Fourteen thousand very weary walker put their best foot for forward on Friday (18 July) to make some attempt at a triumphal entry into the little Dutch town of Nijmegen.
LV Church PAN TO marchers crossing pontoon bridge
SV Marchers off bridge (2 shots)
SV Man playing accordion
MV ???tch girl walks past camera
SV Cows in field PAN TO GV Marchers along roadway
GV Crowd in Nijmegen
SV PAN sprightly old man walks in
MV Man carrying baby on shoulder
GV Troops and other marchers arriving
MV Blind man arriving and waving to crowd
MV One-legged Swiss competitor receives bouquet
MV Brig. Cook applauding
MV Man on all fours past camera
SV Israeli marchers (2 shots)
SV PAN Third Battalion, Queen's Regiment march in
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Background: Fourteen thousand very weary walker put their best foot for forward on Friday (18 July) to make some attempt at a triumphal entry into the little Dutch town of Nijmegen. They had just completed this year's Nijmegen Walks.
The Walks began 1909. Then, only 41 people took part. Fifty-three marches later, with only a break for the war years, the number of starters this year was over 15,400.
Organised by the Royal Netherlands League for Physical Culture, the Walks are non-competitive events to encourage people to reach their peak of physical fitness. Participants certainly needed to be on top form this year -- in the first two days of the four day event, which began on Monday (14 July) temperatures were over 809 degrees Fahrenheit (26.7 degrees Centigrade). By Wednesday an Englishman and a Dutchman had already died as a result of the marches.
One thousand three hundred and sixteen pairs of feet had given up the trek by Thursday
On the last day, a brilliant sunshine, the first marchers filtered into Nijmegen. They came over a pontoon bridge specially set up over the river by Dutch Army Engineers. Some 200,000 onlooker lined the streets to cheer them home.
The oldest walker was an 85-year old Dutchman, the youngest cheating a little, a babe in arms.
There was a 74-year old Swiss with a wooden leg, who had trained over some 800 kilometres (500 miles) specially for the Walks. He got a special bouquet for his performance. A blind man also got an ovation.
Also among the finishers was a contingent of Israeli girl mineworkers, and a number of military units, including the third battalion of Britain's Queen's Regiment.