In 2009, I started with canicross. Before, I was a member of an athletic club where a friend who had was already been running with dogs, introduced me to the sport. Back then I really liked it and haven’t stopped ever since. Canicross means that I run together with a dog over various terrains. I have three dogs and the one I run with depends on the distance and the kind of track. There are terrains in the woods, in the fields and in parks, but the end goal always remains the same: the one who runs the fastest, wins. I particularly enjoy races with many ups and downs.
Men and women start at the same time in canicross, but the result is split into categories and they are also differently mentioned. This year, I’d love to reach top 10 at the European Championship in Italy, which is the main goal I’m working for now.
There was one teammate, who really had vicious comments with me showering together. After a race that girl didn’t want me to enter the joint showers before she was finished. I told her that I was still the same Ineke as before, but she wasn’t convinced.
Every one of my friends and family knows I prefer women. I find it much easier this way, because when everybody knows, I can just be myself and don’t have to hide my sexuality. I came out in 2013. At that moment, I had already been in a relationship for 3 months and I just introduced my friend as my girlfriend. I didn’t want any secrets about my relationship. I just wanted to be me, and being able to walk hand in hand without making a lot of fuss about it. The reactions were pretty diverse. Some had already suspected it, some others had no clue but didn’t mind and some people needed more time to accept it. I gave them that time.
There was one teammate, who really had vicious comments with me showering together. After a race that girl didn’t want me to enter the joint showers before she was finished. This lasted for quite an amount of races, so I asked her what her problem was exactly. I told her that I was still the same Ineke as before, but she wasn’t convinced. She told me that she couldn’t accept with how I entered the showers without shame. I was very shocked. Luckily my friends stood up for me as they didn’t see any problem. Because of their support, I kept on running. We really have a great team which is also a great part of the reason why I love this sport so much. So I gave that teammate some more time and made sure I didn’t follow right after her to shower. I didn’t know what exactly made her change her mind, but giving it time has helped obviously, because now she doesn’t mind anymore.
Within canicross, there are other lesbian women. They all are very fun people and everyone is really accepted within the sport. I have a great club and coach who take me for who I am. I don’t have any problems to be myself. If you’re in a team who doesn’t accept you for who you are, I can image it leads to big problems. In individual sports, where you have to cooperate less, it’s not so much of an issue. But if I had known that almost everyone would react so positively, I never would have doubted to come out.
If I can give a tip: always try to be yourself and don’t pretend to be someone else than who you really are. And give people the time they need to accept it.