Koen Lecker has been running since 1984, when he returned from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and found himself overweight. He realized that he needed a long-term goal, and decided that he would like to be able to run a marathon. After two years, he returned to Saudi Arabia and joined the Jeddah Road Runners Club. He then returned, once again, to his home country the Netherlands, where he lives, though he now runs marathons all over the world. Koen makes his home in Delft, a small but very nice town near Rotterdam.
Currently Koen mixes running with cycling, and usually averages one mile of running for every three miles on the bicycle. He totals about 2000 kilometers a year for running. During the week he usually runs three or four times, and averages about 11 kilometers a run, with the exception of organized races that range from 8 kilometers to 42 kilometers.
Koen prefers to run alone, varying his workout course, and "changes as much as possible. It is boring enough!". Though he does not eat anything special before a regular run, he does eat pasta before the very long runs.
In Delft, Koen says that they do not have any hills, but to compensate for it they do have too much wind and rain to fight. To train for "hills" he runs up and down bridges for hours, and says that even though "it is not very interesting, I must admit, it works as I found out on Heartbreak Hill near Boston in April". Due to the weather conditions in Holland he says that runners have to accept running in all types of weather. His favorite is overcast around 16 degrees Celsius.
He usually wears shoes, socks, leggings or shorts, a T-shirt, and a hat. He makes his choice from the 10 pair of running shoes that he owns, though he only uses three pair on a regular basis. He does not use any running accessories except a watch and reflective clothes and a red light during the dark runs. Koen does not listen to music regularly, except during the night runs of 20 miles or longer, when he will listen to the radio, or a tape of the Eagles.
Though he does like to read up on shoes, Koen does not read running magazines anymore because he feels that they "have too much of the same information".
Running is fully accepted and popular in the Netherlands, and he advises to run on the left side of the road, and be aware of sleepy cyclists. When asked if there are any taboos (such as running shirtless) regarding running in his country, he responded, "No, not for men anyway. This is the Netherlands. We do not have any taboos left. Almost".
Koen runs in organized races, which typically are either 5 kilometers or 10 kilometers. Normal races cost about U.S. $ 4 and you are usually awarded with a medal, but no T-shirt. The refreshment points usually offer runners the standard refreshments, like they do in Western Europe and the United States.
At the 1997 "Boston Marathon" Koen completed his fastest time of 3:26.37 and was the sixteenth in his age group of sixty or older. He ran the "Boston Marathon" again in 2000, and has also participated in marathons in Riyadh, Jeddah, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Brussels and New York City.
When asked the question "In your whole life where and when was your favorite run?" Koen replied, "In Belgium, in 1989. I ran, after a whole day of study, from my hotel near the airport. It was hilly, the sun was still shining and the temperature was just right. All around me there were fields with golden wheat. Here and there you could see the church steeples. There was no sound except a single skylark. I stopped on top of a hill and had to call out a kind of primitive call. I felt the happiest man in the world".
Koen ends this Planeteer Spotlight with a "Hello to all my running friends from the Jeddah Road Runners".
Run The Planet would like to thank Koen Lecker from the Netherlands for taking part in the Planeteer Spotlight.