Department of National Defence

Department of National Defence

July 19, 2011 09:00 ET

Left, Left, Left, Right, Left... The Marching Begins!

OTTAWA, OTNARIO--(Marketwire - July 19, 2011) - Today, over 200 soldiers, sailors, airmen and airwomen from units across Canada began the first leg of the 95th annual International Four Days Marches Nijmegen in the Netherlands. In order to complete this prestigious and arduous long-distance walking event, each participant will march a total of 160 km while wearing standard combat clothing and carrying a military rucksack weighing at least 10 kg.

Led by Brigadier-General John C. Madower, Assistant Chief Military Personnel, this year's Canadian Forces (CF) contingent is composed of 15 teams, each consisting of 11 Regular and Reserve Force personnel of all ranks and occupations from across the country. During the months of training required to prepare for the marches, candidates test both their physical and mental endurance by marching an average of 700 to 1,000 km.

"The Nijmegen Marches are so much more than a test of physical fitness and stamina," said Brig.-Gen. Madower. "It is also a time for CF members to reflect, commemorate and pay tribute to those who sacrificed their lives to bring freedom to the Dutch people during the Second World War."

On their way to Nijmegen, the Canadian contingent participated in a ceremony at the Canadian National Vimy Memorial in France. Later that evening, the Air Command Band had the honour of playing for all participating contingents during the Nijmegen Marches opening ceremonies. On the third day of the marches, CF participants will pay their respects to our fallen at the Groesbeek Canadian War Cemetery, the final resting place of more than 2,300 Canadian soldiers and airmen who died fighting to liberate the Netherlands in 1944 and 1945.

Members of the CF 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 22, 2011.

Notes to editor / news director: Media agencies can request interviews with CF personnel in Nijmegen by contacting the Media Liaison Office at 1-866-377-0811 or 613-996-2353.

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.

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