On Sunday 28th of June at 6:24 a.m. I set off from Schaerbeek station to run the Promenade Verte in anti-clockwise direction. I wasn’t sure how my legs would react after a week with fairly little sleep due to the hot weather conditions, but almost immediately I found a good rythm that seemed comfortable and was under record pace. After crossing the Parc de Laeken, I had no other option to run along the Jardin Colonial as it was closed at this early hour (both along and through the park are marked for the route, the latter is obviously nicer).
After crossing the Avenue Emile Bockstael I had my first (of a dozen) small route finding hiccups after a multi-legged crossing (and also one of the many I should have known…), but I guess it didn’t slow me too much. Weather conditions seemed perfect and the legs felt great while crossing Parc Roi Baudouin, but with yet another small (but again rather stupid) route finding hiccup after crossing the N290. As I approach the railroad I was already thinking I should have bad luck being held up by a passing train, but unfortunately I did happen. The waiting lasted shorter than I had feared though and I launched myself quickly after this brief stop.
By the time I was at Parc du Scheutbos I took out my phone to record a short Facebook-live video to announce this attempt. A light head wind breeze provided just the perfect cooling, I was rolling and in really good spirits. I had divided the route into 8 parts of which I had just completed 1/4 and already had a good 4 minute advantage on the record I was chasing (provide the route was 60 km long).
Around 20 km in the first niggles started to appear, as I started to feel my glutes. Running along the “meditation path” turned an instant smile on my face, which helped me fly along the Vogelzangbeek brook. Next up were some rather boring kilometers, mostly along paved road, along the canal and crossing Forest Midi station. Things started getting interesting again passing through the forested stretches of Kinsendal, Engeland and Verrewinkel, combined with some elevation gain this slowed my pace significantly, only to pick up again after I passed the highest point of the route in the Forêt de Soignes. By then my quads were acting up too, which didn’t help during the climbs.
Hitting the Ravel after 45 km, I knew the record was within reach if I could maintain a pace of 5 min/km or less. Passing through Woluwe, I was surprised the route didn’t run along the Schuman park, but I guess that must be a road variation as Roel Bruylandt & Filip Florizoone also ran along the road on this section. Entering Evere I was on well known terrain again, but also slowly started to realize that the route would (at least according to my watch) be significantly shorter than 60 km. Nevertheless I didn’t find the energy to power uphill in the last short climb along Parc Walkeniers, but managed a good final kilometer before reaching Schaerbeek station. I stoped my watch at 4:22:24 and the Strava-app a few seconds later at 4:22:31 (having recorded respectively 57.17 and 58.55 km).