June 2017 - Geert Meese (Belgium)
Interview with our four times "Best Crew Ever", Geert Meese - Geert, our 4 times Belgium volunteer, tells us about his life, how he likes GlobalLimits’ races organization, the safety standard, his favourite GlobalLimits’ races and share his tips about life to our runners.
1. Can you tell us about yourself?
I have already spent a lot of time in this world. Being nearly 60 I’m the oldest volunteer in GlobalLimits races until now. I have gone through a lot of stages in this world: studying, doing a lot of martial arts when I was younger, being part of the flower power generation of the Sixites, giving values to my children, enjoying cycling and running. And present situation: staying in touch with works (at the operation quarters, the intensive care and emergency service) and looking forward to the life of being a granddad (In November this year!).
A few years ago I made a decision to cut down my working hours and started filling up my free time with working as a volunteer or medical director in various sports races. I help at various running races (from 10 to 250 km non-stop), obstacle races, bike races, and music festivals. From 20 to 60,000 participants. The more attractive side of this option is, my wife (who is a registered emergency nurse), also enjoys these kind of adventures and we can do these works together.
10 years ago, my wife and I couldn’t imagine life would take us this way, but we love it and will keep going as long as possible.
2. Why have you chosen GlobalLimits to work with?
A few years ago I met a well-known German ultrarunner, Joe, who is famous in a very special way, in a race in Oman. He recommended Stefan’s races to me and gave me his contact. I followed Joe’s advice; and the same year I volunteered in my first GlobalLimits race: Cambodia, which was a great experience. What I like about the GlobalLimits races? I like the approach of race organization by Stefan, as all aspects of the race are taken care of and clearly communicated. It makes my works easier and his approach provides high safety standard and perfect racing conditions for the participants. The whole set-up of GlobalLimits’ races focuses on the runners, a principle I like very much. I also enjoy working with the highly motivated, active team selected by Stefan. In addition, I prefer the smaller temporary runners’ society built during GlobalLimits races to other larger multi-stage races. With the limitation of 50 participants, it is highly possible to make many good friends in a week. And of course there is YOU: enthusiastic, positive-minded participants. Spending my free time with you is a relieve of the “grumble,stumble , numble” we all encounter in our daily lives.
3. Which is your favourite GlobalLimits race?
That ’s a very easy question. I don’t have a preference. I have been two GlobalLimits races: Cambodia and Bhutan (in total 4 times). Bhutan and Cambodia are completely different races. Cambodia: high temperature and humidity. Flat course, tropical trees, flowers and animals. The many small farming communities. I am interested in what is going to happen next, especially with the children, the ever-changing vibrant Cambodian society. Bhutan: mountainous with fast-changing weather conditions, the serenity and kindness of the people; and the fact to be able to race in a country with a tourist quota. Happiness is the key factor in decision making .
4. What is your favorite moment in all the GlobalLimits races you have been?
I’m not the man of the one big “ whaaah “moment. I am more sensible to the beauty of small things, small acts, unexpected events . And I did already encounter many during GlobalLimits races. To mention a few (without mentioning names):
* the happiness of a participant, who after several failures in other races, he realised that he is going to make it (he smelled the finish line);
* the sweetness of a participant for his female partner - expressed by looking for fresh fruit juices, cold cokes and some salty snacks, leaving them all on a nicely covered table at a check point in the middle of nowhere, just for her to get through the hard times;
* the thrill to come across a snake gliding over a road;
* the cleverness of a paticipant to organise freshly cooked chicken in the middle of nowhere;
* the cans of coke that were offered to me by the local shops while I was sweeping. A participant, whom I was following as a sweeper, organized this for me to show his gratitude;
*the consternation I felt when the news reached me that the same participant who offered me the cans of coke, has passed away;
* the surprise when I realized that I was standing in a field of cannabis plants;
* the relief of a volunteer when I caught up with her after she had lost her phone, GPS and the way to go while she was high up in the mountains; * the beers offered by participants as a way to say thanks;
* the unexpected situation of stranding in a local’s house, watching a Bollywood movie, getting hot noodle soup and tea while a participant I accompanied was recuperating
* standing in water waist high, helping to push an Iron Buffalo out of the mud
* watching the splendid tropical star night, lying on my sleeping matrass.
5. When are we going to see you again?
I am going to volunteer in Albania, so see you all there.
6. Anything else you want to tell us?
After volunteering in several GlobalLimits races I honestly can state that, you, participants, are the heart and the soul of the races, every move of the race organization circles around you, every decision is taken to give you the best chance to success the race. I like to add a personal viewpoint: listen to Monty Python - Always Look on the Bright Side of Life :) Keep strong and see you all later somewhere on this magnificent world!