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Former Dutch footballer clocks speedy 15K time

From world-class footballer to competitive age-group runner, Arjen Robben shows off impressive speed over 15 km

arjen robben netherlands football Photo by: W/C

On Sunday, as the 2022 FIFA World Cup kicked off in Qatar, the former captain of the Dutch football team, Arjen Robben, ran a quick 15K at Zevenheuvelenloop (Seven Hills Race) in Nijmegen, Netherlands. Robben clocked a surprising time of 55:01, placing 370th out of 15,000 runners.

Arjen Robben
Arjen Robben (middle-right) presents a charity donation at the Zevenheuvelenloop 15K in Nijmegen, Netherlands. Photo: @nnzevenheuvelenloop/Instagram

The 38-year-old former midfielder retired from professional soccer in 2021 and has taken his prolific speed to road racing. He averaged a pace of 3:40/km throughout the 15K, splitting 5K in 18:34 and 10K in 37:05.

Earlier this year, Robben completed his first marathon in three hours and 14 minutes in Rotterdam. 

Robben was a member and captain of the Netherlands football team from 2004 to 2016, which finished runner-up to Spain at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. During his career, Robben was considered one of the best players of his generation, scoring 37 goals in 96 appearances for his country. 

Soccer is widely considered one of the most transferrable sports to distance running, since you are constantly moving and changing speeds—each game is like a fartlek workout, especially for midfielders.

Zevenheuvelenloop has grown to be one of the largest road races in the Netherlands, attracting more than 10,000 runners annually. In the previous two editions of the race, Letensebet Gidey and Joshua Cheptegei ran the 15K world records.

For the sixth straight year, a Ugandan athlete won the race. Rogers Kibet, 19, followed in the footsteps of his compatriots Cheptegei and Stephen Kissa, taking the win in 42:08. In the women’s race, it was the 3,000m steeplechase world record holder, Beatrice Chepkoech, who took the win three seconds faster than her compatriot Evaline Chirchir in 47:16. 

The Commonwealth 10,000m champion, Eilish McColgan, set a British 15K record with her fourth-place finish in 47:40. 

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