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Nijmegen

The International Four Day Marches Nijmegen (or Vierdaagse) is the largest marching event in the world. It is organised every year in Nijmegen in mid-July as a means of promoting sport and exercise. Participants walk 30, 40 or 50 kilometres daily, and, on completion, receive a royally approved medal (Vierdaagsekruis). The participants are mostly civilians, but there are also a few thousand military participants.

Standard categories:

  • 30 km x 4 days
  • 40 km x 4 days
  • 50 km x 4 days

Military category:

  • 40 km x 4 days - Wearing uniform + at least 10 kg backpack (+ water, etc.)

Armed Forces and Cadets from all over the world send contingents to take part in the marches. In recent years the military participants have numbered approximately ten thousand. Although some military personnel march as individuals, they usually march in teams. Military teams can contain as few as eleven members or as many as thirty. Military teams typically march as a unit and sing marching songs, and as a result are very popular with the crowds. Military teams follow a slightly different route to other participants, this is because they do not start in Nijmegen but in the military camp Heumensoord which is built every year just south of Nijmegen. On Friday military participants change uniforms just a few kilometers before the finish, and their superiors will be waiting for them in the stands at the finish. Military participants have a choice of two options; they either walk 50 km a day or 40km when they have at least 10 kilogrammes of dead weight (if they are over 18 years of age), in addition to large amounts of water to keep hydrated in the heat. When temperatures get to high (as in 2006), the military participants are allowed to walk without their dead weight. This decision was also made in 2006, just before the decision was made to cancel the event as a whole.



 
 "Many people line the 40km route each day, cheering you on and offering you sweets, drinks and strangely enough, cucumber. We had trained for months walking 25 miles on every Sunday along London Canals but walking in Holland was a whole different experience. Many who do these marches go on to do it again as the experience is such a great one. I would recommend to anyone who joins the Air Cadets to go and do it"
- CWO Radia
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