Home / Articles / Four Days March in Nijmegen

Four Days March in Nijmegen

Four Days March in Nijmegen

Perhaps you have thought about running in a marathon, but didn’t think you could make it. Maybe you have wanted to do a triathlon, but weren’t sure you were up to the challenge. If so, the Four Days March could be just the event for you.

What it Is

If you have never heard of the Four Days March, it is the largest annual walking event in the world. Over four days, thousands of people turn out to walk 30, 40 or 50km per day, depending on the category they choose.

Begun, in 1909, and based in Nijmegen since 1916, the “Vierdaagse” as it is called in Dutch attracts so many thousands of participants each year, that organizers of the event have begun limiting the number of people who can march. In recent years, as many as 40,000 have participated over four days.

Though the march started as a primarily military event, it has grown to be overwhelmingly participated in by civilians with a minority of military personnel taking part.

Where Does It Take Place?

The march starts in the center of the city of Nijmegen, in the Netherlands, and progresses to a different city each of the four days. The route has remained primarily the same for the last 97 years, with a few exceptions. The following is a list of the cities the marchers reach at the conclusion of each day.

· Elst – Day 1

· Wijchen – Day 2

· Groesbeek – Day 3

· Cuijk – Day 4

A few times the route has needed to be changed but this is the primary route every year. Only once, with the exception of WWII has the march been cancelled.

What is it For?

The march is a celebration of exercise and physical fitness, and has grown in popularity each year. With varying degrees of difficulty, there is a level for walkers at many different physical fitness levels. Some of the military levels even include carrying a weighted pack along the way.

The event is well staffed and there are various medical stations along the route to offer medical care to participants of every nationality along the way.

Awards

Those who successfully complete the march receive the Cross of the Four Day Marches. The award is given out in bronze, silver and gold, depending on the number of years the march is successfully completed by the participant. Since 1909, approximately 590,000 first year crosses have been awarded.

How to Participate

The march takes place in July of every year. If you are interested in participating then you must register with the event organizers. There are only 42,000 spaces allowed for registration, but up to 46,000 people may register. Preference is given to repeat walkers who have successfully completed the previous year’s march, and there is a certain segment of registrations set aside for first time walkers. When the registrations exceed a set number, there will be a lottery drawing to determine the final number of participants.

The walk is regulated and there are a number of rules that participants are expected to understand and follow. For more information, you can visit the sponsor’s website to register and learn more.