The 4 Day Nijmegen March and how to accomplish it.

~Medals~

I call this award the...
 "Man vs Himself Medal"

because it takes 50% physical stamina & 50% mind over matter to win it.

You'll want to stop and rest too long...but that would cost the event...
you must keep going...march, march!

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At Left: The "Vierdaagse Kruis," an official decoration in the Dutch Military.
At Right: The Orderly/Supporters Medal, (a thank you) for those who assisted others to succeed.


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This is the necklace pouch with water resistant holder for your cards, color coded for the distance 50km.

**Keep track of the routes around Nijmegen.
   Keep track of your bar code card and daily punch cards.
(Critical to completing the event all four days.)
Red = 50 kms a day
Blue = 40 kms a day
White = 30kms a day

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There are areas where the 40 kilometer path splits off from the common path and then rejoins...do not make this costly error as a 50 kilometer marcher and go the wrong way.
Keep your color coded card strap visible so volunteers can help you if you go the wrong way.

You will not recieve your medal unless...
1) You report to the Wedron "start & finish' point each day.
2) Have your bar code card scanned at start & finish.
3) Turn in an accurately punched and completed punch card for that day, every day.


Honest mistakes mentioned have included:
- Following a 40km course when you are a 50km walker.
- Overlooking the 'control' rectors who are always on the move trying to outwit cheaters.

*What a mess if you take a wrong turn and have to backtrack or are looking the wrong way when passing a punch card controller!

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~Medal verification -
You must wait in line daily and verify everything daily~

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At the train station ready to go home...after winning your 4 Day Cross, you'll walk funny a few days and wonder....
"Why did I do this to myself?
But...When the pain fades, all the great memories take its place.

Even in flip flops this girl finds walking uncomfortable after finishing 160 kilometers.
*Women are only required to do 40 kilometers a day for the medal, men must do 50 kilometers a day.

This event promotes physical fitness and is sponsored by New Balence,
 as seen on the event material carrying bags.

~Nijmegen Medal History~
www.nijmegenmedals.com

Older and newer versions of the medals change greatly over time.
The medal above left is currently issued and has the crown incorporated as a graphic element and is 1/2 front only. The medal at right is 50 years old and has a crown which is seperate from the cross and is the same both front and back, a full 3D crown. This is because years ago, you would only get the crown on your second march...to attach to your cross from the first march.

The older version does look like the war medals you see on museum uniforms, very nice sharp details (die struck.) [watch for them on Ebay if you want one]

*I bought the 50 year old version #2 because it was so well made, to save it stored, until I earn it. 
When I finish March #2, I will have it engraved with my numbers.
(After not liking the loose attachment, I fixed the crown in place with plumbers putty carefully on the inside back, so it wouldn't flop around...they just snap together, remaining loose.)

~Nijmegen Group Leader Medal~

The Civilian Group Leader Medal:
If I return to march in Nijmegen again, I would like to go after the third and last type of medal they offer...the "Group Leader."
I'll need 12-14 team members to form together and create a uniform as the rules state "You must be a recognizable group."
I used to have our 66th Maintenance BN red T-shirt...
wish I kept it but I have photos of it to post on the coming Orderly page.

~Morale Support~
In the process of earning your medal...
This event wears on you and it's all about the experience, but also the finish. The locals cheer, provide free food, live music, dance and will encourage you every step of the way.

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Balconies, lawns, roofs, mid-path, alongside you...the locals cheer and support everyone along the way.

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The Dutch people show up in the thousands to support you, they want to see you get your medal and come back.

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Need a canteen re-fill, every family along the route has pitchers or hoses and will fill it for you, just ask.

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Whole families show up to show support for the long stream of marchers who cross their town once a year.

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Girls dance on portable stages set up right in the route...it doesn't get boring with one entertainment after another.

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Each community had its own unique live music band, as soon as one band faded quiet, another was there.

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Live informal local bands did their best to motivate people with marching music as they passed...anything helps to motivate you to keep going..

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Locals create thier own little marching bands that are both entertaining and comical, so many along the way.

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Even passing traffic under the bridge see us and they all honk their horns in support as marchers pass.

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Even the supporting crowd is boiling, it was 92 degrees on day 2, her daughter resorts to using a juice bottle to cool her head like an ice pack.

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Via Gladiola is the final stretch of the Nijmegen March where flowers are passed out. Since I was shooting so many photos on the march I did not get any since my hands were always on my camera but someone gave me one in Wedron later.

~Other Medals~

~IML Walking Association~
http://www.imlwalking.org/
  

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Not known to every Nijmegen Marcher...
You actually qualify for 2 medals by finishing the 4 Day Marches: KNBLO & IML

The International Nijmegen March is one of the marches recognized by the global IML,
(International Marching League) and when you complete the Nijmegen 4 Day you show your finished 4th day punch card to the IML representative and get a 'IML passport' where you can work to earn fitness rewards from their organization. They have numerous events all over the world throughout the year. 
I recieved the entry level bronze medal (seen upper left) and was awarded the 'Netherlands' attachment bar on the ribbon.

*There were people there with the large gold wreath medal (center of photo.)
They had 10+ attachment bars from all the worlds continents.
They spent their retirement fitness walking in: Switzerland, New Zealand, Australia, Belgium, Japan....etc.
The IML representative said "He could have bought a fine automobile for the same price, but now he's in top shape and saw the world instead."

