Participating in Nijmegen

I will keep it brief.

For the past 4 years I was willing to attend the Nijmegen march as a cadet. In 2022 I begun preparations for the 2023 march. I basically done everything to get onto the course. Every time any marching event came up I signed up, as I know you have to complete the BRM beforehand.

Unfortunately I was always declined from these events. Further on, this was worrying as I can’t do anything to get myself on these training practices (yes I did the forms). I done everything to get myself on the course.

At this point In January, I got informed that I can’t attend this year and should try next year 2024. What will happen next year? They will say 2025. Yes I didn’t complete any marches (yes I was declined from them).

I’m looking for some ideas if there are ways to attend this years Nijmegen because I can’t eternally skip them for another year.

As a question, can you complete the Nijmegen march outside cadets and still get qualified for it in the ATC? If so, are there trainings I have to do?

To add on, I did a 30km training walk in 2019.

Thank you, I am desperate.

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Hi! There’s lots of experienced road marchers on this forum so you’ve come to a good place for opinions. It’s good to see people keen to enter road marching!

Nijmegen is definitely “the big one” (yeah there’s other challenges like Dodentocht but it’s definitely the most famous), and it’s a big physical challenge. Participants should be appropriately trained to avoid injury and keep chances of completing high, and unfortunately it doesn’t sound like you’ve had that training at this point. Because of that, I for one would recommend nailing the phys next year by getting to as many practices as possible and training independent and get out to Holland in July 2024.

If you are mega keen to get out there this year, it is possible to go civvie. I believe under 18s are allowed to march alone but I would have thought you’d need to get out there with a perant. Be aware that training is essential, if it was me starting training at this stage as a newcomer I would probably train fortnightly, progressively working my distance up to 40km+ per session. This year Nijmegen applications are first come first serve, with the under 18 age bracket for applications starting yesterday, the price for applying is €109. I’m not sure on if completing Nijmegen civvie solo will qualify you for the badge, but your point of contact will be your OC who can ask the regional road marching officer.

Good luck with whatever option you choose, road marching is genuinely a really cool activity, in my opinion the experience you get at Nijmegen is worth more than any badge is!

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The question is, after walking 30km were you absolutely shattered or think you’ll be physically able to walk another 10km and then repeat for the following three days? Nijmegen is a four day event. You have to be able to walk for consecutive days.

30km is a good start. I would personally recommend training at LEAST once monthly from now until Nijmegen 2024. Start at 15km and increase by 5km with each training walk. Once you hit 40km in a day, start walking the day after too, building up to 40km x 2.

You want to train yourself to be walking 40km for three days in a row. If you can do that, Nijmegen will be a breeze.

If you want a road marching challenge where it’s all done in one day, Dodentocht (100km in 24 hours) is what would be more appropriate. However be warned if you do not train properly for this your legs/body will give in. People were getting taken away in ambulances at the halfway people when I did it last year. @cdt1 maybe you saw this too…). I personally did Nijmegen before even considering Dodentocht though.

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My 2 cents…

Don’t be desperate or disheartened that you weren’t selected this year, the RAFAC involvment in Nijmegen is going through a change at the moment.

Did you get any feedback as to why you weren’t slected for this years training walks? (Perhaps ask your OC to email the Road Marching Officer for feedback)

In all honesty, the numbers of cadets that can complete the walks are limited by the number of staff (walking and aupport) that your Wing Road Marching Officer has helping out.

Keep applying for the Blue RM, keep practicing as the others have said, probably don’'t try to do the Dodentotch without sufficient practice.

Lots to unpack here…

Firstly - have you been given any official explanation of what’s going on at the moment with Nijmegen by your Squadron Staff, Wing Staff / Wing Road Marching Officer?

You should be able to email your WRMO to ask a polite but direct question as to what the current situation is.

The answer at this moment in time however is likely to be brief and not overly helpful as information is still being cascaded down.

If you use the search function in this forum, you will find LOTS of unofficial chatter about what has been happening too.

You may also find some explanations as to why things are up in the air.

As things stand, to get your Nijmegen RM Badge, you need to have completed the Blue RM syllabus and the Nijmegen March.

The situation is currently unclear whether you could participate as a civilian individual, outside of RAFAC and like doing DofE at school, put in for your badge with cadets… I’m pretty certain that at the very least, you would need to have completed your Blue.

