During the last week over 40000, that’s forty thousand, walkers have been taking part in the 100th edition of the 4Days of Nijmegen. On Tuesday morning the 40 000 walkers set out in waves to walk the first day on circular routes in and around the ancient Dutch City. They walk distances from 20 to 50 kilometres depending on age. Military teams carry standard military packs to add to the challenge. Those who survive get up early on Wednesday and do another route and so on until Friday.
Every day street parties take place along the roads used by the walkers with the spectators offering support, sweets, cakes , drinks, chairs for a rest and even use of toilets. On hot days they set up sprays for the walkers to cool themselves.
On the Friday the last 10 kilometres is along a road renamed as Via Gladioli and walkers are presented with specially grown gladioli to carry into the city. The street parties are in full swing throughout the day and the last 5 kilometres or so is lined by grandstands packed with cheering spectators. Every few hundred metres there is a band playing and walkers receive even more flowers from their families and friends.
Walkers travel from all over the world to take part and many Netherlanders aim to complete the event at least once in their lives. Finishers can enter again the following year and some enter year after year. Any other places are filled by ballot. National newspapers cover the event, often on the front pages and it’s on national television.
All walkers who complete the four days are awarded the Nijmegen medal and Dutch military finishers are allowed to wear theirs on their uniforms.
Click here for the walk website