Come along when we meet one of the runners from the TRANSITIONS campaign - Hesdy Lonwijk from Patta Running Rotterdam.
- Hesdy Lonwijk
- Running Coach at Patta Running Rotterdam
- Amsterdam - The Netherlands
- IG handle @hes_diesel
When did you start calling yourself a runner?
"Good question indeed because for the longest time I didn't want to consider myself as a runner. But that was the old me who tought running was all about speed, about being able to run the magical sub 1:30 on a half marathon, about being with the right crew and dressing the part. Now that I've gained a very personal relationship with running I've discovered it has more to do with me loving myself and thus taking care of mind and body. Running has become an inseparably part of my life and as such: I feel like I've earned the title of "runner."
How does running affect your life?
"I would say that’s a two-way street. It’s not just how running affects my life but also how my life affects my running. First off I’ve noticed that it definitely calms my mind to be out there and just put in miles. Funny enough the importance of being able to run always get’s stressed most whenever I’m injured and can’t run. I start noticing sort of an imbalance inside of me. I wouldn’t call it an addiction per se but I definitely feel the need to be physically out there to calm the things down mentally. As for as life impinging on my running I recently got a lesson in this when I was in preparation for the Rotterdam marathon 2019. Physically I would say I was very much on schedule and doing very well. But I was amidst a very stressful project at work and this ended up taking its toll on me: I cramped up halfway through. I knew something was coming though because at the start I felt my mind wasn’t ready to race. I hadn’t dealt with the stress accordingly."
What does the phrase "running culture" mean to you?
"To me it has everything to do with community, with people and interpersonal relationships. And if I may add: it has nothing to do with brands or/and Pb’s. Unless PB is translated to ‘being the best person’ you can be in relation to others. So it implies as I said before working on your self-worth and there are numerous ways to do so outside of running. I would describe running culture as the space – as this can be virtually too – where people come together and share or/and create ideas, feelings, visions and channel whatever they are about through running."
New running communities are popping around the world these years, why do you think this is happening?
"In order to understand why so many running communities are popping up I would need to examine how I started. I hated running in the beginning, well anything past 5 kilometres that is. I still do some times (hahaha). What like about this community (Bridge The Gap) I joined is that I don’t have to run alone anymore. Running by yourself – and this is just my personal opinion – can get very lonesome and if you’re not on a trail, outright boring. Yet, running solo has its merits (mental strength/mindful) and I still purposely choose to go out by myself. But I am a social being and running together with others and hearing the stories they go through just living this life is something priceless. Obviously I can ignore this trend of living a #lifestyle with hashtags for being a fit-whatever and brands feeding into this but that’s not pushes me forward. I just really, really love being around people and their stories. And running provides me with an almost unlimited access to all of that. I’d say the majority of people joining a community do so for similar reasons."
Do you have any specific core values for your PATTA crew?
"When I started coaching the Rotterdam branch of the Patta Running Team, there were several core values that I wanted to instil within the new crew. I was basically free to set up the training as I saw fit but little things like our (‘marine corps’) rule of leave no man behind which means we always double back to pick up the slowest runner on long runs or doing double time on hills… those were non-negotiable because that made it Patta. But starting a crew under the banner of such a world-renowned brand you have to be careful you don’t attract people that are just in it for hashtags and branding. As Mike Saes (Bridgerunners NY/co-founder Bridge the Gap) says: we are not serious runners but we do take running seriously. So I make sure there’s plenty of room for fun outside of training. Or we go out of our comfort zone by engaging in trail running. Recently we’ve even jumped on the (racing-) bikes because yeah… why not?! But when it’s time for training: the schedules are serious and gruelling at times as is what is expected from each runner when it comes down to after-care: stretch sessions, yoga, home exercises are almost a daily regime. Because… why not. Either you do all of it – parties included – seriously well right? That’s the Patta way."
A transition can be defined as a training program, where your mileage and speed are build to peak at race day. Have you experienced such a transitions or do you prefer to run with the flow?
"With the start of each new season we decide together which races we are going to enter next to the suggestions for the yearly special events. That last one is mostly concocted by Edson (Sabajo – co-founder Patta). When you know what’s coming, you need to put in the work and transitions are just part of the game. From building the base to working on the speed and strength to finally tapering… I follow the schedule but I don’t neglect the flow of what my body tells me. So if I feel I can go harder, I don’t exactly hold back (like on track sessions) but I might not feel strong enough to go as hard on a long run. Whenever I feel that’s within my flow, that’s what the what I’ll follow. I encourage the others to do the same so I would say: it’s both transitional and flowing."
One of my favorite authors, Haruki Murakami, wrote a book called: “What I talk about, when I talk about running” So let me ask you; what do you talk about, when you talk about running?
"The conversation I have with myself could fill a new book of which I don’t want the share the contents just yet, mostly because nobody would understand what the clue is (hahaha). Within the crew there are no real rules or conditions to what we (can) talk about. We mostly talk or rather share on the long runs. Perhaps we start with the non-sense first, just joking around and laughing at ourselves. Pretty much what everybody should be doing, life is serious enough. As the mileage builds, so does the subject matter it seems. Occasionally tears may flow which is unrelated to the mileage or speed, although some have thought about calling an Über halfway through the long run (hahaha). I won’t go into details on the specifics of our serious talks because we have an unspoken confidentiality amongst ourselves. But let’s just say there is room for anything, anybody wants to share. It’s about so much more than running."