The SHAPE International Marching Team competed in the Nijmegen marches in the Netherlands from July 16-19, 2019, the largest multiple-day marching event in the world.
Over 50,000 people from more than 60 countries, including several thousand military personnel, gather in the Dutch city of Nijmegen annually to take part in this event. Military teams walk a total of 160km while carrying 10kg of weight.
"As a team of nine different nationalities, we are proud to represent the diversity of the SHAPE community," said German Master Sergeant Thomas Arnhold, SHAPE International Marching Team Leader. "The Four Day Marches are both a mental and physical challenge, but the team performed exceptionally, and I was proud to hand out their medals this afternoon."
The SHAPE team went through some rigorous training in preparation for the event. Training began in March with "short" walks of around 15km, leading up to a 65km 2-day march in Blankenberge, Belgium and an 80km march in Diekirch, Luxembourg.
"It was tough going at times, but a wonderful experience and I am so proud to have completed the marches today," said Staff Sergeant Andreea-Diana Palangeanu. "The SHAPE team spirit and amazing welcome of the people of Nijmegen got me through it."
The "Vierdaagse" (Dutch for "four day march") is an annual walk that has taken place since 1909, and has been based at Nijmegen since 1916. Originally a means by which the Dutch infantry aimed to increase their long-distance marching and weight-carrying ability, the popularity among military and civilians alike has increased year-on-year. Participation is now so in-demand that a restriction has had to be set on registration.