Designer Ingmar Birza. "I made a choice from different photo archives. This photo by Henk Blansjaar eventually came out as the best, a nice picture of Reinier Paping skating underneath a bridge in Witmarsum."
The eleven-city skating marathon
In over one hundred years the Eleven Cities Tour took place fifteen times. The most heroic of all tours was the 18 January 1963 edition, which was won by Reinier Paping. Due to the harsh weather conditions, only 69 of the more than 9,000 participants in the leisure skating tour received the prestigious token (a little cross, extended to those who reach the finish in time). Among the participants in the speed skating match the majority was forced to retire – only 10 per cent made it to the finish line. Reinier Paping, born in Dedemsvaart in 1931, was the fastest of them. It had taken the gym teacher 10 hours and 59 minutes to complete the tour, 22 minutes ahead of the runner-up. In the year 2000 viewers of the Dutch TV sports programme Studio Sport voted Reinier Paping the individual sports person who had put up the most impressive sports performance of the twentieth century.
The Eleven Cities Tour is a 200-kilometre skating tour along eleven cities in the province of Friesland, which has been organised by the Royal Association of the Eleven Frisian Cities.
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