In 2011 FMO participated for the first time in the Roparun after previous exclusion from the 2010 race. Thanks to Karin Bouwmeesters effort FMO became one of the few lucky winners of a Ropa start ticket for 2011.
Getting hold of a Ropa-ticket has been a sport in itself, as participants (with ‘proven track record of fund raising capacity’) of last year are given priority , and because the run is 'full' for the last years (a waiting list of more than 100 teams exists): a caravan of several hundred kilometers from vehicles, runners, supporters, because the organization has reached its maximum capacity with 275 start tickets. It was clearly observed that both the organization as well as most teams have years of experience: continuous work on improvements leads to a well oiled machine, which is all about facility management and a good navigation. What started as a pub bet, the Ropa-run has grown in its 20 years of history to an impressive, perfectly organized event.
After months of preparation, (team) trainings, CPC, wine sales, a car wash, ACC tombola, Ropa-lottery, a table football tournament and many team meetings, the FMO team left towards the start in Paris while enjoying an ice cream and a moral boost of many FMO-colleagues. The night before the race consisted of classic joint French meal (‘plat du jour’), and a bottle of champagne (a well rewarded initiative of our driver and mental coach Martijn Groot) near Le Bourget airport, followed by a short visit to the local karaoke bar to reduce some race tension. The FMO crew showed their ‘wanna be a pop star talents’ under the tunes of The Pointer Sisters (I’m so excited) and Dolly Parton (Working 9 to 5).
The FMO team was already at the start immediately laughed at by other, more experienced team; bikes on the bus as the only team (which Roparun Website shrugged: "The enthusiastic FMO team at the start with nice brightly colored sponsor jackets, but how do you fastly remove those bikes from the bus?") And a truck floor full of unorganized stuff, it was clear that the FMO team consisted of "absolute beginners". Many learning opportunities would follow during the race. Like life in general as well as development banking, the Ropa-run is all about 'learning by doing'.