Jelle's Marble Runs

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Jelle's Marble Runs
"Jelle's Marble Runs" YouTube logo.jpg
Personal information
BornJelle & Dion Bakker
1983 & 1981
Wervershoof, Netherlands
NationalityDutch
OccupationYouTuber
Websitehttps://jellesmarbleruns.com/
YouTube information
Years active2006–present
GenreSports
Subscribers1,330,000
(April 2021)
Total views122,206,367 views
(April 2021)
YouTube Silver Play Button 2.svg 100,000 subscribers 2019
YouTube Gold Play Button 2.svg 1,000,000 subscribers 2020

Jelle's Marble Runs is a YouTube channel based in the Netherlands, run by the brothers Jelle and Dion Bakker. It is based around marbles, marble runs and marble races. Content on the channel includes spoofing the Olympic Games, Formula One, and other sporting events. Additionally, they create stand-alone competitions around holidays, with the marble names in the style of the holiday. These videos treat the cast of marbles as though they were athletes.[1][2] Acting as though the inanimate marbles use actual tactics, training, and psychology to compete, fans participate in an elaborate kayfabe to create engaging marble sports.

The Marble League (formerly MarbleLympics and previously Marble Olympics), portrayed as the "Games", has a choreographed Opening and Closing Ceremony, often created using stop motion. Many of the sports are designed to resemble Olympic sports.[3] Each year, the channel uploads a new series of the Marble League, with different events and teams each year, which are introduced in the Qualifying round. As of 24 July 2020, the current channel has over 1.2 million subscribers with more than 90.7 million views, a number that has steadily increased, likely as a result of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on sports.[4][5]

Overview[edit]

Jelle's Marble Runs has built a following personifying marbles throughout a variety of competitions. Each video is produced in the form of a sporting event with commentary provided by Greg Woods.[6] The channel features annual series such as the Marble League, the Marble Rally, Marbula One, and the Hubelino Tournament. Additionally, Jelle produces seasonal Halloween and Christmas content, as well as one-off events such as the A-Maze-ing Marble Race. Interspersed between the competition videos, Jelle releases a wide variety of marble runs without commentary exhibiting his marble course constructions (some of which are on display in museums).

History[edit]

Jelle Bakker was born in 1983 in Wervershoof, Netherlands. He has stated that he has a form of autism, and said that because he has no occupation, making marble machines was one of his biggest hobbies.[7] He currently lives in Wervershoof, which is also where his videos are produced.[8]

In 2006, Bakker created the first version of the Jelle's Marble Runs YouTube channel.[9][10] He received the Guinness World Record for the world's longest marble run on May 21, 2009, a record that he held until 2011.[11] Greg Woods, an early fan of the channel, produced a commentary on his own for one of the marble race videos. Bakker liked the video so much that he ended up partnering with Woods, who became the English-language commentator for the entire series.[12][13]

The channel soon started gaining attention and a fanbase in 2015, and started the MarbleLympics in 2016 as a mock version of the Olympic games.[14] Originally, Bakker planned to end the MarbleLympics series after the 2017 MarbleLympics. "The MarbleLympics will end in early August with an ending ceremony," he said in an interview by The Irish News, "but I will still continue in making great marbles-related videos." However, he continued the series due to popularity.

In late 2018, Bakker accidentally deleted his original channel of 620,000 subscribers while attempting to delete his Google+ account and was subsequently forced to relaunch.[15] By March 2020 the channel's subscriber number had surpassed this former level.[16]

On May 17, 2020, British-American comedian and late-night show host John Oliver announced on his show Last Week Tonight with John Oliver that the show would be the head sponsor for the 2020 Marble League.[17]

Popular series[edit]

Marble League[edit]

The Marble League (formerly the MarbleLympics) is an annual series featuring marbles competing in Olympics-inspired events. Sixteen teams compete against each other to win medals across multiple events, including hurdles, long jump, and funnel endurance. The champions of the Marble League are crowned based on the aggregate points from all events.

