Jelle's Marble Runs
Jelle's Marble Runs
(25 May 2020)
|Total views||73,403,009 views|
(25 May 2020)
Jelle's Marble Runs is a YouTube channel based in the Netherlands, run by Jelle and Dion Bakker based around the game of marbles, marble runs, and marble races. Content on the channel includes videos such as: spoofing the Olympic Games, Formula One, and other sporting events; these videos treat the cast of marbles as though they were athletes. The Marble League (formerly MarbleLympics), portrayed as the "Games", has a choreographed Opening and Closing Ceremony. Many of the sports are designed to resemble Olympic sports. 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 25 May 2020, the current channel has over 1 million subscribers with more than 73.4 million views, a number that has steadily increased, likely as a result of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on sports.
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. The channel features annual series such as the Marble League, the Marble Rally, Marbula One, and the Hubelino Tournament with the same set teams competing across events. Additionally, Jelle produces seasonal Halloween and Christmas content, as well as one-off events such as the A-Maze-ing Maze 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).
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. He currently lives in Nijmegen.
In 2006, Bakker created the first version of the Jelle's Marble Runs YouTube channel. He received the Guinness World Record for the world's longest marble run on May 21, 2009, a record that he held until 2011. 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 ended up partering with Woods, who became the English commentator for the entire series.
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. 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. By March 2020 the channel had regained all subscribers and surpassed its former peak.
On May 17th, 2020, British-American comedian and late-night show host John Oliver announced on his show Last Week Tonight with John Oliver that the show will be the head sponsor for the 2020 Marble League.
The Marble League (formerly the MarbleLympics) is an annual series featuring marbles competing in Olympic-inspired events. At its inception in 2016, 16 teams were invited to compete in 12 events which included the 10 meter sprint, hurdles, and the long jump among others. Each team consisted of four marbles of matching colors and patterns. The champion of the Marble League is crowned based on the aggregate points in all events. Starting in 2017, the qualifiers were held in advance of each Marble League season with the top four teams from the previous year automatically qualifying for the subsequent season. Beginning in 2018, the Marble League featured a host team that took one of the four automatic qualification spots alongside the top three teams from the last year.
The 2018 Marble League was the first and only 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 had faced cancellation due to lack of funding, but a fully paid sponsorship from Last Week Tonight with John Oliver was announced on May 17, 2020 for all 16 events, with winnings going to charities, allowed for the 2020 league to continue as scheduled.
|2016||n/a||Savage Speeders||Mellow Yellow||Thunderbolts|
|2017||n/a||O'rangers||Savage Speeders||Mellow Yellow|
|2018||Snowballs||Midnight Wisps||Savage Speeders||Oceanics|
|2019||Oceanics||Raspberry Racers||Green Ducks||Hazers|
Marble League Showdown
The Marble League Showdown was introduced in 2019 as the lower division series of games for teams who did not qualify for the year's Marble League championship games. The Showdown effectively serves as the preliminary round for the next year's Marble League championship games. Each year, top-ranked teams in the Showdown will be given a chance to compete in the next year's championship qualifiers.
The Marble Rally (formerly the Sand Marble Rally) is a series of offroad marble races, where individual marbles race against each other down a sand or dirt course that has been constructed. The courses feature a variety of obstacles that will impede competing marbles on their way to the finish line. It is worth noting that 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. The Marble Rally Showdown was introduced in 2018 as a series of races for marbles who did not qualify for the championship, giving those marbles a chance to qualify for the next year's championship.
|2016||Ghost Plasma||Big Pearl||Dragon's Egg|
|2017||Dragon's Egg||Red Number 3||Slimer|
|2018||Red Number 3||Phoenix||Superball|
|2019||Red Number 3||Ghost Plasma||Superball|
The first season of Marbula One premiered in early 2020. Marbles race multiple laps around a track with a conveyor belt returning them back to the top. As its name suggests, this series is directly inspired by the Formula One racing series. Sixteen teams from the Marble League were invited to compete in the first two seasons.
Marbula E is inspired by the Formula E racing championship. The series features marble teams named after real FE teams (unlike previous series where fictional teams competed) and racetracks closely based on real-life Grands Prix, and is sponsored by Envision Virgin Racing. The first episode premiered on 18 April, 2020, consisting of a race in a recreation of the Paris Street Circuit, and is narrated by British professional Formula E commentator Jack Nicholls. After some negative feedback from marble racing fans, mainly over popular announcer Greg Woods’ absence, Woods joined Nicholls on commentary for the second race in a circuit based on the Seoul ePrix.
The Hubelino Tournament was a series contested on a course constructed with Hubelino marble tracks and using 20mm marbles. The tournament series was seemingly discontinued as of 2020, and would be succeeded by the Gravitrax Tournament, which would also feature eight brand new teams.
|2016||Green Gang||Ruby Rollers||Golden Wisps|
|2018||Bumblebees||Minty Maniacs||Black Jacks|
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- Bishop, Rollin. "This MarbleLympics Event Pits Marbles Against Fidget Spinners", Vice, Canada, 9 July 2017. Retrieved on 4 February 2019.
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- "Jelle's Marble Runs". YouTube. Retrieved May 25, 2020.
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- Themadmuseum.co.uk Editors. "Jelle Bakker", The Mad Museum, United Kingdom. Retrieved on 5 February 2019.
- Bakker, Jelle. "JELLE’S PASSION" Archived April 23, 2019, at the Wayback Machine, Knikkerbaan.nl, Netherlands. Retrieved on 27 March 2019.
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- "Jelle's Marble Runs". YouTube. March 2020.
- Oliver, John. "Coronavirus VII: Sports: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)". YouTube. Retrieved May 25, 2020.