Participation in races is, contrary to popular belief, available for anyone. Whether we are talking regional competitions, IUTs (Inter Universitary Tournament), NSKs (Dutch Student Championships), marathon races, or shorttrack races, everything is possible!

Competition (day) license
day license is sufficient for skating IUTs, NSKs and up to 3 regional competition races. Day licenses for IUTs and NSKs are taken care of by the organizing committees, but not for the regional competition. To get a day license, you need a KNSB (royal Dutch skating association) relation number. You should have received this number after becoming a Lacustris member. If not, please contact the competition secretary ( skate more than 3 regional competition races, you will need to apply for a competition license from the KNSB. In the past this was done by the competition secretary, but due to regulatory changes license applications have to be done by the skaters themselves on the KNSB site. This license is also valid for skating marathon and shorttrack competitions, and automatically expires after a year. Make sure to extend your license’s validity if you want to be able to keep skating competitions!

Registration for the BGP Regional Competition races (organized regularly at the Triavium) can be done on this site. Participation costs for these races are between 13 and 16 euros, depending on the distance. Registration for IUTs and NSKs is done via the organizing committee. Check the competition calendar for competition dates and where and when to register. As competitions have a maximum number of participants, there are often qualification rules. For IUTs, qualification is on a first come first serve basis, meaning that you will have to register soon after registration opens! Qualification for NSKs, however, is based on the skaters’ best season times. 
Good to know: it is possible to get a partial refund of participation costs via the participation subsidy provided by the NSSR. Check this page for more information on this subsidy and how to apply for it.

Race preparation
Make sure that you arrive at the track about one hour in advance, so you will have enough time to check the draw, do a proper warm-up, discuss your race with the coach, and do some warm-up laps on the ice.
Let us start with the startlist. A startlist (also called draw) can be quite confusing when seen for the first time, as it consists of a mix of numbers, colors, names and times (see example below). To the far left you will find the pair number, which is linked to the two names that make up the pair. Each rider is assigned a color, which corresponds to either the inner lane (white and yellow) or the outer lane (red and blue). Riders have to display their color using an armband on their right armRaces are usually skated in quartets, with two pairs starting shortly after eachother.Additionally you will find each rider’s PR (personal best time) and ST (season best time) for that particular distance. Often the startlist is made based on the STs to assure evenly matched pairs.

In short, this is what you should do once the startlist is made public:
Step 1: search for your name on the list
Step 2: note your pair number
Step 3: note your armband color
Step 4: put on the appropriate armband
(if you do not own any armbands, you can usually borrow one from the race organization or from a fellow Lacustriaan)

Have you done everything stated above? In other words, did you register, do a warm-up, check the startlist, put on your suit and the right armband, and put on your (sharpened) skates? Then it is time to get on the ice! Make sure to start your warm-up on the ice 10-12 minutes before your race starts, so you can get a good feeling for the ice. In any case, do not start you warm-up too early, or you will risk getting cold again! Also, avoid spending too much energy during your warm-up, take it easy. For example, skate one or two easy laps, followed by a short acceleration and a practice start when preparing for a short distance. For longer distances, take a bit more time and replace the practice start with a couple of easy laps.

Approximately 2 minutes prior to the start, go to the starter aide. The aide will check if you have the appropriate armband and indicates when you should move to the start. Before heading to the start, make sure to get rid of any excess clothing. Usually the speaker will announce when riders should prepare for their race, but it is better to keep track of time yourself as well. In the case of a 500 meter race, it is best to start getting ready two quartets ahead of your race. In other words, if you are in pair number 9 (quartet 5) you should start preparing when pair number 5 (quartet 3) is at the starting line. For longer distances preparation time is less than 2 quartets, as races obviously take more time. When racing in Nijmegen, please note that the warm-up lane is extremely small and therefore not suitable for (safely) warming up. Make sure that you are warmed up extra well and take your time getting on the ice, as you will easily cool down prior to the race.