The First Edition of the Bijlmer Run
Written by Mariana Ferro | Photography by Andrea Amponsah
After long months of heavy preparation, the first edition of the Bijlmer Run took place in Amsterdam-Zuidoost as an initiative to promote team and community spirit. Friends and family gathered on Saturday, July 2nd, to cheer and motivate, bridging all age gaps in this festive occasion. The inclusiveness of the Bijlmer Run was evident, with amateur, competitive, and recreational runners all striving to cross the finish line at their own pace. Three events were held, ranging from the team run, which consisted of a relay of four participants completing a half marathon, to the children's run of one kilometre and the half marathon. The runners were encouraged to follow the beautiful roots of Amsterdam-Zuidoost. crossing the Nelson Mandela park and exploring the rest of Bijlmer's uniqueness, beginning at the memorable square Anton de Komplein.
At the finish line, each runner received a special medal with meaning that extended beyond their individual performance. Runners proudly wore a round colourful medal with a carving of the legendary Anton De Kom (1898-1945). The medal, designed by Amsterdam-based artist Hedy Tjin, honours De Kom's efforts as a notable Surinamese resistance fighter and anti-colonialist author. Celebrating memorable activists' efforts remains essential to increasing education on the Dutch colonial past as well as the black history of slavery and oppression. As runners wear this figure around their necks, awareness of the ongoing black liberation movement is raised.
As the day was filled with performances, entertainment, and food trucks, animation and encouragement were at the heart of this event. The crowd's cheerfulness followed the runners all the way. This wave of enthusiasm and support benefited everyone, from Patta's running team to casual runners and even some national and international top runners. Smiles and miles are markers of this enthusiasm and dedication, as everyone who participated contributed to making the first edition of the Bijlmer Run a benchmark for the years to come.