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4 marathons in 4 days – Fiona did it – can you?

The people in all the towns that we walked through throughout the four days made this a truly memorable experience. Their hospitality and welcome to the walkers is indescribable. They could not have made me feel any more welcome and I know that that was how the others in the group felt.

I had thought about doing the Nijmegen Marches for at least 18months before I finally decided that I would sign up for them in December 2012. It took me those full 18 months to talk myself into believing that this was a challenge that I could train for and complete.  However the Walk the Walk website gave me real encouragement that this challenge was doable.

I received my training pack in April 2013. I remember it arriving. I was off work on holiday. I looked at the training package and thought ‘wow, that is a lot of walking’ however I had committed myself and so whilst the training looked slightly daunting I was also exhilarated because the Marches seemed that bit more real to me.

The training went by in a flash and all to quickly it was the middle of July and I was heading off to the Netherlands. I was so excited because I was going to be walking the Marches and also I was going to be meeting the other people who had signed up to do this challenge.  Throughout the training I had received group emails from Abi at Walk the Walk and had had some chat with others who were doing the walks but I was really excited to get to meet the people behind the email addresses.

On Monday 15 July 2013 we all met at our hotel at 1.30pm.  It was so exciting. There turned out to be 9 of us doing the challenge. 3 were doing the 50 km walks, Pam, Julie and Leonie and 6 of us were doing the 40km walks, Barbara, Liz, Josie, Karen, Paula and I. Jen from Walk the Walk was with us as well. She was not walking this year (but she may well do it next year.) Jen was with us to ensure that the walkers did not need to worry about anything other than getting round the course each day.  She was fab.  On that day we went to Nijemgen and registered so that we could actually take part in the Marches. The atmosphere in the city was fantastic and it built up my anticipation for the coming days.

Finally the big day arrived  Tuesday 16th July 2013. I was so excited, in fact everyone in the group was excited and raring to go.  The atmosphere at the start of the walk was brilliant. There were thousands of walkers all waiting to get going, there were crowds of people there at 6am clapping and cheering the walkers on.  It was a great start, not the quickest start to be sure given the number of people but a fab atmosphere.  That was what the start of each day was like. The atmosphere on the last day was truly like a carnival.

The countryside that we walked in that day indeed throughout the week was gorgeous and the weather we got to walk in was lovely and sunny (a bit hot for a girl from Glasgow to be honest) but much better than last year when it rained throughout the four days!

The people in all the towns that we walked through throughout the four days made this a truly memorable experience. Their hospitality and welcome to the walkers is indescribable. They could not have made me feel any more welcome and I know that that was how the others in the group felt. Other walkers were great as well and our bra t-shirts were a conversation starter. many people asked about the charity and shared stories with us about their experience of breast cancer.

People offered the walkers food, drinks, seats, the use of their toilets and above all the people offered huge encouragement. It was the encouragement of the others in the group and the people in the streets that got me round the walk on the last day, without a doubt.  I cannot tell a lie though I had trained hard and done everything that I had been told to do my feet did blister in the heat and the last 10kms on the last day were very hard and slow however I can honestly say that I never thought I would not finish and neither did the others in the group or the Dutch people who spurred me on to the finish line.

And so I did finish the challenge and for that I got a medal.  I am so proud of all of us in the group.  I have been asked by my friends if I will do the Marches again? I have to say, I know I will.

Find out more about the Nijmegen Marches


From Guy:

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