FKT: Koen Galle - Promenade Verte, Bruxelles (Belgium) - 2023-05-14

Route variation
Standard route
Gender category
Start date
Finish date
Total time
4h 13m 11s

I made some videos while running to document, uploaded to an unlisted playlist on Youtube here:


Had been hiking this beautiful and surprising course around Brussels already twice and wanted to take advantage of all my training for the Rotterdam marathon four weeks ago, so I decided to try to run it this time. At 7 am 45 my girlfriend drove me to the starting point at the Schaarbeek train station 2 kilometers from our house and about 20 minutes later I ran off. I wanted to try to run it solo (unsupported), very curious as this was for my first ever ultra. I have done six marathons so far and always noticed that the longer the distance, the better my bodies feels, so going ultra is a dream that has been building for quite a while. I was excited, but decided not to stress about the actual experience. I had checked the previous FKT for this course and based on my latest marathon results I was kinda sure I could beat it, but one must never be overly self-confident. So I was also going to be happy if I failed, the whole adventure was just a cherry on the cake after a long marathon season and before some well deserved rest.

I had prepared a backpack with 2 liters of water and 14 gels (6D, belgian brand) of each 30 gr of carbs including a few of their caffeine infused gels. My phone and some money and a bank card also went in the bag. 

The first 20 km went pretty easy, passing among others the mighty Atomium, the beautiful parcs in Jette or the Neerpede ponds close to the training facilities of my favorite football team Anderlecht. I was mostly lucky with traffic lights or rail track passages, somehow feeling helped from above :)

After about 25 km I started to feel some annoying pain in both my heels which worried me a bit. The pain was probably caused by the terrain, which is most prominently concrete. Well, it's still a city run, after all. On soft grounds in parcs and forests, running always felt better. But I also must admit that I had only done about 40 km of training with my (new) trail shoes prior to this attempt. I had purchased the Catamount trail shoe of Brooks, which is the same as my Brooks Hyperion Tempo training shoes but with an enforced plate for tougher terrain. They are amazing: super light, fast but still comfortable on rocky soil. But my system definitely had to get used to the new material.

At the halfway point around the Forest South train station I decided to stop for a moment to loosen the tie of my right shoe. This helped! The heel pain also slowly faded away during the rest of the run. Or more accurately, it was joined by a few other pains :)

After the more industrial and thus boring parts of the course, the scenery started to be nicer again. A hilly and technical trail and quite some climbing did eat a lot of my energy, but the landscape was pretty. From the beautiful houses in some Uccle residential areas, I ran into the Sonian Forest, which is a setting where I have trained a billion times before. Many other people were on their Sunday morning jog, the temperature was about 16 degrees with most of the time clouds blocking the sun (thank you). In the Seny Parc just a stone's throw away from Hermann-Debroux I reached the marathon distance after 3h04minutes. For the first time, I started to believe in finishing the whole course. Before I was just trying to focus on the now. But I realized I needed to believe in a finish as well, to be able to go the extra mile.

Reaching neighborhoods not for from home, gave me another boost. Calling my girlfriend (twice) to give her an update on my ETA as well. I was now digging very deep, while trying to stay focused and continue to drink and fuel. I had no issues at all with my stomach during the whole thing, feeling blessed.

Slowly but surely I reached the final kilometers. There was a nasty steep hill at one kilometer before the end, but afterwards it was all downhill so I started to become emotional. When I reached the point where I started about four hours earlier, I saw my girlfriend arriving on her bike at the exact same moment. A lovely moment I won't easily forget. She drove me home in our cargo bike. My legs folded in two for 10 minutes while endorfines racing through my body, was quite the feeling!

I had some of my water and a few gels left. I didn't resupply and was all alone during the full course.