At its inception in 2016, 16 teams were invited to compete in 12 events. Each team consisted of four marbles of matching colors and patterns. Starting in 2017, the qualifiers are held in advance of each Marble League edition, with the top four teams from the previous edition automatically qualifying for the subsequent edition. Also introduced in 2017 is a new points system which rewards every team points based on their final event placements, provided they do not finish last (In the previous points system, only the top half teams received points, with 10 points going to the event winners).

From 2018 and on, the Marble League features a host team that takes one of the four pre-qualification spots alongside the top three teams from the previous edition. The 2018 Marble League was the first (and currently the only full-length) winter edition, featuring events such as speed skating, ice hockey, and snowboard cross. Other changes included the addition of a fifth team member. In 2019, the MarbleLympics changed its name to Marble League due to trademark issues, increased the number of events to 16, and added a coach marble for each team.

The 2020 Marble League faced cancellation due to a lack of funding, but a fully paid sponsorship from Last Week Tonight with John Oliver was announced on 17 May 2020 for all 16 events, with $5,000 going to food bank charities in the event winners’ name, and $20,000 going to the International Rescue Committee in the overall winners’ name, allowed for the 2020 edition to commence as planned.[18][19][20]

On 13 April 2021, JMR announced that two teams had been retired from the Marble League. As a result, the Qualifiers were updated by extending the number of participating teams to 24. All remaining teams who competed in 2020, excluding the four pre-qualified teams, would compete in the Qualifiers for the 2021 Marble League, alongside one returning team and one new team.

Results summary[edit]

Year Originally broadcast Events Host Location Champion Points Runner-up Points Third place Points
2016 5 August 2016 9 September 2016 12 n/a Bakker Bowl Savage Speeders 44 Mellow Yellow 41[a] Thunderbolts 41
2017 1 July 2017 19 August 2017 O'rangers 156 Savage Speeders 150 Mellow Yellow 119
2018 9 February 2018 28 April 2018 Snowballs Arctic Circle Midnight Wisps 139 Savage Speeders 138 Oceanics 130
2019 19 April 2019 11 June 2019 16 Oceanics Seven Seas Stadium Raspberry Racers 216 Green Ducks 204 Hazers 184
2020 21 June 2020 16 August 2020 Team Galactic Andromedome Savage Speeders 202 O'rangers 195 Minty Maniacs 194
2021 TBD TBD Crazy Cat's Eyes TBD

Marble League Showdown[edit]

The Marble League Showdown was introduced in 2019 as the lower division for teams who did not qualify for the year's Marble League championship. The Showdown effectively serves as the preliminary round for the next year's Marble League, where top-ranked teams will be given a chance to compete in the next year's qualifiers.

On 13 April 2021, due to the retirement of two Marble League teams, all three remaining teams who finished within the bottom four of the 2020 Showdown were cleared to compete in the Qualifiers for the 2021 Marble League edition.

Year Originally broadcast Events Champion Points Runner-up Points Third place Points
2019 16 August 2019 13 September 2019 4 Snowballs 53 Hornets 48 Rojo Rollers 37
2020 15 August 2020 Kobalts 53 Jungle Jumpers 47 Chocolatiers 38

Special tournaments[edit]

Starting from 2020, JMR occasionally announces special Marble League tournaments during the off-season. Unlike the usual yearly tournaments, these tournaments are much shorter, with no more than five events, and teams participating in the tournament are picked via invitation.

On 13 December 2020, the Marble League Winter Special was announced. This tournament was contested on five events taken directly from the 2018 Marble League edition. Sixteen teams had been invited to participate in this special tournament.

