8 may 2018
news of the marathon
Louis Hueber: "Sport is our focus."
This year, the St. Petersburg half marathon was held for the fourth time. A relatively young start attracts more and more attention of running travelers. After the race, we talked with our colleagues athletes from the Netherlands and found out what led them to Russia and if they were afraid of St. Petersburg weather.
Louis: my name is Louis Hueber. I am one of the leaders of the athletic club Haag Atletiek. Our club - one of the largest in the Netherlands-the second year is the champion of the country among athletic clubs. Men (in Holland age from 19 to 35 years)for the second time in 2015 and 2016 became Champions of Holland. This is a consequence of the fact that the Golden generation found its place in our club, where Paul Wernert, head coach plays an important role as a coach. Talented athletes feel that the club Haag athletic can further develop thanks to the energy invested in them by coaches. Then, as the club management, we tried to unite talented sprinters, professionals and Amateurs, as well as juniors together. They have something to learn from each other. Thus one personal success becomes a success for our club. In this climate top athletes show the best results. All this is the basis of the sporting successes that we are now receiving.

Jan: my name is Jan Maas, I do business in Holland and Russia, I am also a member of Haag Atletiek club. We run together and we like it.

Olga: My name is Olga Maas, I am also a member of Haag Atletiek club. Last year we visited the Luzhniki half marathon in Moscow, and this year we organized the White nights half marathon with our colleagues in St. Petersburg.

So you ran in the same t-shirts, and they were all members of the same club?

Olga: Yes, we have a tradition of running in the same club t-shirts. We are proud of our athletic club and are happy to play in club t-shirts.
How many members here?

Olga: 16 people and 15 of them fled, and one of them actively supported us.

How do you feel after the race? All very much worried that you will freeze in the rain!

Louis: Yes, the weather on the day of the half marathon was extreme: only 5 degrees and heavy rain! In the Netherlands, the weather on this day was also very special, not typical summer weather. It was a crazy idea! We were not ready for such weather conditions, but it did not stop us, we enjoyed running!

How long have you been running?

Louis: I started running when I was 23 ( laughs ) it was a long time ago!

Jan: Just a couple of years ago.

Great running, too! How did the idea to run a half marathon in St. Petersburg ?

Louis: The idea to participate in Saint Petersburg half marathon was from club's runners. Jan and Olga help to organize everything. Our club has a tradition: once a year to run a half marathon together in some European city. We ran in Madrid, Prague, Lisbon, Berlin, Antwerp, Bonn and many other European cities. But we never thought that you can come to the half marathon in Russia. And when there was such an opportunity thanks to Olga and Jan to get acquainted with Russian people and culture, we decided to go! We receive information about Russia only from the media. And it was really great to come and meet other people, talk live.
And what impression of St. Petersburg?

Louis: I am very impressed from St. Petersburg! I'm especially impressed with people!

Olga: Louis for the first time in Russia.

What exactly ? What are the strongest impressions?

Louis: I feel welcome.
The motto of the club Haag Atletiek: "My club. Your club. Our club." When we go to the race, what we like the most is to meet new people. I ran a half marathon with two unfamiliar Russian men and I was very pleased that they shared with me some water. It's really great to share with each other. To share not only the race but also for example water, is very symbolic.
Tell us a little about your club. What are you doing together ?

Louis: The first thing I want to say is, I'm very proud of my club. The main thing is that we meet together. Our common focus is sports. We have a Professor and a simple worker in the club and when we meet, we communicate and find a lot in common. When we meet, we see that we are connected and it is sport. Outside the club, we just don't have a chance to meet.
And the same thing happens when we go abroad. For example, we visit a club in Russia and I communicate with Russian people, outside the club we have no such opportunity. And as a club we can come, run together and chat. But without Olga and Jan, it wouldn't have occurred to me to go to the half marathon in Russia.
I live in the Hague. The Hague is an international city of Peace and justice. It's not just the motto of the city, it's the attitude we want to share with other people outside the Hague. I feel the same way here in St Petersburg. The people are very warm welcoming us back. Everything that is organized here is very warm and sincere.
What are your immediate plans for the race?

Louis: this Friday is the king's birthday (April 27th ) I'm going to a small village where I've never been. There I'm going to run competitions of 10 km And I will meet people whom I never met. In this sense Saint-Petersburg is no different from Oudenhoorn, where only a few thousand people. and we will also meet new people like in Saint-Petersburg.

Will you return to Russia ?

Louis: Yes! I'm very proud to be the father of two sons. And when I told them I was going to St. Petersburg, Junior said, "Dad, you're going to see something we've never seen. I said, son, you have to see it with your own eyes! "
In 2013 Haag Atletiek club celebrated its centenary. It's a club with a great history. In the jubilee year, the club organized a "race of the world", which attracted 8,000 people from the first time. The municipality of the Hague decided to continue funding the event and it became an annual event. For 5 years, club membership has increased from 1,500 to 1,800 people. The club has a great atmosphere; athletes support each other and motivate to achieve personal records. The main bulk of the participants are young people, but there are older people. The club maintains an active life in social networks through Facebook, website and Twitter. "We are trying to connect inside and with the outside world. This is our ambition. To establish the connection: Haag Atletiek. My club. Your club. Our club. The club is the heart of our sporting success!". Louis Hueber.