Zuidhorn maakt zich klaar voor duizend wandelaars

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Zuidhorn - organisatie avondvierdaagse

Woensdag speciale avond voor bewoners Zonnehuis

ZUIDHORN – Het lijkt zo simpel, de organisatie van een Avondwandelvierdaagse. Maar zie maar eens duizend kinderen – want zoveel deelnemers zijn er ongeveer ieder jaar in Zuidhorn – vier avonden achtereen in alle veiligheid een mooie wandelroute te laten lopen. ‘Daar komt nog een hele hoop bij kijken’, vertelt Ernst de Klerk, bestuurslid van Stichting Loopgebeur’n Zuidhorn. ‘Een hele hoop werk gebeurt achter de schermen en ziet de deelnemer of toeschouwer niet. Maar dat is ook helemaal niet erg. We doen het met enorm veel plezier!’

De Stichting Loopgebeur’n Zuidhorn heeft als doel om wandel- en loopevenementen te organiseren waarbij het plezier in het wandelen en lopen voorop staat. Het bestuur bestaat uit zeven man, maar de stichting kan ook rekenen op een heleboel vrijwilligers die klaarstaan tijdens de Avondwandelvierdaagse of de ZUIDHORuN die dit jaar op 19 september plaats gaat vinden. ‘Tijdens de wandelvierdaagse kunnen we rekenen op ongeveer 25 vrijwilligers per avond. Tijdens de ZUIDHORuN gaat dit zelfs om zo’n zeventig mensen’, vertelt voorzitter Rins Herder. ‘Deze vrijwilligers zijn de drijvende kracht achter onze evenementen. Zonder hen geen avondvierdaagse, zonder hen geen ZuidhoRun.’
Zuidhorn kan jaarlijks rekenen op enorme aantallen deelnemers voor de Avondwandelvierdaagse. Maar liefst duizend mensen, voornamelijk kinderen, doen vier avonden op rij mee. Sinds twee jaar wordt er gestart en gefinisht bij het Zonnehuis Oostergast. ‘Het Zonnehuis benaderde ons destijds of wij daar oren naar hadden. Het Zonnehuis was toen nog niet heel lang in gebruik en het voelde voor de bewoners nog een beetje alsof zij wat aan de rand van het dorp stonden, in plaats van midden in het dorpsleven. We hadden al het gebruik om één avond van de vierdaagse langs het voormalige Zonnehuis te wandelen, en tegen dit aanbod zeiden we ook geen nee. Op deze manier hebben ook de bewoners van het Zonnehuis plezier aan de vierdaagse, en dat geldt voor de kinderen evengoed’, aldus Ernst. ‘Het is een superlocatie. De werknemers zijn ontzettend gastvrij, we krijgen alle hulp van hen.’

De bewoners van het Zonnehuis kunnen nog meer plezier beleven aan de vierdaagse dankzij de alternatieve route die de Stichting Loopgebeur’n Zuidhorn vorig jaar voor het eerst introduceerde. Op de woensdagavond is er voor de bewoners van het Zonnehuis een route van drie kilometer, die deels gelijk is aan de route voor de overige wandelaars. Vrijwilligers duwen dan de rolstoelen. ‘Vorig jaar hebben we dat voor het eerst gedaan. Dat moest toen allemaal een beetje last minute geregeld worden, maar het was fantastisch’, vertelt Rins. ‘Op het laatste moment vonden we bijvoorbeeld nog de vrouw van de burgemeester bereid om mee te lopen en een rolstoel te duwen. Dat werd erg gewaardeerd. Dit jaar hopen we wat eerder de vrijwilligers te vinden om de rolstoelen te duwen. Hoeveel vrijwilligers we daarvoor nodig hebben valt nu nog niet te zeggen, dat hangt van het aantal bewoners van het Zonnehuis af die mee willen doen. Bij slecht weer hoeft het voor veel mensen niet.’

Rins en Ernst hebben beide enorm veel zin in de vierdaagse. ‘Het is ontzettend leuk om te doen. Mensen zien vaak niet hoeveel werk er in zit om zoiets te organiseren. Denk maar eens aan de controle van de routes, vrijwilligers die opgeleid worden tot verkeersregelaar, de vergunningsaanvraag, het regelen van het muzikale steuntje in de rug, het bestellen van de medailles, het programmaboekje dat we sinds twee jaar maken, de vergunning regelen. Er komt heel veel bij kijken. Gelukkig merken we dat we aan alle kanten goed geholpen worden. De sponsors zijn trouw, de communicatie met de gemeente verloopt altijd heel soepel; iedereen doet zijn best om er wat moois van te maken’, vertelt Ernst. ‘Wat ik het mooiste vind aan de Avondwandelvierdaagse is de donderdagavond. Dan wordt er gefinisht op het plein Overtuinen, waar dan veel ouders en grootouders hun kinderen op staan te wachten. Dat is altijd een heel feest. Maar het mooiste is wanneer het plein dan weer leeg is en we elkaar tevreden aan kunnen kijken: het is allemaal weer gelukt!’

De avondvierdaagse vindt plaats van 1 tot en met 4 juni. Er worden afstanden gelopen van vijf, tien of vijftien kilometer. De starttijd voor de vijftien kilometer is om 17.45 uur, de tien kilometer om 18.00 uur en de vijf kilometer om 18.15 uur. De eerste drie avonden zijn de start en finish bij het Zonnehuis in de Oostergast. Op de slotavond is de start en finish op het plein Overtuinen in het centrum van Zuidhorn.

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