Year Name Originally broadcast Events Champion Points Runner-up Points Third place Points
2021 Winter Special 3 January 2021 30 January 2021 5 Oceanics 69 O'rangers 61 Hazers 59

Marble Rally[edit]

The Marble Rally (formerly known as the Sand Marble Rally) is a series of off-road marble races, where individual marbles race against each other down a rough terrain course, usually sand, that has been manually constructed. The courses feature a variety of obstacles that will impede competing marbles on their way to the finish line. Marbles used for the Marble Rally are larger than marbles used for the Marble League, with a diameter of 25mm compared to the Marble League's 16mm marbles. Starting from the 2017 edition, top-ranked marbles automatically qualify for the next year's Marble Rally championship.

The fifth edition was initially delayed due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but the first six races had been filmed and were eventually released weekly from 15 September 2020 to 20 October 2020. The season resumed in 2021, with two races filmed in snow, rather than the usual sand. The races were released weekly from 2 April 2021.

Results summary[edit]

Season (Year) Originally broadcast Races Champion Points Runner-up Points Third place Points
1 (2016) 18 June 2016 12 November 2016 12 Ghost Plasma 194 Big Pearl 173 Dragon's Egg 171
2 (2017) 1 April 2017 8 December 2017 13 Dragon's Egg 135 Red Number 3 134 Slimer 130
3 (2018) 18 August 2018 2 December 2018 8 Red Number 3 107 Phoenix 85 Superball 82
4 (2019) 20 September 2019 28 December 2019 Red Number 3 90 Ghost Plasma 76 Superball 75
5 (2020-21) 15 September 2020 4 June 2021 12 Superball 117 Cool Moody 114 Slimer 100

Marble Rally Showdown[edit]

The Marble Rally Showdown (formerly known as the Sand Marble Rally B-League) was introduced in 2018 as a lower-division series of races for marbles who did not qualify for the Marble Rally championship, giving those marbles a chance to qualify for the next year's championship. Top-ranked marbles automatically qualify for the next year's Marble Rally championship, while other marbles may be required to attend qualifiers.

The 2020 Marble Rally Showdown was cancelled altogether following an announcement from the JMR, most likely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Marbles eligible for the 2020 Marble Rally championship were instead selected via invitation.

Year Originally broadcast Races Champion Points Runner-up Points Third place Points
2018 1 September 2018 6 January 2019 4 H2 Blue 38[b] Pollo Loco 38 White Widow 35
2019 11 January 2020 Big Pearl 39 Rastafarian 36 Lollipop 35
2020 Cancelled

Marbula One[edit]

Marbula One is a series of circuit-based marble races, where marbles race multiple laps around a racetrack made of Quercetti Big Marbledrome tracks with custom paper stock add-ons, as well as a conveyor belt that returns all marbles back to the top. As its name suggests, this series is directly inspired by the Formula One motor racing championship. Each race event in this series is referred to as Grand Prix, and includes a qualifying session to determine who will qualify for the main race event, as well as the starting grid.

The first edition of Marbula One premiered in February 2020, shortly before the COVID-19 pandemic. Sixteen teams from the Marble League were invited to compete in the inaugural edition, which consisted of eight events. The qualifying session for this edition was a simple single-round session, with each marble given one flying lap to complete. The points system for this edition was also adopted directly from Formula One, including a bonus point for setting the fastest lap time during the main race event.

The second edition of Marbula One premiered in November 2020, and was contested on 12 events. The number of teams participating was also increased to 20. To accommodate this change, the qualifying and points systems were updated. The new qualifying session format is divided into three rounds, with each marble given one flying lap to complete in the first round, but the number of marbles eligible for the main race event remains 16. The next two rounds have the top half of the qualified marbles from the previous round race along the course in a two-lap race-off.

The first half of the second edition, consisting of six races, was broadcast weekly from 7 November 2020 to 12 December 2020, while the second half began in 19 February 2021 after a midseason break for the Winter Special games of the Marble League.

