Nijmegen Marchers

A report by Cdt Mian on the Sqns particiaption in the Nijmegen Marches “On Friday the 16th of July 2010 Cadet Corporal Akshay Mandalia and Cadet Shan Mian departed for what would be their first ever experience of the Nijmegen marches, these marches held every year in the small Dutch town of Nijmegen attract over 65,000 participants. Participants who walk 30, 40 or 50 Kilometres (depending on age) each day over four consecutive days, the march has been a huge success since its inception almost 90 years ago. And this year saw the third and fourth walkers from 241 Squadron taking part. These two fine young men have had to spend over 9 weekends training and preparing themselves physically for this gruelling endurance challenge, the cadets were sent out as part of a London wing contingent, and therefore represented the Air Training Corps at a wing level.

Upon arrival the cadets had 3 days to enjoy the vibrant atmosphere, and get to know the town as well as relax and prepare themselves for the march, the cadets from our Squadron had the opportunity to bond with others from the Wing as well as other cadets from all over the Corps. On Tuesday the marching began and the cadets had an early start having to wake up at 1 am in order to prepare to depart at the starting line at approximately 5 am. But when they got on the road the true fun began, because on top of the 65,000 walkers who come from distant lands to attend the march there were approximately 1.1 million people who would wake up at the same time as the participants just so they could line the routes in support of the walkers. Every nook and cranny of the route was crowded with supporters who would hand out free food and drink as well as create a party atmosphere. This atmosphere is an essential part of the walk as it alleviates many of the mental stresses and burdens that a walker has to bear. Thankfully both of the cadets from our squadron completed the march this year, and at least one of the aforementioned cadets is set to return next year to do it all again! They both had a wonderful time and they hope to share their experiences amongst the other cadets from the squadron and get more people involved in this great opportunity, where cadets will be making friends from all over the Corps, as well as do something which many people could only dream to attempt. To be a Nijmegen marcher takes a lot of commitment, mental strength and willpower, but what one gets in return is truly astonishing. We hope to see more cadets from our squadron partaking in the march next year, and letting them experience, what is truly, the walk of the world”

The Sqn Commander, Sqn Ldr Godden stated “this is a excellent achievement by the Cadets, and I would like to thank WO Adrian Munday for organising the training and the actual event”.