Stefan van der Pal is sick, but starts his third Elfstedentocht in good spirits: ‘We’re going for it’

Just before half past six, ultra-athlete Stefan van der Pal started the Elfstedentocht on Sunday morning. He is not completely fit, but he thinks that makes sense.

,,Thanks for the reminder.” Van der Pal is still quite ad-rem, when it is presented to him that he has the distance of about five marathons ahead of him.

Fifteen minutes later than planned, Van der Pal gets out of the Westcord hotel in Leeuwarden on Sunday morning. ,,I can’t move forward, I’m really nauseous. We’re going to see how we can get that off. I just had some Coke. You don’t often drink that in the morning, but it’s no different. We’re going for it.”

Not top fit

He is not in top shape and that is quite logical, after five days of almost continuous swimming and then cycling another 200 kilometers. The hellish journey is hard on him. ,,If you expect to be one hundred percent, you are not doing well in preparation. You have to take very nasty things into account.”

The temperature is not great yet, the 41-year-old Leeuwarder speaks to the press with goosebumps. ,,It could be a bit warmer, I don’t like the cold that much. Tuesday it will be 32 degrees and that is too much of a good thing, but today it will be 23 degrees and that is good.”

It is the intention that Van der Pal continues continuously and that the next night sleeps little or no. A counseling team and doctors continuously monitor his mental and physical health. The agreement is that wife Marianne Faber will take the plunge if it really doesn’t work anymore. She doesn’t expect to have to do that.

Van der Pal hopes to maintain around ten kilometers per hour. The finish is expected sometime on Monday.

You can follow Van der Pal’s journey here.

Semmy . Foundation

With the trips, the Leeuwarder wants to raise money for the Semmy Foundation, which aims to increase the life expectancy and survival chances of children with brain stem cancer. More than 30,000 euros has been raised so far.


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