Written by Jurjen
“I run faster than I speak”, this was the quote we used with members from Demosthenes (the Dutch stuttering association) to raise awareness during running competitions in the Netherlands.
In the Netherlands, there are a few islands in the northern part of the country. These are called the ‘Waddeneilanden’. On each island there is every year an ‘adventure run’ where you can run 5, 10, or 20 km (or other distances) around the island, through beach sand, and hill up and hill down. We, members from Demosthenes, thought it was a good idea to take up the challenge and complete all the islands while wearing a shirt with “Ik ren sneller dan ik spreek” (translated from Dutch to English to: “I run faster than I speak”) to raise awareness about stuttering at the same time. These activities were also meant to gather with members from our organization and stay over for a weekend on these islands as well (and play a lot of Dutch card games!).
During a few of the runs, some people approached us and asked about the meaning of our shirt. There was also a woman who directly recognized why we were having this quote on our backs and told us about her son who stuttered and how he struggled with it. We had an interesting conversation and we told her she could always contact our organization if there were any more questions.
If you wonder about our achievements, one of our members happened to end once on the third place on the 10-km distance and one of us became so motivated that during the run he decided to change his distance from 10 to 20 km.
We hope that when running competitions are allowed again, we can continue our challenge and finnish our island tour, as we still have 2 of the 5 islands and a long path to complete stuttering awareness to go.