Eltjo Smit kijkt uit naar de Abel Tasman Struuntocht

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Struners Kiek’n

GROOTEGAST – Dat de Abel Tasman Struuntocht al leeft in het Westerkwartier is duidelijk. Eltjo Smit is één van de deelnemers die uitkijkt naar het wandelfestijn. In ‘zijn’ Westerkwartier, want nergens anders voelt Smit zich zo op zijn gemak als hier.

Het wordt de eerste Struuntocht die Smit gaat lopen, maar hij was al eens te gast in een andere hoedanigheid. Als trompettist in een showband zag hij het succes van de Struuntocht met eigen ogen. “Ik kwam ermee in aanraking door de showband waar ik destijds in speelde”, vertelt hij. “We waren in 2007 aanwezig bij de intocht om te spelen en daar heb ik zo’n goede indruk gekregen van het evenement. Ik dacht: als ik ooit nog eens de mogelijkheid krijg, wil ik zeker meedoen aan de Struuntocht.”

Ruim acht jaar later is het zsover. Smit zal samen met zijn vrouw, schoonzus en twee neefjes alles uit de kast halen om de tocht te voltooien. Er wordt dan ook al getraind om er op 12 september zo fit mogelijk op te staan. “We hebben inderdaad al een paar keer gelopen met het oog op de Struuntocht. Je moet dan denken aan tochten van tien tot vijftien kilometer. Dat ging goed, dus is voorzie ook geen problemen. En als je met z’n vijven loopt, loopt het ook wat gemakkelijker.”

Van evenement naar evenement

Smit, ICT-medewerker van de gemeenten Marum en Grootegast, liep onlangs zelfs van Marum naar Grootegast om een deel van de route te lopen. Smit vertrok om half zeven ’s ochtends en was precies om negen uur ’s ochtends op zijn werk. Via de oude trambaan en de Leidijk, en Smit genoot van de route. Hij heeft dan ook zin in de tocht. “Er gebeurt van alles onderweg, er wordt een hele happening van gemaakt. En dat maakt de Struuntocht zo leuk. Er wordt veel georganiseerd voor de wandelaars en het publiek. Het is zo’n mooie tocht, je loopt eigenlijk van evenement naar evenement.”

Met 4500 andere wandelaars zal het Westerkwartier weer even het episch centrum van de wandelsport zijn. “De Struuntocht leeft nu al zeker, er wordt best veel met elkaar over gesproken. Er lopen verschillende collega’s van de gemeente Grootegast mee en het is zeker een gespreksonderwerp. Het is natuurlijk één keer in de vier jaar, dat maakt het ook bijzonder. Vaker moet ook niet, en dat kan ook niet, want het vergt ook veel van de organisatie. Ik neem dan ook mijn petje af voor de mensen die zulke evenementen organiseren. Zo’n dorp Lutjegast, dat er dan gewoon voor gaat en het dan nog voor elkaar krijgt ook. Ik vind dat echt knap.”

De komende weken zal Smit zeker nog voldoende wandelen, al is het alleen al om de hond uit te laten. “Ik heb er zin in, laat de Struuntocht maar komen. Nogmaals, ik ben gewoon benieuwd wat ons als deelnemers te wachten staat.”

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