A four hour parade through the heart of the Dutch town of Nijmegen, with participants from 31 nations, marked the end of the annual July Nijmegen March on Friday (21 July).
A four hour parade through the heart of the Dutch town of Nijmegen, with participants from 31 nations, marked the end of the annual July Nijmegen March on Friday (21 July). The Nijmegen marches encourage physical fitness and international understanding. The first march was staged in 1913 by the Royal Netherlands League for Physical Culture. There were 151 walkers that year. This year the event attracted 16,000 people from all over the world.
SYNOPSIS: The march takes place over four days and more than 100 miles (160 kilometres) were covered. But despite blistered feet and aching limbs, participants did not want to miss the finale; a parade through Nijmegen, cheered on by Batch citizens who showered the marchers with flowers.
This man has participated in the marches for 25 years and the spirit of 1978 was to encourage people off all ages and physical disabilities to walk. It is a non-competitive activity with daily distances set according to age.
The British Police sent a contingent who marched past the stands of civic dignitaries and military chiefs carrying flowers given to them by bystanders. The final 25 mile march had taken place just before the final parade.
The British Army participated with other NATO troops, military bands from several countries and a contingent from the Citizen's Army of Switzerland. After the parade each marcher received a medal commemorating the march.
There were participants from as far away as Japan. This is the second year that the Japanese Walking Club has come to the event. It was the 50th Nijmegen march to be held as an International event. The first foreign participation was in 1928, the year of the American Olympics. In all about 390,000 people have completed the course over the years. The organizers call it "an international peace-loving and peace-promoting sporting get-together".