In today's show Ken interviews Klaas-Jan Koopman about the Elfstedentocht a particularly Dutch phenomenon. He gives us some background to the tour and tells the story of his Father who has a permit to participate should it go ahead.
This interview was recorded yesterday and since then the organisation committee have said that the tour will not be going ahead this weekend as the ice is not thick enough. We can all wait and see together if it happens or not.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Elfstedentocht (or, in West Frisian, Alvestêdetocht, sometimes in English : Eleven Cities Tour), at almost 200 km, is the world's largest speed skating competition and leisure skating tour, and is held in the province of Friesland, Netherlands only when the ice along the entire course is 15 cm thick.
The tour, almost 200 km in length, is conducted on frozen canals, rivers and lakes between the eleven historic Frisian cities: Leeuwarden, Sneek, IJlst, Sloten, Stavoren, Hindeloopen, Workum, Bolsward, Harlingen, Franeker, Dokkum then returning to Leeuwarden. The tour is not held every year, mostly because not every Dutch winter permits skating on natural ice. The last editions were in 1985, 1986 and 1997. Adding to that, the tour currently features about 15,000 amateur skaters taking part, putting high requirements on the quality of the ice. There is a stated regulatory requirement for the race to take place that the ice must be (and remain at) a minimum thickness of 15 centimetres along the entirety of the course. All skaters must be a member of the Association of the Eleven Frisian Cities. A starting permit is required. Further more, in each city the skater must collect a stamp, as well as a stamp from the three secret check points. The skater must finish before midnight.