Sitting on the train for twelve hours and traveling around the Netherlands for one and a half hours: you just have to be looking forward to it. Marijn Lenders (20) from Helmond thought that would be something and he traveled almost a thousand kilometers by train in twelve hours on Saturday. And with that he can officially call himself the Kilometer Champion.
“That’s really nice,” says Marijn proudly. The competition was organized by Treinreizen.nl. Participants must travel as many kilometers as possible by train in 24 hours or 12 hours. Of the hundred people who participated in the 12-hour edition, Marijn was the best with 994 kilometers. Narrowly, he covered seven kilometers more than the number 2. The two winners of the 24-hour edition covered approximately 1,750 kilometers.
“I spent 50 hours preparing.”
Prior to the competition, Marijn put a lot of hours into preparation. “Making the schedule is one big puzzle,” he says. “You have to check which train leaves from which station, which connection there is and how long it takes you to transfer.” In addition, he took work and missing a transfer into account in his planning. “I think I spent 50 hours on it.”
Marijn started his journey on Saturday in The Hague and then train north. Via Utrecht he drove to various stations in Gelderland and Brabant and from there to Rotterdam and Amsterdam. He had to take a photo at every station. “The first few hours I was quite nervous about whether I would arrive everywhere on time. That went away over time, but you still have to pay attention all day long to make sure everything goes according to plan,” he says.
His journey ended after 994 kilometers in Maastricht. Marijn arrived there just in time. “That last ride was quite exciting, he says. “At Eindhoven station, the train I was on left two minutes late. If it had been more, I wouldn’t have made it to twelve hours.”
“In everyday life I only train to school and back.”
You would think that Marijn is a seasoned train traveler, but according to him that is not so bad. “In daily life I only train from Helmond to my school in Eindhoven and back. But I do spend a lot of time on it,” he says. “I watch a lot of videos of people taking train journeys through Europe. Or special trains and train stations.”
It was not difficult for him to sit on the train all day. “If you spend all day on the route, it is very doable,” says Marijn. “I also had a special T-shirt on, so people could see that I was participating. So there were a lot of travelers and friendly staff that I could have a chat with.”
Marijn will soon have another long journey ahead of him, because the prize he has won is a train journey to Vienna. “Then I might take the night train. Then I can sleep a few hours,” he laughs.