To the Heysel stadium at midday today for the Brussels Ekiden marathon competition. The idea, Japanese in origin, is that a team of six run a marathon, divided up into runs of five, ten and 7.2 kilometres. There were some 1,200 teams running today. Fifty of them were from the EU institutions, including our EESC team. The rainy conditions were appalling but they couldn’t dampen the warm and positive spirits of the occasion. Committed to the Give EUR Hope charity, which was coordinating the EU’s participation, I had wanted to run myself but fell foul to a flare up of back injury and so had to watch. Our team did itself really proud. In the picture, left to right: Captain: Martin Westlake (ahem!), Fausta Palombelli (Italian), Jakob Andersen (Danish), Alexis Vandersemissen (Belgian), Emily Westlake (English), Julia Manuel (French). Missing from the picture is Johannes Kind (German), who did a Forrest Gump and ran straight home afterwards. Our team was 218th (out of 1,223 teams) and ran the marathon in a respectable 3 hours 13 minutes and 46 seconds – not bad at all.