yourself. Regardless of your experience level or the time of year, people are always welcome to come to a training session and try out being a part of the club. Running with a team can be a lot more exciting than running alone, so being a part of Roadrunners is definitely more exciting than that hour you’d spend jogging alone on the treadmill.