Has your WRMO announced any plans for RM training this season?

Without giving any personal info away - how feasible might it be for you to participate with a neighbouring Wing - who ARE training?

Next - until the final news comes out regarding arrangements for this year at Nijmegen - and the future, if you are still very keen to go, then you could consider going as a private individual.

Before you consider this, you REALLY must understand a few things… first of all, exactly WHAT is it about Nijmegen that you are wanting to achieve / experience?

If it’s the participation in a team - and you’re under 18, then you’re going to be best served by looking at sticking with RAFAC - or, perhaps discussing things with your school / college PE / DofE staff. Doing Nijmegen as part of a team, especially your first time, is certainly “better” as you’ll have an abundance of support around you!

If the team aspect is of less importance AND you are OVER 18, then you could consider going as an individual with one of a number of walking groups.

If you are under 18, although the rules of the Dutch Organisation that runs the Vierdaagse permit younger participants, you may find it difficult to find a group that will accept responsibility for a young person.

If you are under 18, do you have a family member / appropriate adult friend of the family that would be prepared to chaperone you for the entire event - better yet, do you have a family member that might train and walk with you?

This in itself may be complicated due to the age of your companion/s due to the minimum distance that individuals must walk.

For example, if I took my son - aged 16
And I was 48… my son would be eligible to walk 40k per day - but I would have to walk 50k per day! To walk together, either my son would have to walk 50k for us to both be able to get our certificate and medals - or, I would have to attend as a “companion”, which would mean that I wouldn’t received the certificate or medal - but my son and I could walk “just” 40k.

There is even a 30k option in this scenario for under 16’s.

The arrangements are very complicated and need a bit of reading!

Your WRMO may be able to advise on recommendations of non-RAFAC walking groups with British and Dutch connections.

If you are over 18, then you could obviously organise your own participation with one of these groups and go by yourself… Dependkngnon which group you went with, I can just about guarantee you that you will find other people with boundless information, tips and support…

If you’re under 18 - another hypothetical situation could be to go on holiday with a parent - they can can enjoy the local area and the incredible atmosphere created by not only the walking event, but the four day music festival in the city - and be on hand to support and see you at various points of the days walk - and be at the finish line to congratulate you…

If you DO decide to participate beyond RAFAC it is imperative that you factor in regular training.

Some teams use a training programme of fortnightly walks of increasing distance in the run up - others have a programme of monthly 2 day training walks of increasing distances.

There is an ENORMOUS amount of information available via Sharepoint that your Sqn staff / WRMO should be able to help you digest.

From my own personal experience - having walked as a companion to my son who was too young for the team - going as part of a team IS absolutely amazing!

Going as just my son and I, with some friends made the event no less special - just vastly different! The atmosphere of the crowd and the walkers was still there - but the camaraderie and collaboration of being part of a team wasn’t.

That first time with my son was VERY special - and was an experience I will never forget - but having participated in a team, with all the jokes, singing and banter was also very special.

Going in a small group or individually means you can set your own pace, take your own breaks etc - going as part of a team you rely on everyone else to do their bit, as they rely on you to do yours…

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Can confirm… Dodentocht is just something else, but goes to show how important training is.

This is a very good point, and if you ask it shows initiative and earns brownie points!

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None. I have emailed the wing road marching officer and they said that I have to do BRM in march and attend Nijmegen in year 2024. No I don’t want to attend Nijemgen next year I want to attend it this year, I waited too long.

I am in the 16 - 18 age group, so I need to do 40km per four days?

I am a confident walker and I can manage 40km walk a day (In my own pace). I also do personal trainings.

Thank you for all the replies! I do want to attend Nijmegen this year though, I waited too long!

Are you so determined to go this year because you’ll be 19 next year and need to walk 50km x 4?

I can do 40km in a day, but can I do that for 4 days on the bounce and at a decent pace; no.

Can you?

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It depends.

Males:

If you go civilian or as part of the British Military Contingent as an under 18, it’s 40km per day

If you go as a civilian as an over 18 (as well as being under the upper age limit), it’s 50km per day

If you are over 18 and are a part of a military contingent, it’s 40km per day carrying 10kg of dead weight (like sand)

Females is abit different age wise and distance wise, but it shouldn’t affect you if you are a lass given your age, other than when you turn 18 you will not be required to carry weight and only have to walk 40km if you go civvy

Small detail - but the 10kg deadweight can include the unloaded weight of your webbing / rucksack / daypack and your EMPTY Camelbak / hydration pouch or bottles. Depending on the total weight of these items, you could reduce the deadweight burden down to about 6 kilos…

To put it into context, the “10kg deadweight“ is intended to act as a handicap, to replace the 10km that should have been walked

Having walked 50km last year at Nijmegen and 40km at Cosford - give me 50k any day - but maybe that’s because I’m old and overweight!

