On the 14th-21st of July, I took part in the International Nijmegen (pronounced nye-may-gun) Marches with South and East Midlands Wing ATC Road Marching Team. This was the culmination of months of training. The marches consisted of 4 days of marching 25 miles each day, a total of 100 miles. They were held in the Dutch city of Nijmegen, as they have been every year since 1925!
Hundreds of military teams from all across the world flock to Nijmegen every year to take part in the marches along with thousands of civilians. The atmosphere along the route cannot be matched by any football game or music concert. People line the streets to cheer marchers on. Dutch children hand out sweets and in return, marchers pass them souvenirs like stickers and military badges.
Military marchers over 18 years old must carry 10kgs of dead weight on the march (which doesn’t include water or lunch!), which adds another level of challenge to the event.
South and East Midlands Wing sent two teams to Nijmegen this year, a total of 24 cadets and 3 staff! All but one of the cadets made it, who along with one of the members of staff was prevented from completion due to an injury.
All of the Cadets thoroughly enjoyed the week. Seeing the accompanying 4-day festival was great and we visited the nearby airborne museum and British war cemetery as well as participating in the march, singing all the way!
The march is undoubtedly the hardest physical challenge that I’ve ever taken part in, but the victory parade at the end, lead by the Parachute Regiment Band, wearing my royally approved medal definitely make it worth completing.
Corporal Barnaby Taylor