Thirty-one U.S. Army Europe Soldiers from Wiesbaden and Hohenfels took part in the 102nd Four Days March in Nijmegen, Netherlands. The Soldiers marched 100 miles in total carrying 22 pounds of weight. Each day, July 17 to 20, the participants marched 25 miles; anyone who did not finish by 5 p.m. was disqualified.
It was a challenging march that required a lot of preparation and training. The Soldiers started training in February, and marched every week from February to July.
“We would start at 4:30 in the morning. We did training with our boots on and the rucksack. As we got closer, we started to train with the uniform on,” said Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Salles. “Almost 500 kilometers of training for this event, and that was key to everyone’s success.”
The event attracted 47,000 participants from 68 countries in total, 5,500 military members from 27 countries among them.
“This is my second year doing it,” said Staff Sgt. Matthew Landry. “I went back because of the international relations that you create, the camaraderie amongst all the different nations.”
Landry said he also appreciated the attitude of the local population there.
“They are pro-military and they enjoy inspiring and motivating anybody who is participating in Nijmegen.” Even though it is a stressful and physically demanding event, it does not feel like it, because of the motivation and cheering from the civilians, Landry added.
“I did it because I knew I like challenges, and I knew it was going to be a big challenge,” said Salles, who was the group leader during the march.
The group started with 31 Soldiers, and on day four, 28 finished the march. The three that dropped out had serious pain issues or injuries, but nevertheless supported the success of the group. “The three that couldn’t complete it helped out the rest of the time. It was really helpful for us to have them,” Salles said.