A tour around the church – report of a pilgrim

'Stevenskerk' by Bart Kouwenberg

In February 2018, Jan Fokke Oosterhof ran the Walk of Wisdom non-stop, not to set a fast time or a performance, but as a pilgrim who wanted to investigate and encounter himself. After more than 17 hours, he returned to the church and succeeded, which he described as “a humbling experience.” Below is his entry for our new Pilgrim’s Book of Hours.

February 17, 2018, 3.46 am: I start my attempt to run the Walk of Wisdom non-stop.

In my opinion, a characteristic of a pilgrimage is penance. Totally exhausted, humbled I want to see the Stevens Church looming in the distance. In addition, running is a way to clear your head so that thoughts can come and go. Wasn’t it Kierkegaard who said, “There’s no problem so big that I can’t run away from it.”
In my case, running. I have no goal, I experience, I experience and reflect, I perform without gain. I run without haste; That’s my pilgrimage. It’s going to be a long (un)thoughtful training.

Inevitably, at the start of the second night, the question arises as to why. No one to encourage you, no one to tell you to. Moon, stars, mortality, everyone dear to me; everything is reviewed. This makes it a true pilgrimage for me.

After more than 17 hours I stumble up the stairs past devil Moenen to the church doors. I claw at the fences and am overwhelmed with emotions. This pilgrim is allowed to stop. I lean forward and tears come.

In 2006 my mother died prematurely from the effects of cancer. Since then, I have indulged in these personal adventures and expeditions with the wish not to become a victim of delayed happiness. A wish for all those other pilgrims on my path.

Jan Fokke included a report of his journey in the book ‘Rennen voor je Leven’ (Running for your Life), which he wrote about the realisation of dreams. You can read more about it on his site .
Photo Stevenskerk: Bart Kouwenberg