OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - July 16, 2013) - For 176 march participants from the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) contingent, today marked the first leg of their 160-kilometre march as part of the 97th annual International Four Days Marches in Nijmegen, the Netherlands.
"I applaud each and every one of the marchers in the Canadian contingent as they embark upon the Nijmegen Marches this year. The Marches are a physically rigorous and emotionally charged four-day event that challenges all those who undertake it. The Marches symbolize perseverance and endurance, and they are made all the more exceptional this year because of the participation of a team of our recovering ill and injured personnel," said General Tom Lawson, the Chief of the Defence Staff. "The Nijmegen Marches serve to highlight our nation's proud military history while also renewing the special bond between Canada and the Netherlands that was forged during the Second World War."
Led by Brigadier-General Kevin Cotten, this year's CAF contingent includes a team of nine recovering Soldier On marchers and a Member of Parliament. During the months of training required to prepare for the Marches, the marching teams gathered donations for the Military Families and Soldier On funds.
"The Nijmegen Marches are an excellent test of physical endurance and mental fortitude. Not only do they challenge fitness levels, they build morale and help reinforce core military values," said Brigadier-General Cotten. "The Marches also present an opportunity to remember and honour the sacrifice of those who fought and died during the Second World War, while reinforcing Canada's continued connection to the Netherlands."
On July 13, this year's CAF contingent attended a ceremony at Vimy Ridge to commemorate Canada's legacy in Europe. On the third day of the Marches, CAF participants will also pay their respects to our fallen at the Groesbeek Canadian War Cemetery, the final resting place of more than 2300 Canadian soldiers and airmen who died fighting to liberate the Netherlands in 1944 and 1945.
In order to complete this prestigious and arduous long-distance walking event, each participant will march 40 kilometres a day for four days while wearing standard combat clothing and carrying a military rucksack weighing at least 10 kilograms. Members of the CAF contingent march in a spirit of international camaraderie with military and civilian participants from around the world.
The Nijmegen Marches represent the world's largest walking event. Over 45 000 marchers from more than 50 nations, as well as over a million spectators, are expected to participate this year. The Nijmegen Marches will conclude on July 19, 2013.
Notes to editor / news director: Media agencies can request interviews with CAF personnel in Nijmegen by contacting Captain Valérie Lanouette, Joint Task Force Nijmegen Public Affairs Officer at 1-613-894-0498 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Still imagery will be available on the Canadian Forces Image Gallery at: www.combatcamera.forces.gc.ca.
Imagery and stories of the Nijmegen Marches will be posted on the following website: http://www.cmp-cpm.forces.gc.ca/nij-nim/index-eng.asp.
For more information about the CAF's participation in the Nijmegen Marches, please consult the following link: http://www.forces.gc.ca/site/news-nouvelles/news-nouvelles-eng.asp?id=4866.
For the most recent news stories and photos of CAF training and participation in the Nijmegen Marches, media can visit the official Facebook page at: http://www.facebook.com/JointTaskForceNijmegen.