Results summary[edit]

Season Originally broadcast Races Championship Champion Points Runner-up Points Third Place Points
1 15 February 2020 5 April 2020 8 Teams Savage Speeders 101 Hazers 94 O'rangers 69
Racers Speedy
(Savage Speeders)
59 Snowy
(Snowballs)
58 Smoggy
(Hazers)
57
2 7 November 2020 1 May 2021 12 Teams Crazy Cat's Eyes 183 Savage Speeders 122 Green Ducks 115
Racers Red Eye
(Crazy Cat's Eyes)
105 Speedy
(Savage Speeders)
80 Yellow Eye
(Crazy Cat's Eyes)
78

Other series[edit]

Marbula E[edit]

Marbula E was a circuit-based marble racing series directly based on the Formula E racing championship. Created as a spin-off of Marbula One, this series was sponsored by Envision Virgin Racing. It featured marble teams named after real Formula E teams (unlike other series, which feature fictional teams) and racetracks closely based on real-life ePrix.[21][22][23] The first episode premiered on 18 April 2020, consisting of a race in a recreation of the Paris Street Circuit, and was narrated by British professional Formula E commentator Jack Nicholls. JMR commentator Greg Woods later joined Nicholls from the second race in a circuit based on the Seoul ePrix.

Mercedes-Benz EQ dominated the first half of the season with three consecutive podium finishes. In the second half, TAG Heuer Porsche snatched first in the standings with two consecutive race wins, and managed to hold their lead there at the final race in a circuit based on the London ePrix. Mercedes-Benz EQ finished second overall, while DS Techeetah finished third overall.

Year Originally broadcast Location Champion Runner-up Third place
2020 18 April 2020 Paris Mercedes-Benz EQ ROKiT Venturi Racing BMW i Andretti Motorsport
2 May 2020 Seoul Panasonic Jaguar Racing TAG Heuer Porsche Mercedes-Benz EQ
6 June 2020 Jakarta BMW i Andretti Motorsport Mercedes-Benz EQ DS Techeetah
7 August 2020 Berlin TAG Heuer Porsche Mahindra Racing NIO 333
3 November 2020 New York City TAG Heuer Porsche Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler DS Techeetah
14 December 2020 London Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler DS Techeetah NIO 333
Overall TAG Heuer Porsche Mercedes-Benz EQ DS Techeetah

Last Marble Standing[edit]

To celebrate the channel's 1,111,111 subscribers milestone, Last Marble Standing was announced on 21 May 2020. This tournament, sponsored by Arla Foods UK's Cravendale, featured six new dairy-themed teams, and included six events. The tournament was won by Graze of Glory, who had dominated the entire tournament by staying in first in the standings for all but one event, winning three gold medals and one silver medal in the process.[24][25]

Year Started Ended Events Champion Points Runner-up Points Third place Points
2020 1 June 2020 20 June 2020 6 Graze of Glory 27 Team Purity 24 Semi-Skimmers 21

Hubelino Tournament[edit]

The Hubelino Tournament was a tournament series contested on courses constructed with Hubelino marble tracks and using 20 mm marbles. The tournament consisted of multiple events run on Hubelino marble tracks, including funnel endurance, which was eventually added to the Marble League. This series was discontinued after the 2018 edition.

Only two teams from this series have made an appearance in the Marble League so far, namely the Minty Maniacs and the Bumblebees. The Black Jacks and the Golden Orbs (previously known as the Golden Wisps) also participated in the qualifiers for the 2018 Marble League, but did not qualify for the main tournament. All other Hubelino Tournament teams have presumably ceased to exist ever since the 2018 edition.

Year Originally broadcast Events Champion Points Runner-up Points Third place Points
2016 24 November 2016 11 November 2017 12 Green Gang 98 Ruby Rollers 83 Golden Wisps 71
2018 5 October 2018 2 November 2018 8 Bumblebees 73 Minty Maniacs 67 Black Jacks 53

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Mellow Yellow finished above Thunderbolts by virtue of medal tally.
  2. ^ H2 Blue finished above Pollo Loco by virtue of race win count.