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Trying to be as sympathetic to your situation as I can, and really wanting to do Nijmegen THIS year - as far as I can see it, you have these options…

Contact a neighbouring Wing and ask about training and participation with them - BUT - best in mind that demand for spaces, if Nijmegen IS given the go ahead by HQAC, demand is certainly going to outstrip availability - and Wings will find it hard to justify giving up a space that they could fill by one of their own cadets…. That’s not to say that will happen - but it is fair.

Find an adult male family member / close personal friend, who was born in 1973, who is prepared to walk all 40km each day and go to Nijmegen with you! (Or adult female, over 18).

Or, find an appropriate adult, that is prepared to travel to Nijmegen and act as a “chaperone” to keep an eye on you when you’re NOT MARCHING - but who doesn’t walk with you…

Or, find an adult male, who is over 18, who is prepared to walk with you as a non-medal warning Companion…

I must also point out one CRUCIAL detail that I didn’t mention earlier - and I don’t think has been mentioned by anyone else…

COST

The cost to participate via the BMC varies slightly by Wing - but is typically around £200 / £250… because it is heavily subsidised.

I went civvie last year and paid about £560 for my accommodation, messing, first aid / support team and rest area access (x3 daily) and daily shuttle bus to and from the start line.

I chose to fly out, from LHR to AMS, then got the train from Schipol to Nijmegen, then a local bus to the sports centre I was staying at… total cost for travel about £180, plus travel to/from LHR…

Given the highly sensitive situation regarding civilian participation at Nijmegen at the moment, I would be staggered if your Sqn or Wing would be prepared to offer financial assistance - but that’s not to say they WON’T.

One massive reason for going this year, is that there’s no entry ballot.

It is essentially first come, first served…

But again - not without complications!

If you haven’t already - take a look at www.4Daagse.com/en

If you have ALREADY completed at least ONE Nijmegen - OR - you were born between 2005 and 2011, you can register NOW and be assured of a space!

This first application window will remain open until either 10th February - OR - until 47,000 people have registered.

If by the 10th of Feb, the 47,000 figure has not been reached - then it will be opened up to all other applicants - from 13th Feb until either the 47,000 figure has been reached, or until… can’t remember when… but not much longer!

In previous years, unless you were in a team, and it was your first time - you went in a ballot to secure a place - and the results of the ballot wouldn’t be known for about 2-3 months after you shoukd have begun training!

It is fantastic to see someone so keen and enthusiastic - but like everyone else here; I would desperately not want to see you injure yourself or fall foul of “them upstairs!”

HQAC has been very clear so far about there being no official or even in-official civvy teams - so please don’t be tempted to form one.

But - there would be nothing to stop you from participating as an individual under your own steam - but I would urge you to have a well considered plan in place about how you’re going to do it - and would also urge you to contact a walking organisation that participates at Nijmegen, that ideally has both British and Dutch staff - but you will need an appropriate adult to travel with you - unless for example you booked a hotel room for the duration… beware the prices will be exorbitant!

They definitely can be, but if you’re short on cash you can certainly be savvy about it.

I did Airborne last year civvy, flew to and back from Eindhoven, went via train to Arnhem (Nijmegen’s neighbouring city) and stayed in country for 3 days, spent about £150 on the flights, accomodation (a BnB in the village Velp) and any transport in country. Booking.com etc is deffo your friend! Obviously this wasn’t for as long as you’d spend at Nijmegen, but there are places to cut costs :thinking:

Yes, I forgot to mention that part! I’ve always trained with the extra weight though then walked to as close as 10kg with included kit as possible just to be as ready as possible

If you can’t go in training marches start attending walking events in a personal capacity. Waendal I’m Wellingborough, Pathfinder, the RAF 2 Day…there’s loads. This will then be evidence for the course you want (RMTL I’m assuming).
Heck, go do Nijmegen as a civvie. It’s what I do as I enjoy walking with my friends.

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