Nijmegen 2018

Posted by Sergeant Miller on July 25, 2018

On the week of the 14th-21st July 2018, Sgt Miller participated in the 102nd Vierdaagse Nijmegen Marches as part of the Middlesex Wing military team, representing the British Military Contingent. Her team would complete 100 miles across 4 days is full military uniform.

The International Four Day Marches Nijmegen is the largest multiple day marching event in the world. It is organised every year in Nijmegen, Netherlands in mid-July where over 40,000 people take part – including about 5,000 military. Participants walk 30, 40 or 50 kilometers daily depending on their age and gender, and, on completion, receive a royally approved medal (Vierdaagsekruis).

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. This was an amazing experience for Sgt Miller as it gave her the opportunity to socialise with military personnel from all over the world, including cadets from other UK regions and high ranking officers. She also was able to view some fantastic blisters courtesy of the Heumensoord medic Snapchat story, though luckily she avoided this fate herself!

Whilst there Middlesex Wing payed their respects to the memorial dedicated to the soldiers who lost their lives protecting the town of Nijmegen during WW1. Walking through the graves left cadets reflecting upon the immensity of loss, especially amongst the youth of the time.

On Friday, thousands upon thousands of people line the last few kilometers of road before the finish to cheer on the walkers. That street, the St. Annastraat, is dubbed “Via Gladiola” for the day (the gladiola is the official flower of the marches, and it is tradition to give them to the participants). As far as a week ahead people will reserve spaces alongside the Via Gladiola by placing chairs and even couches. Sgt Miller was one of five Middlesex Wing female cadets in her team to be the first in over 5 years to complete military Nijmegen and proudly marched across the finish line with the British Military Contingent forces.

She encourages other cadets to take the opportunity to be part of such a life-changing experience within cadets!