References[edit]

  1. ^ BondeNews Editors. "Youtube channel promotes marbles 'olympiad', BondeNews, Netherlands, 24 July 2017. Retrieved on 4 April 2019.
  2. ^ Bishop, Rollin. "This MarbleLympics Event Pits Marbles Against Fidget Spinners", Vice, Canada, 9 July 2017. Retrieved on 4 February 2019.
  3. ^ Spiegel.de Editors. "Web phenomenon Marbles Olympiad", Spiegel.de, Germany, 17 December 2017. Retrieved on 9 February 2019.
  4. ^ "Jelle's Marble Runs". YouTube. Retrieved May 25, 2020.
  5. ^ Independent.ie Editors. "This marble version of the Winter Olympics is the best alternative to the real thing", Independent.ie, Ireland, 4 February 2019. Retrieved on 4 February 2019.
  6. ^ Smetana, Jessica (March 23, 2020). "Marble Racing Is the Sport That Can Save Us From Losing Our Marbles". si.com. Retrieved December 12, 2020.
  7. ^ Themadmuseum.co.uk Editors. "Jelle Bakker", The Mad Museum, United Kingdom. Retrieved on 5 February 2019.
  8. ^ Ojeda, Hillary. "Fans flock to online marble races with Iowa commentator amid sports cancellations". Iowa City Press-Citizen. Retrieved December 15, 2020.
  9. ^ "On the run: lack of sport drives fans to madcap world of marble racing". the Guardian. June 1, 2020. Retrieved December 15, 2020.
  10. ^ Padilla, Mariel (April 18, 2020). "Competitive Marble Racing Finds Fans in a World Missing Sports". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved December 15, 2020.
  11. ^ Bakker, Jelle. "JELLE’S PASSION" Archived April 23, 2019, at the Wayback Machine, Knikkerbaan.nl, Netherlands. Retrieved on 27 March 2019.
  12. ^ Capelle, Romain. "The balls also have their Olympic games", Télérama, France. 9 September 2016. Retrieved on 4 April 2019.
  13. ^ Meany, Marty (May 21, 2020). "Jelle's Marble Runs: MarbleLympics 2020 Gets John Oliver Sponsorship". goosed.ie. Retrieved May 30, 2020.
  14. ^ Matsakis, Louise. "Inside the Hypnotic World of YouTube Marble Racers", Vice, Canada, 5 May 2016. Retrieved on 27 March 2019.
  15. ^ Li, Grace. "Miss the Olympics? Try Marble Racing.", The Harvard Crimson, United States, 27 March 2018. Retrieved on 27 March 2019.
  16. ^ "Jelle's Marble Runs". YouTube. March 2020.
  17. ^ Oliver, John. "Coronavirus VII: Sports: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)". YouTube. Retrieved May 25, 2020.
  18. ^ Coronavirus VII: Sports: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO), retrieved June 29, 2020
  19. ^ Roskopp, Jack (May 21, 2020). "Longing for the Summer Olympics? This virtual Marble League might be the next best thing". KSAT. Retrieved June 29, 2020.
  20. ^ Dicker, Ron (May 18, 2020). "John Oliver Offers Well-Rounded Solution To Coronavirus Sports Void". HuffPost. Retrieved June 29, 2020.
  21. ^ "ENVISION VIRGIN RACING GET THE BALL ROLLING WITH LAUNCH OF WORLD'S FIRST 'MARBULA-E' SERIES". Envision Virgin Racing. Retrieved June 29, 2020.
  22. ^ Mogg, Trevor (April 20, 2020). "Formula E team rolls with marble racing during pandemic postponement". Digital Trends. Retrieved June 29, 2020.
  23. ^ "Formula E team fills the sports void with online marble races". Engadget. Retrieved June 29, 2020.
  24. ^ "Last Marble Standing". www.arlafoods.co.uk. Retrieved June 29, 2020.
  25. ^ McGuire, Pauly (June 21, 2020). "Last Marble Standing: Graze of Glory Dominates Cravendale Cup". OnlineGambling.com. Retrieved June 29, 2020.

External links[edit]