The story

Why I do it

“Another beer, please!”. The bar is crowded, and I feel like I am in a maze of darkness. How far can I go this time? Does life matter? I think I want to die. The maze turns into a dazzling blind spot. Everything vanishes, and I’ve got thunder in my head. My friends carry me home. Again.

“This has to stop”, a friend shouts. “We love to help, but this is going too far!”. For this I still thank her and my friends. And my friends kept supporting me. By going for a little walk with me. To just visit me. By sharing beautiful music. Because of this I slowly see the world a little bit brighter. By coincidence I rediscover running. Done this a lot as a kid. Quickly I become unstoppable. Kilometers fly by. This eases my mind and helps me to see my surroundings, my body and myself more clearly. More and more I start to see the bright side of life. I slowly cut back on the alcohol.

A few years and lots of kilometer further, of which a handful of half marathons. Two Belgians tell in Arnhem about their crazy adventure. In 590 marathons they ran from Alaska to Patagonia. This story lets me float. ‘It is possible’, I think. ‘I can do this’, I realise. What if I run in 70 marathons from Gennep to Palermo, and spread acts of joy along the route for the people that are having a hard time? This is what I want to do! I’m dancing on the ceiling when I imagine making someone happy with it. And discovers a bright spot in the darkness. I also took baby steps. I’ll send a card to someone who is having a hard time. I’ll read a poem that gives me strength. I sing my favorite song. I bring an ode to the favorite soccer player of my grandma. Nothing but bright spots across Europe. My eyes twinkle. I believe I can do it.

How I do it

I spread acts of joy. These you can submit yourself, for yourself or someone else. Everyday I run a marathon, and carry out at least one act of joy. This can be a gesture to someone who is struggling or an act that helps you through troubled times. I will also make pictures and videos of it, so you can always relive your act. I will also look for places of joy: places that breathe positivity. I will place a bag of lucky marbles at every place and acts of joy, with a short description about the place or act. I will also put them on an online map. This way everyone can find the places and acts physically and online.

What I want to achieve

My dream is that people that are going through a difficult time, begin to see more bright spots in the darkness. Step by step. And with these bright spots find back a winding path. That eventually leads to a road full of beaming sunlight, where they can look around quietly.

Who I am

We can be heroes. Everyday.

I am Coen, and running makes me very happy. It gives me energy, happiness, peace, cheerfulness, creativity and a clear mind. Over the years I ran dozens of races, including lots of 5 and 10 kilometers, a few half marathons and 1 marathon. I love to help out with projects that carry out positivity, such as Loesje and Seize Your Moments. From my incredible amount of perseverance, positive mindset, detailed training, enthusiasm and fascination to explore and push my mental and psychical borders, I ran in 72 marathons from Gennep to Palermo.

The journey to Palermo brought me new dreams. I ran for love – more about that later – and I’m going to run for freedom on the 5th of may, 2020.