On Sunday, 16,830 runners lined up to participate in the 41st edition of the Brussels 20 km, according to Belga News Agency. Starting at Parc du Cinquantenaire, the race included 850 handicapped participants.
Just over 200 people did not complete the race, far fewer than in years previous according to the event's organizers. A Covid Safe Ticket was necessary to take part and tests were organized before the start of the race with the help of the Belgian Red Cross.
Between 1,500 and 2,000 walking participants were among those in the race, including Queen Mathilde. Amaury Paquet of Liege won the race with a time of 59 minutes and 31 seconds, while the race's last participant, a 92-year-old man, finished before 5:00 p.m. The fastest woman to finish was Liege's Florence De Dock with a time of one hour, nine minutes and 50 seconds.
With the mild weather and lack of rescue incidents, the race seems to have gone fairly seamlessly this year.
"We are happy to have been able to organize it and to overcome all the difficulties," said Carine Verstraeten, Secretary-General of Syndicat d'Initiative - Brussels Promotion 1886, an organisation that aims to promote Brussels. "The weather was pleasant, there were no incidents on the course and it was a very nice edition."
The oldest participant was a 92 year-old man who completed the course at 5 PM, cheered on by volunteers. "So often we talk about the winners and forget those who have faced the greatest challenges in our society but who succeed in spite of it all," a press release by Samusocial read. "That is why we stay until the final participants have finished the course and encourage them all the way."
Some sections of the course had been painted by Extinction Rebellion to denounce the race sponsors, fossil fuel company Total Energies. Slogans read: "Total Energies - sponsors of death", an overt reference to the company's major role in aggravating the climate crisis.
The Brussels Times