Brussels Parliament wants to change Brussels into an international running city

Jef Van Damme (sp.a) believes that the success of the Brussels’ 20K proves that Brussels can put itself on the running map

Running is a popular sport world-wide. The success of events like the 20 kilometres of Brussels proves a growing number of both Brusselians and visitors also like to put on their running shoes. As a result of the sport’s growing popularity, the Brussels political majority has drafted a ‘running plan’ on the initiative of Jef Van Damme. This plan aims to put Brussels on the world’s running map.

This Sunday, the 38th edition of the ’20 kilometers of Brussels’ will take place. The popularity of not only the ‘20K’, but also other big and small runs increases every year. One small run enjoying increasing success is the ‘Brussels Canal Run’, organized by Jef Van Damme himself. In only a couple of years the event has grown from a handful of runners to hundreds. The famous ‘heat maps’ of running apps show that Brusselians love to run. The Sonian Forest and the Bois de la Cambre, as well as the famous Brussels’ parks like the Royal Park and the Elisabeth Park are popular in runners’ circles. But runners also head more and more for suitable axes for running: the Canal, Avenue Tervueren, the Green Trail around Brussels …

On the proposition of Brussels’ MP Jef Van Damme, the regional political majority wants a real running policy for Brussels. Recreational running is, indeed, not only healthy, pleasant and within reach of most Brusselians, it is also a growing touristic asset. Like other international cities, Brussels has to become an attractive running place:

“Recreational runners mostly don’t need a lot: a good pair of shoes, attractive itineraries for running and here and there drinking fountains or public toilets. We want that Brussels drafts a ‘running plan’. We also want an overview of available running itineraries and a broad communication about running towards Brusselians and visitors. We want that the Brussels’ regional government and the municipalities take running into account as they design public space and parks. The installation of drinking fountains, toilets or lockers on well-chosen sites can make a big difference for runners.”

The advantages of a city that is attractive to runners are many, according to Jef Van Damme:

“Running is healthy, allows people to get to know different neighbourhoods in their city, and is a qualifier for the touristic attractiveness of cities. And there is a bonus: well-designed public space that is attractive for runners is also beneficial for everybody who wants to move around by foot or by bike.” 

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