Pleasant: ultra-runner and Hertog Jan enthusiast Marcel

So there I am again. The previous passers may recognize me from my blogs, while the new virgin arrivals probably have no clue who I am. I am Mars, 56 years old and I live on Goeree Overflakkee. Passionate runner and lost my heart to the trail. This was also the reason for deciding in December of last year to take a drinking break.

I explain myself further; After running dozens of marathons all over the world, I was ready for something new. Running my first 'ultra' (anything beyond a marathon) changed my experience. This was cool, and something completely different from always running 42.195 km. This was limitless, this was exciting, this was special and I came to the most beautiful places, spending hours on end in nature.

Last year I ran my first 80km and that was tough. Completely crushed, I crossed the finish line after more than 9 hours. But the monster was loose. In July I went to the mountains for the first time and after a 20 hour hell ride that changed my life I knew for sure: I will never do this again. So in October I ran my first 100, and just after that signed up for my biggest challenge yet; the UTVV in Slovenia that will take place next May. A 165 km run through the mountains, which I hope to complete within 40 hours. (… for those interested.)

Besides walking I had another hobby; the dehelming of bottles of Hertog Jan where I hid behind the many training kilometers. I could do with a beer, because I walked out again. However? And it was, until I started counting how many noble men took their hats off for me every week. By Thursday I was already heavily in double digits. The I-Pass campaign on Facebook gave me the final push. When I was also chosen to write a weekly blog, I was definitively De Sjaak; I couldn't go back. The rest is now history.

With the necessary skepticism, I started my Me-Pas challenge on 1 January. Especially the beginning was hard for me, I didn't see the benefits, in fact, my body protested. Still, I persisted, because for me starting also means finishing and I even put my principles aside when I tasted my first zero point zero. It wasn't an orgasmic experience, but it wasn't as bad as I expected. Towards the end of the 30-day period I started to notice that my body was responding; I slept more peacefully, became fitter and actually lost some etxra grams. My heavy interval workouts were smoother and I felt fresher. In the last week I even thought it was kind of a shame to stop; In the end I let the alcohol stand for 34 days and drank my first Leeuw beer on Sunday 4 February, after a wonderful ultra-trail through Limburg. It was a joy!

The following Tuesday I had dinner and I was allowed to go out again. They also had Hertog Jan on tap! I was in paradise! After a few beers I noticed that they were starting to annoy me, and that night I slept restlessly again. The next morning I was sorry; why did this have to happen again? It had gone just as well. It felt like betrayal; to myself, but also to the people who sent me sweet messages as a result of my writings. They found support in my blogs, recognized what I wrote and partly because of that they persevered. A nice compliment! At that moment I decided to stick to it for a period and approached my IkPas contact person with the comment that I was available again. You can see the result here.

My plan this time is to stay alcohol-free from the end of February until the finish of the UTVV; a period of more than 2.5 months. I hope to be able to take you on the first 40 days of this challenge anyway, but I also express the hope that we can do this together, just like last time. I now know the pitfalls, the temptations and the difficult moments, but now I also know that they can all be avoided. Because the prizes are only distributed at the finish. Because afterwards you are indeed fitter, healthier and more aware and who wouldn't want that.

But also tell me how it is going for you, because I am very curious about that and in addition, a little interaction keeps it challenging for me too. You will find a copy of all blogs on my personal page so respond there, or do so via

I look forward!

Good luck in the fight!


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