By Mr. Russell Toof (Regional Health Command Europe)July 25, 2019
NIJMEGEN, Netherlands -- The 103rd edition of Nijmegen, or International Four Day Marches, kicked off in the early morning hours of July 16 with about 47,000 walkers from 73 different countries taking part.
Nijmegen, or Vierdaagse in Dutch, is the largest multiple day marching event in the world. It is organized every year as a means of promoting sport and exercise. Participants walk 30, 40 or 50 kilometers daily depending on their age and gender.
This year, approximately 5,900 members of the armed forces from 31 different countries took part. Among those 5,900, were more than three-dozen Soldiers from Regional Health Command Europe. In addition to those who marched, Soldiers from RHCE provided medical support to all participants.
Landstuhl Regional Medical Center sent two teams to this year's event. They finished in second and third place of all U.S. teams in the Day 3 ruck, the only competition ruck.
"This was truly a team LRMC achievement," said Capt. Aaron Berg, commander of LRMC's Charlie Company and officer in charge of the LRMC contingency to Nijmegen. "We had participation from nearly every command lane in the hospital and representation from each of the four companies and the 86th Medical Squadron."
"At Nijmegen, the comradery of participating forces and civilians, combined with the cheers, high-fives, music and snacks from local citizens always injected energy into the marchers," said Staff Sgt. Augustin Yobunt, a cardiovascular noncommissioned officer.
Maj. Monika Jones was one of three Soldiers who represented Public Health Command Europe.
"I wanted to participate in Nijmegen because of the opportunity to train and persevere alongside military personnel from other nations," said Jones. "Nijmegen is such an amazing example of how members of different countries can help each other out and establish the bonds of friendship through enduring something so difficult together. I am so thankful to have learned of this event and to have been able to take advantage of it while stationed in Europe."
Jones is an Army Veterinarian and currently the officer-in-charge at the Spangdahlem, Germany Veterinary Treatment Facility.
Those who crossed the finished line received the Dutch "Cross for Marching Proficiency," also known as the Kruis Voor Betoonde Marsvaardigheid or Vierdaagsekruis.
The first Vierdaagse took place in 1909 when 306 participants started from 10 different army garrisons around the country to walk 35 kilometers a day for four days.
The 104th edition of Nijmegen will take place in July 2020.