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Four-Day Walking event now history for 94th time

Over 36,000 crossed finish line

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

NIJMEGEN - More than 36,000 participants from dozens of different countries completed the 94th Nijmegen Four-Day March recently, and were given their much coveted brightly-coloured medals.

Welcomed by tens of thousands of cheering spectators, broadly smiling walkers crossed the finish line on the festive St. Anna Street in Nijmegen, which is temporarily re-named Via Gladiola every year. At the end of the four-day event the participants are welcomed with large bouquets of gladioli to underscore their achievement, turning the street into a huge gladiola display.

To the participants of the 30, 40 or 50 kilometres a day distances, crossing the finish line also means that the blisters, the heat, the muscle cramps and the exhaustion are usually quickly forgotten now that the event has also increasingly become a major cultural venue with different orchestras giving concerts.

While many participants may think that the four-day event has the atmosphere of a carnival, the organizers of the event beg to differ. To them, the four-day march is explicitly a sporting event, notwithstanding all the other events built around it.

The early World War I march events were far more subdued and military in nature.