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What if Lab​: Marathon Eindhoven

03 February 2017

Every year hundreds of marathons are organised around the world, in ordinary and surprising places, from Eindhoven to the Great Wall of China. The character of each of these events is inextricably linked with the environment in which the event takes place.

Design the ultimate finish for the 34th Eindhoven Marathon

Eindhoven is characterised by innovation, cooperation and creativity. The connections between technology and science, the manufacturing industry and design are in the region’s DNA.

To make participation in the Eindhoven Marathon a unique and unforgettable experience we now call on the help of designers with the following design assignment:

Design an experience so that the Eindhoven Marathon runners will never forget crossing the finish.

Is this a project that is right for you? Do you think that you can design an experience that will put the coming Eindhoven Marathon squarely on the map for national and international runners? Then register now! You can register until Friday 17 March via this link..   

The design brief is wide and we encourage designers to develop ideas of the experience of crossing a finish line from their own angles and vision. 

This year we expect 26,500 participants from more than 45 countries at the start of the Eindhoven Marathon. Runners can take part in various distances: Marathon (42.195 km), Half Marathon (21.1 km), 10 km, City Run (4.5 km), Mini Marathon (1.5 km). The event attracts around 200,000 spectators each year. In addition to facilitating top performances in sport the Eindhoven Marathon feels very strongly about the recreational aspect. It has to be fun for the participants, friends, family, the public and for the entrepreneurs in the city of Eindhoven.

Registration and procedure



Registration for the What if Lab x Eindhoven Marathon is open to professional designers, design studios and student (teams). Participation as a team is advised considering the size of the design assignment, but is certainly not a requirement. You can register until Friday 17 March via this link. 

When registering we ask designers to submit a reference for 2 to 5 relevant previously executed projects with a motivation in which you indicate why you want to participate in the What if Lab x Eindhoven Marathon and what your unique added value as a designer is for this project. So it is not necessary to submit a fleshed out design solution at this stage.

Please note: it is not possible to save data you have entered in the registration form and to complete it later. We recommend that you flesh out the following data / text in a word processing programme like Microsoft Word before completing the registration form. 

Description of relevant projects: max 150 words for each project.

Motivation for participation: max 600 words

Images: JPG. The minimum number of pixels wide that images need to be is: 600 pixels, 72 dpi. The images must be no greater than 2MB in size.



Dutch Design Foundation and Eindhoven Marathon will select 5 designers/studios once the registration period has closed.

The 5 selected participants will be given a budget of EUR 1000 for fleshing out and presenting their ideas to a jury during Dutch Technology Week. The jury will select one idea from these that will be fleshed out in detail and utilized at the Eindhoven Marathon on Sunday 8 October 2017.

In the run-up to the presentation during Dutch Technology Week, Dutch Design Week and Eindhoven Marathon will arrange a Masterclass for the 5 participants and there will be an opportunity to take part in a running event. Above all, there will be opportunities during the development of the concept to check the ideas with the Eindhoven Marathon organisers. Eindhoven Marathon will inform the participants during this phase about the prelimiting conditions that need to be taken into account in the development of the design solutions.

In addition, the 5 selected concepts and the project that is implemented during the Eindhoven Marathon will be presented in an exhibition during Dutch Design Week 2017.



The criteria to be employed by the jury:

-       Originality and innovativeness;

-       Impact of the impression of the Eindhoven Marathon on the participants and the spectators;

-       Feasibility of the idea and the applicability of it for the Eindhoven Marathon 2017;

-       Suitability considering the character of the event.


Fleshing out

The designer/studio of the design selected by the jury receives a budget of EUR 4000 for the fleshing out of the concept in a definitive proposal, with possible prototype, budget and working drawings. Dutch Design Foundation and Eindhoven Marathon will, where possible, actively link partners to the project who can offer support in the fleshing out.

After presentation and approval of the definitive proposal an amount of EUR 10,000 will be available for the implementation during Eindhoven Marathon 2017 on 8 October.

If the definitive proposal is considered impractical by Eindhoven Marathon due to practical reasons, Eindhoven Marathon has the right to cancel the implementation.


Intellectual Property / Copyright

Both the intellectual property rights (IP rights) and the copyright will remain with the designers at all times. The designers will licence these rights to Eindhoven Marathon for a period of 3 years. Acquiring the licence of the aforementioned does not relieve Eindhoven Marathon from involving the designer concerned in a possible further development of the selected design. The 5 selected participants give Dutch Design Foundation and Eindhoven Marathon permission to publicise and exhibit the results of the What if Lab x Eindhoven Marathon. They will, if requested, supply the necessary materials for both Dutch Design Foundation and Eindhoven Marathon.



The timeline below is indicative. Dutch Design Foundation and Eindhoven Marathon retain the right to implement this if considered necessary.

12 February: Kick-off

17 March: Deadline registrations

20 March: Announcement selection 5 designers/studios/teams

30 March: Deadline submission proposals

16 May: Presentation of the proposals during Dutch Technology Week and selection of the proposals to be fleshed out.

7 July: Presentation fleshed out proposal, budget + approval for start definitive fleshing-out

8 October: Marathon Eindhoven

21-29 October: Dutch Design Week



Want to know more about Eindhoven Marathon? Visit

If you have any other questions, please contact the programme manager Dries van Wagenberg.



What if Lab


Rapid developments create challenges for which we do not always have ready-made solutions. Designers possess the inventiveness and creativity that form the basis for innovations. For changes modern society – and that of the future – demands. 

What if Lab challenges industry and the design world to offer tangible answers to current issues. Companies and service providers get the opportunity to work closely with professionals in design. Designers who can tackle sizeable, highly complex challenges – and at the same time expand their network.

What if Lab is a Dutch Design Foundation* initiative. For more information, visit the website (or call us):



* Dutch Design Foundation

Dutch Design Foundation (DDF) is optimistic and believes in the problem-solving abilities of designers for advancing the world. Which is DDF offers designers opportunities, support, publicity and a platform. DDF organises Dutch Design Week and Dutch Design Awards, but is active far beyond the Netherlands. Throughout the year they organise debates, lectures, exhibitions and meet-ups. Putting the best and most promising designers in the spotlights, and introducing their ideas and designs to the world. 


12 Februari 2017: Kick-off


On 12 February there was a kick-off for the Lab, in the films below you can watch the presentations by the speakers. Martijn Paulen, Dutch Design Foundation director, provides a general introduction. Harm Sengers, experienced marathon runner, explains about his experiences running the Marathon. Gordon Tiemstra from the Department of special affairs explains about the method they developed themselves and how this could be of added value for this design assignment.


Presentation Martijn Paulen

Presentation Harm Sengers

Presentation Afdeling Buitengewone Zaken