1094 (Ely) Squadron Air Training Corps


Nijmegen

One of the best experiences I have had the opportunity to do while I have been in the cadets was take part in the 4daagse (4 day) Nijmegen marches. This is an annual event in Nijmegen, Holland where participants walk for 4 days of varying distances. Last year (2016) was the 100th march and 50,000 people applied to take part in the marches, with temperatures over 300C every day with >80% humidity, it certainly was memorable.
The best part about the Nijmegen marches, and every participant will tell you this, is the atmosphere, there is no event like it that I have ever experienced, it has no British equivalent, this international event brings people from all around the globe and the festival and support the locals give to everyone, not just the participants, is nothing short of outstanding.
People line the whole 160km route with stands, food and drinks, music, massage stops and more. At 4am in the morning people are out of their homes, decorations everywhere, watching thousands of people walk past, houses play music, children hold out bowls of snacks such as marshmallow, cucumber and liquorish, people drain hoses out of their houses to the road for walkers to walk under and cool them down. Walkers pass gifts such as stickers and badges to children along the route, showing appreciation of the support we gain every year.
Leading up to the marches, once a month is the training marches, starting in the October leading up to the march which takes place in July every year. The training marches start off as 13 miles in one day up to 50 miles over 2 days, the training ending with the Waendall 2 day walk in Wellingborough. The training is a great bonding experience and gives a great idea of the physical and mental strength required to complete the marches.
Although the marches are a challenging event, with a lot of commitment to the training (and stubbornness to get through it), I can honestly say it is the best thing I have done in my life to date, the sheer sense of achievement after every training march especially when finishing the 4-day walk is a feeling experience I will never forget.
-Cadet Sergeant Sutton
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