Athlete of the month: Stefan van der Palen

This month we shine a bright light on our all-round athlete Stefan. He has been a member since 2016, has been a board member and has been a very dedicated Gaul! You’ve probably all seen this guy during the trainings. Because he recently switched from the technical group to the runners. Why, you might ask? Well, because of the common problem with technical athletes. A lot of small injuries. “Since I switched to longer distances I rarely have any pains. However, I still miss sprinting. I really like going as fast as possible on the track. So, at the moment I just want to improve my endurance and strength. Now I want to approach the 400m not from a sprinter base, but from an endurance base.”

He started running since he was seventeen and it wasn’t exactly love at first sight. “In my hometown there weren’t many tracks nearby. The closest one was ‘t Jasper Sport (Someren). But after one training I didn’t really like it and thought athletics wasn’t a sport for me. But I thought maybe give it another go at a different club. So, I did one practice training at AVV and really liked it. My main goal was to improve my half-marathon time. However, after a few weeks my trainer said: Maybe you should focus on sprint distances. After a few months of training they added me to the competition team to run a 400m. I had no idea how a start procedure works and how to get properly out of a starting block. So, when the starter said on your marks I already was in the upright starting position and I got a yellow card.”

Fortunately, Asterix can now depend on Stefan to run in NSK’s. He promised us to run the 400m in 55 seconds this year! This is Stefan’s favourite distance because it’s the combination between explosive sprinting and endurance.


We asked Stefan what athletics mean to him, because it is such a big part of his life. Asterix trainings two times a week, dating a Gaul and living with two Gauls. That’s a proper purple lifestyle and we love it! Stefan said that athletics is a stress reliever and that living in a purple house motivates him a lot. “Especially when there is a core session on Thursday, normally I really dislike doing core. But when Casper is giving the training and Bente is joining as well it makes it way more fun.”

And finally we asked him what his favourite memories were at Asterix. We were really surprised that all of his answers had something to do with beer! The best story was about the NK beer mile at NSK baan of 2018. “After a full day of volunteering in the hot sun I decided last minute to join the beer mile. After only eating one muesli bar I was at the start of the race. After a quick chug of the first beer I was in the leading position, however after half a round people started to pass me. I remember everything went quite well until my fourth beer. This was the toughest beer I had in my entire life. After like two or three minutes I finally fished it and ran my last round. The feeling I had after I crossed the finish line was one of the best feelings in my athletics career.” Cheers everybody and a happy Easter!

By: Annelies Becker