- Our first ambassador
Our first ambassador
"A new chance I really want to take" Lubana
Our ambassador Lubana participates in the ABSoluut Gent 10 Mile.
Her country of origin has no tradition of road running; rather of playing football, basketball, tennis or swimming. Lubana herself enjoyed aerobics: “I am not the sporty type, but I like to work out. My drive is to stay healthy and to control my weight. By doing aerobics, I lost about 10 kilograms, but since moving to Belgium and the corona pandemic hit, I quit. When I arrived, all fitness centres had been forced to close. I have no running experience and am fully aware I will have to grit my teeth at the beginning. But I managed to learn Dutch in one year, so I guess the 10 Miles also is doable. Coaching is important to me and I intend to train with Club365 (click here for more information). I really have no idea of the frequency with which I will need to train, I will just follow the program.”
Already in her short professional career in Belgium so far, Lubana has proven there is no stopping her once she has set her mind to a certain goal.
“After I graduated as a civil engineer in Damascus, I came to Ghent to marry my husband, also Syrian but who was already here. It was so hard to leave my family and friends behind”, continues Lubana. “I envisaged a dream job, the job I do today in fact. I realised I had to learn to speak Dutch as fast as possible. Corona made that extra difficult, since classes only took place remotely, but I wanted it bad. I watched Dutch speaking series, such as the VRT series In Vlaamse Velden on the First World War, and always listen to Radio 1. At home, I stick memos to pieces of furniture and objects with their Dutch name. I am learning quickly, but the different dialects remain difficult. Finding a job has not been easy, but once I was given a chance, I took it with both hands. Out of gratitude I go the extra mile. I work hard and when I want something, I won’t let anything stop me from making it happen. I like to discover new things – so when I heard about running the 10 Miles with my colleagues, I did not hesitate.”
"Running was the ideal way to get to know my new colleagues”." Alex Verstraeten (56)
I started working for ABS Bouwteam in October 2021. During the recruitment process, I noticed that the company attaches great importance to sport. For example, there is a fitness room with a treadmill that I have already used a few times.
The weekly running training sessions for the ABSoluut Gent 10 Miles were a fantastic way to get to know the new colleagues. (laughs) That and our moments at the company bar. Once a week we put on our running shoes at five o'clock, which is so much nicer than coming home after a long day at work and having to get going again."
I've been running since I was 16, but I'd never run more than 10 miles. For many years I was a regular line judge in Frank De Bleeckere's team with whom I flagged at European Championships, World Cups and in the Champions League. The walking tests were quite challenging, especially as we got older. I had to give up a lot to flag at that level and weighed 65 kilos for 1m86. When I had to stop at 45, I wanted to enjoy more without breaking the seams. In addition, I now work with young referees.
I think a fit body is part of my role model. Although I don't really like running, that's why I always kept walking three times a week. Usually that was about five kilometers at 4 to 5 minutes per kilometer, but the 10 miles is outside my comfort zone in terms of distance. Every week we walk a kilometer further with our colleagues and we are now at thirteen kilometers. Without the group, I would tend to run at a pace that is impossible to sustain for that long. I already mentioned that running is actually not my favorite sport - that is badminton - but I think it's fantastic to go together for a goal. I am incredibly looking forward to making something of our participation in the ABSoluut Gent 10 Miles on September 18th.”