Evert van Benthem
Evert van Benthem
November 21, 1958 |
Sint Jansklooster, Netherlands
|Achievements and titles|
|Personal best(s)||1985 Elfstedentocht
Van Benthem, a farmer in Leeuwte, near Vollenhove in The Netherlands, got involved in marathon skating in the early 1980s. He started racing in the A-class in 1983, which involved longer races (100 km instead of 40 km), and finished third in the Dutch championship in 1985.
In 1985, it had been 22 years since the last Elfstedentocht, which is skated on natural ice in Friesland, a 200 kilometres (120 mi) race. On February 21, 1985, Van Benthem won the 13th Elfstedentocht. After 200 km on natural ice, he entered the final stretch into Leeuwarden together with Jan Kooiman, Jos Niesten and Henri Ruitenberg, all marathon speed skaters. Van Benthem won the sprint, completing the 196.8 kilometres (122.3 mi) in 6 hours 47 mins, an average of 29.0 kilometres per hour (18.0 mph).
One year later, on February 26, 1986, the competition was on again. In the end, Rein Jonker and Robert Kamperman are ahead with Van Benthem. Van Benthem kept the lead and won again, with a time of 6 hours 55 mins 17 secs.
The next Elfstedentocht took place in 1997, after Van Benthem's retirement. He entered the event as a tourist, drawing much public attention. His brother, Henk van Benthem, finished fourth in the race.
In the summer of 1999 Van Benthem and his family decided to move to Spruce View, Alberta, Canada. His Dutch farm was located in a natural preservation area and thus could not expand. Moreover, Van Benthem said he had gotten tired of the attention. Van Benthem has a dairy farm in Spruce View, 320 hectares with 175 cows. An "Alternative Elfstedentocht" was organized since 2003, but van Benthem's goal of having the Dutch top riders compete regularly did not come to fruition.
- Volkers, John (3 February 2012). "Helemaal los van schaatsen, zonder een moment van spijt - De Elfstedentocht - VK". de Volkskrant (in Dutch). Retrieved 17 February 2013.
- Bosch, Eelco (8 February 2012). "Op bezoek bij Evert van Benthem in Canada - NOS Nieuws" (in Dutch). Nederlandse Omroep Stichting. Retrieved 17 February 2013.