IML Passport where you record your marches and recieve medals, bars and pins.

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Each page of this book has 3 blanks on it, you need to get 3 stamps in these blank spaces to earn reward pins, new countries mean new bars on your ribbon with the countries name. Enough pages filled and you earn the next medal.

IML Bronze Medal with Netherlands bar.

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You will qualify for this medal and bar after completing the 4 Day Marches successfully. To get into the IML, show your completed 4th day punch card, bar code card and 4 Day Medal awarded by KNBLO. You will recieve a passport from IML to start earning medals under thier rewards system.

~IVV~
http://www.ivv-web.org/

Introductory IVV Volksport patch.

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IVV, while not recognized as connected with the Nijmegen 4 Day March is where we got our training as a Nijmegen Team back in 1984. They sponsor 10K and longer events which give out unique medals to participants for that specific march. These events took place all over Germany and our team completed several of them.

IVV records book to keep track of fitness walking.

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You need this book to enter the IVV rewards system and record your walks and marches. After a prescribed number of events, you will earn a distinct pin representing your events walked.

IVV event medals, all specific to one place for that year.

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Our team leader signed us up for 6 IVV events to assist us in training for Nijmegen. Each one a little longer but most were 10 kilometers.

In preparation we all ran the cross country half marathon sponsored by Kaiserslautern Army Community.

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Our times were all better by 45 minutes than is recorded here, but a wrong turn on the way by the van driver cost us a late start. The run was set up through the German State forest of Kaiserslautern, all cross country.

~Past rewards from the United States Army~
(For award winning participation, ranked as the 1st place US team)

My United States rewards for completing the 68th International Nijmegen 4 Day in 1984

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Upper left: US Army Acheivement Medal from John Marsh Jr, Upper right: USAEUR Nijmegen team patch from Lt. Colonel Fitzpatrick, (you could wear this on your fatigue uniform in 1984 while staitoned in Europe,) and Bottom: Presidential Sports Award from President (at the time) Ronald Reagan.

The US Army Acheivement Medal (peace time award)

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Being the fastest and most well trained US Army Team in the 68th International Marches allowed us to be in first place over all other USAEUR teams in 1984.

Certificate from a US General congratulating team members on completing the march.

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General Gerald B. McConnell gave members of our team a "Certificate of Achievement" for completing the 1984 Marches. Completing this march is very difficult and placing first is beyond difficult.

Certificate of Achievement from our Battalion Commander,
for getting the maximum score on the physical training test.

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My physical training test scores were 300 during 1984, 1985 and 1986, which helped me to be selected for the Nijmegen team. Accomplishing a 2 mile run in 11:30 minutes, 80 push ups in 2 minutes and 75 sit ups in 2 minutes on this particular test when I was 19 years old.

Presidential Sports Award from Ronald Reagans' Fitness Council, 1984. 

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I had done over a third of the marching distance as a marcher back in 1984, qualifying me for this patch.

When I was on a Nijmegen Team in 1984, I was a member of the:
21st Support Command, 66th Maintenance Battalion, 593rd S+S Co, Material Storage Specialist.

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Selections were made battalion wide to find 16 soldiers who would be ideal for the team, they all needed high physical training scores and good character records.

Me in 1986 age 21, Supply Seargent Hunter...
It's ironic that I ended up in the 101st Airborne Division,
Nijmegens most loved US unit from WW2
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The Army Acheivement Medal I got for Nijmegen was my highest award.
I only served 3 years active duty during peace time and the Nijmegen 4 Day March was the best experience during my term of service.

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~Traditional Service in Europe 1916-1985~
A family military tradition of 3 generations to serve the allied forces in Europe.
My Great Uncle, Canadian Army Artillery - WW1
Father, US Marines Aviation - WW2 Occupation
Myself as US Army Quartermaster - Cold War Era
(Note the Nijmegen Medal miniatures in the upper right.)

~Recent Awards~
http://www.presidentschallenge.org/

President Obamas Fitness Challenge is the latest version of the Presidents Fitness Council for all ages. Presidential Active Lifestyle Award, April 12, 2009

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For the 'Lifestyle Patch' you must do an hour of exercise consistently for a month with variety.

President Obamas Bronze 'Presidential Champions Medal.' May 22, 2009

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Regular consistent dedication to heal my damaged right knee and ankle over a period of 8 months made this medal possible. Enough points were earned cross training with various activities preparing to do the Nijmegen 4 Day in 2009.

President Obamas Silver 'Presidential Champions Medal.' July 23, 2009

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The silver medal was earned training 600 kilometers for the 2009, 93rd Nijmegen Marches.

President Obamas Gold 'Presidential Champions Medal.' May 23, 2010

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This gold medal was earned training 600 kilometers for the 2010, 94th Nijmegen Marches.
Over the last 24 months I walked a combined total of over 1,000 miles in Nijmegen & Rochester Hills, Michigan.

(however, I was forced to cancel everything and withdraw from Nijmegens 94th walk just days before the event, due to financial reasons.)

[photo coming soon, in the mail to me now]

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williamjh2008@aol.com