Daan Coenen – Ultra Trail Runner

The running blog > Why I Run

Why I Run

February 28th, 2024

Why I Run | Daan Coenen

The cure

What started as a bucket list thing has grown into a habit.

When I signed up for my first marathon, I thought that that was the end goal. Finishing my first half-marathon a month before the marathon got me hooked.

Hooked to the feeling of the suck.

I started off way too fast, running around 3:30 for the first 10 km resulted in a fast finishing time but also in a very fucking hard race. 

Finishing that race gave me a feeling of euphoria, it came from digging deep. Mentally but also physically. I wanted more.

A month later I had my first marathon, this one was a road race. Finishing in 03:33 I had no idea that it was a fast debut time. I again had to dig very deep, even not being able to run for certain parts.

I remember coming home and feeling like trash. Not being able to walk and craving calories, I laid proudly in my bed.

A few weeks after in found the hardest hiking route in The Netherlands, The Dutch Mountain Trail. It was a 100 km long, and I decided to just wing it.

I went there very early in the morning and started running. I had no experience with hill running or any elevation, so it kicked my ass.

Resulting in only doing a 50k that day, I decided to get the bus to Maastricht. This run got me hooked to trail running. 

Since that day i decided to participate in races and found the Trail Events runs near my house. Even though i had run 50k before that first trail race kicked my ass real good. I finished 50k in a little less than 5 hours. 

That race resulted in more ultra races and even internationally. I signed up for my first 100k in the lake distict. 

I thought i had a good planning but i didnt, not enough elevation in ky training, no nutrition strategy and heat in england? I didnt plan for it!

Even though i finished second that race i was on my knees for the half of the race. not getting in enough calories, lack of water and bad training made the suck real! I wanted more, i wanted this feeling on a regular basis.

That same summer i signed up for the UTML in Luxembourg. This one was a little further than my other 100k. And half of it was in the middle of the night.

I signed up and ran it with a little more planning. The result being still deficient in every part! I was a little more fit, but the nutrition still was a problem. I finished 10th that race, running on a total of 5 liters of coke over the period of 14 hours.

A month after that, I decided to try to run the whole Dutch Mountain Trail. And I set the current record. This was the first time I felt that I could do something I didn’t know I was capable of.

I could run, I could dig, and go very far.

Now, why do I run?

First it was a cool achievement, but now I really found why I run.

I run to challenge myself

I run to be in nature

I run to see what I can do

I run for fun

I run for the suck

And I want to keep diggin’

Running long distances has taught me I can do more than I think I can. It has showed me there is something we are supposed to feel as humans. A feeling of challenge and deep suck. It has learned me to be disciplined. 

Why do you run?