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Elfstedentocht is the name of a skating marathon on almost 200 kilometers of natural ice, constituted by the congealed channels of Friesland. Frisios of several cities arrives at the city of Leeuwarden to be present at the event, that is only realized when conditions allow the climatic it. A singular event in the low temperatures of the winter of Holland.

Iceskating, Friesland

The march is organized by the Union of the Eleven Frisias Cities, that demand a thickness of 15 centimeters of ice like minimum throughout all the passage like condition for the development of the event. The exit and the goal are the city of Leeuwarden, capital of Friesland, and the route includes the eleven cities: Leeuwarden, Sneek, Ijlst, Sloten, Stavoren, Hindeloopen, Workum, Bolsward, Harlingen, Franeken, Dokkum and again Leeuwarden.

During the inscription, each participant receives a registry card that must be sealed in the eleven cities, and two located control posts arbitrarily in the passage and whose location is secret. Who arrive at the goal before the campanadas ones of midnight receives a participation medal and the Cross of the Eleven Cities - a cross of Malta with the map of the province of Friesland in their center.

Several thousands of spectators meet to give spirits to the participants. Many Dutch move to Leeuwarden to at night form part of the eve of the event, well-known like the Nacht van Leeuwarden - or Night of Leeuwarden, during which a celebration in the streets is developed in all the city.

IMP Mulier was first in realizing the route through the eleven cities, in 1890, and promoted the organization of the first marathon in 1909. Also it designed the Cross of the Eleven Cities. Due to the thickness of the ice required for its celebration, this march has taken place 15 times since it was created.

And, although the temperatures in the years in which her organization is possible have reached -18ºC, the phenomena really feared for the participants are the wind and the snow, that can cause that the ice is unsuitable for the skating.

Photo Via: geometricrate.com

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