The Alternative Four Days Marches has started!
Around 20,000 walkers start walking The Alternative Four Days Marches today, Tuesday 20 July. Not in and around Nijmegen, but at a self-chosen location. The regular Four Days Marches, the largest multi-day walking event in the world, cannot take place for the second time in a row due to the corona crisis.
Walking safe with app
To avoid crowds and to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, participants do not walk the official route. The Alternative Four Days Marches participants walk in their own area with The Alternative Four Days Marches app. The app tracks and records the distance traveled by the walkers. Paul Sanders, director KWBN (Dutch Walking Association): “Walking is in the spotlights now more than ever, and you cannot ignore the positive side effects of walking on the body and mind. This year, we will walk The Alternative Four Days Marches 2021 responsibly again, alone but still together.
Two medals have been designed as keepsakes of The Alternative Four Days Marches 2021. A silver medal for the distances 5, 10, and 20 kilometres. And a gold medal for the distances of the real Four Days Marches: 30, 40, and 50 km.
The Alternative Four Days Marches is for everyone
”The Alternative Four Days Marches is for everyone. Young, old, trained, or untrained, living in the Netherlands or abroad. Anyone can participate. Participants will start from all Dutch provinces, and from more than 35 other countries. There are participants from many European countries, but also soldiers in Canada. In addition, there are participants from Malaysia, for example, and there is even a participant who walks in Antarctica.The youngest participant in The Alternative Four Days Marches is nine years old, and the oldest participants are over ninety.
Henny Sackers, chairman of DE 4DAAGSE Foundation: “With The Alternative Four Days Marches we still offer our walkers in the Netherlands and around the world the Four Days Marches feeling in this third week of July, although we hope to welcome everyone in Nijmegen again next year!”
Symbolic start in Rotterdam
The Four Days Marches started in 1909 as a military march. The average condition of the boys serving in the army had to be improved. A multi-day walking event was very good training for the men. Soldiers from all over the world still participate in the Four Days Marches. That is why the symbolic start of The Alternative Four Days Marches is with a detachment from the Marine Corps and the Royal Netherlands Air Force in Rotterdam. This morning at 04.30 am the detachment started. In four days, they will cover 165 kilometers from Rotterdam to Nijmegen, with a marching kit of 10 kilos on their backs. They have a special purpose this year. They walk in memory of the liberation of the Netherlands, and for the Just in Time 4 Heroes Foundation. “We normally train 400 kilometers per walker in about four months. Normally we walk at a pace of six kilometers per hour. We try to maintain that consistently, during The Alternative Four Days as well.”