200th MMC Soldiers train, go distance

Pvt. John Hudspeth
21st Theater Support Command

***image1***Sixteen Soldiers from the 21st Theater Support Command, 200th Materiel Manage-ment Center trained since February for the 88th Nijmegen international four-day march in Holland, which began July 20.
Each day, the 200th MMC Soldiers marched a different 40-kilometer path in full BDU, while toting a regulation rucksack that weighed 22 pounds.
In preparation for the event, Soldiers logged some 350 miles. They also participated in a regular weight-training program.
Even though the training was difficult, the team members maintained their senses of humor.
“Every night, I spent around 20 minutes just to cut out my moleskin patterns for the next day. That’s a challenge in itself,” said Spc. Jose Vargas, 200th MMC.
1st Sgt. Jacob Dozier is proud of the work his Soldiers have done.
“This was a sizeable undertaking that required a lot of dedication and hard work to get through all of the blisters and muscle aches and pains. But it was also fun and brought a great deal of cohesion to the unit,” said Sergeant Dozier.
Staff Sgt. Nolan Johnson, also with the 200th MMC, was impressed with the encouragement he and fellow marchers received.
“There is a great deal of support from not only the company, but also from the people at Nijmegen,” Sergeant Johnson said.
Known as the world’s largest walking event, the Nijmegen endurance challenge promotes physical fitness.
Approximately 47,000 participants from more than 40 countries walked through 100 miles of Dutch countryside in four days.
It has been a favorite event of Dutch citizens and people from around the world since 1909. Nijmegen staged a festival during the entire event. Spectators lined the marchers’ pathways just to hear some of the cadences sung by participating Soldiers.
“The people there handed out souvenirs and flowers to the marchers,” Sergeant Johnson said.
“On the last day, they had a parade, and everyone really seemed to enjoy themselves,” he said.
Many of the spectators took full advantage of the festive atmosphere and played folk songs on musical instruments. Others simply enjoyed the ambiance of the countryside and cheered the marchers along.
Participants of the march ended the course in Van Schevichavenstraat. With a background of live music, marchers enjoyed refreshments and snacks while meeting with friends and family before enjoying the final festivities in downtown Nijmegen.
Each Nijmegen March participant received a medal.