Ice Skating... Has always been a fun sport during winter, especially if you live near a lake that freezes up solid. Because then you can take the kids out to play, you can make a date with the wonderful love in your life and have a chance to bond once more. Or if you leave in a small town, then everybody can come out and get reacquainted, by coming out to ice skate and catch-up. And along with this great fun that you can have, I must tell you that there small towns and even big cities that have turned this winter enjoyment into a very fierce and challenging Sports. So today I intend to share with you one such town, along with one great man who did something that only a Superman would do:
Allow Me To Introduce To You: Mr. Jeen Van Den Berg.
In the small town of, Friesland, Dutch back on February 3, 1954. Mr. Van Den Berg attended the annual Eleven Towns Course Ice skating race, better known as the Elfstedentocht. This annual event was a 124 miles event that included all the local 11 towns, where you would have to skate along all the rivers, the canals and the lakes which all were somehow connected. And I must tell you that for the great people of Friesland, this was Thee event of the year. Because everything got shut down like the local stores, the city government, and even the military personnel who wanted to participate were given time off along with free transportation. Also anyone and every one got in on the action, and if you are from a small town then you know how it goes, whenever you have an annual picnic or the local fair.
So on that faithful day of February 3, Mr. Jeen Van Den Berg, who was a school teacher from the adjacent local small town of Nijbeets, joined in on the race. And the 26 year old, feeling his prowess on that day, took off like a Gazelle and just skated along with the wind. In fact becoming the wind, because he was gliding along that ice so fast that no one or nothing could have stopped him. Because he completed that great ice skating race in under 7 hours & 35 minutes. And as a matter of fact, Mr. Van Den Berg beat the previous record by a full hour and placing his name into the record books, and then into fame and immortality. And that is skating on an average of 17 miles per hour non-stop, with the freezing air inside your lungs, when most people can barely walk 5 miles under one hour.
So this is how a great hero came along, and now gave us something wonderful to talk about. And if you have ever went ice skating, then you would already know just how difficult it is to be pushing through that ice after even one hour. While it is fun to ice skate for 30 minutes or so, and just gliding along with your loved ones, it is quite another for you to be exercising at a grueling pace trying to beat a record using mostly your legs. And you can imagine the burns in the thighs, the strain on the ankles that have to be balanced on those thin skates. And then add to that, you are skating for over 7 hours and you are pushing those muscles to the max non-stop. And if you ever went to the local gym for a work-out, you are aware how tired you can get after pushing your body for just 45 minutes. And so take time to appreciate Mr. Jeen Van Den Berg for his Superhuman efforts ice skating, on February 3, 1954. James Dazouloute