Nijmegen 2006

As usual on a Tuesday night I was spammed long before I reached my mail tray or office. I was greeted by one of blokes with "Sir, Ops says you're into your walking and sh*te like that and as a troopy you'll be up for a bit of admin b*****ks", "ummm" I hesitantly replied, wondering how to turn my body 180 degrees whilst still making eye contact, in preperation to abscond from "that's a crap job give it to the first subbie that walks through the door".

As it happens I have been asked to organise a team for next years Nijmegen march. What I am looking for are constructive points from folk that have done it in the past. This includes the obvious tips, do's and don'ts and lessons learnt right through from the admin side to the training and kit side, plus any amusing anecdotes etc.

Thanks in advance
Do ensure you get as much training can in the next 6 months. The thing is it will have to be over weekends. Wednesday nights are no good because there is too little time to get a decent distance in.
Try and get your team used to bathing their feet in sugical spirits to toughen up the skin. Use your current boots(exercise boots) to do all your tabbing in. If they are knackered, then now is the time to echange them, no use doing it 4 weeks before you go.
Get the team used to drinking plenty of fluids now, it is amazing how many people don't drink enough liquids.
Try and keep your tabbing to the roads or pathways. Avoid going "off piste" so to speak, such as the urge to go cross-country. 100%
of the Nijmegen is on road surface. ( killer for those prone to shin splints).
You will also need a good cyclist, someone who doesn't mind going back and forth between feeding stations and halts.
A serious one this. Get them all "marching" to the same tune. By that I mean ensure you all keep a good pace, get people sized off and well placed within the squad. There is nothing worse than tabbing behind someone and changing step every 10 paces.
Don't get too p!ssed in the tents on the first day/night there. Seriously, you or your team will suffer on day 1.
Set yourself a good pace and try to stick to it. It is along bloody day and you've got 4 of them ahead of you.
Do take a load of Regimental stickers and boilly sweets for the local kids.

If I think of any more I'll get back to you.
Couldn't agree with Devlish more,I did it twice in the eighties,hard work but well worth it.Pace yourself in the beer tent as well as on the road but most of all ENJOY YOURSELVES!!!
Take a digital camera with loads of memory. A cam corder would be a good item as well. Have a reserve or two in your arsenal. It is all too often that someone pulls out at the last minute with an injury.
Do go down town on the evening because you will meet thousands of other Nations there and it is the best thing you could give your younger, less experienced lads and lassies.
Do encourage your team to mingle with the other nations, they(your team and the people you meet) will remeber it for a life time.
Do look at it as a good exercise and don't look at it as a burden. You are being paid to go tabbing through the best of Hollands countryside, cheers Tony!

Bit sad this but but seriously worthy of a mention. Avoid getting into arguments with p!ssed squaddies. Brits and all the other nations there, as there is a lot of drinking getting done at night, so you can be assured that trouble kicks off now and then. Tis rare but never the less it does happen. I actually saw a unit get a permanent ban from the marches because they got p!ssed as farts on the first day and kicked off before the march had begun.

Anything else i'll post. If you need any specific questions answered then fire away....
This is the official website -

I did it this year and didn't find it too bad. The main things to preparation wise are to get out at least once or twice a week for at least 3-6 months before. You don't have to go massive distances but if you are going to do short routes do them very fast. You should get a pain in your shins for the first half hour or so if your going fast enough and then that goes away. Get a desent pair of lightwait boots , i used magnum classics and they were alright, and sorbothane insoles are great.
If you train enough the skin on your feet should just toughen naturally but when it comes to the march tape your feet with really good zinc oxide tape and you shouldn't have a problem with blisters. Two pairs of socks, one thin, one thick, is essencial to stop rubbing. Ibuprofen is also good if your feet or legs begin to ache but my advise is to realy wait until they hurt realy bad so that when you take it it makes a big difference. Take a big pot of vaseline and lube up all areas where you might get chaffing like around your bollocks arm pits and nipples. An mp3 player and speakers in someones webbing is also a good way to pass the time.
I found its best to try to go as fast as you can on the march so you finish early and have maximum rest time and get the showers before everyone else gets in.
Its also good to get onto one of the training (qualifying?) marches like the Garlochead 2 day marches. That can realy help give you an idea of what Nijmegan is like. I actually found Garelochead harder than Nijmegen even though its half the lenght. This was because of all the hills.
The first 2 days of Nijmegan arent that bad but the end of the third can be tough, if you make it onto the fourth you should be able to make it to the end because the drive will keep you going. And then you can get totally bevved on the Friday night in the beer tent.
Like Devilish said take lots of stickers for the "Souvenir?" kids and give them high fives, they love it. The 2006 march is the 90th march so it should be pretty good. Just get in a decent amount of training and good prepation of your kit and yourself and you should be fine.
Hope this helps. If theres anyhting else you need just ask.
Cheers guys, I have taken all those points and they reinforce those i had a hunch on. I have scanned the official web page and printed all 46 pages of this years brochure as a taster. I have also printed off the maps for each of the fours days routes. Do they change the routes at all or are they the same every year?

From the website it isn't clear about the weight to be carried etc, unless i have overlooked it. Any takers on this?

Most of my lads are quite used to walking on tarmac for long distances. It comes from getting refused by Taxi drivers with their bed/block usually miles from the watering hole, so they end up tabbing back miles and miles.
Anyone got any amusing stories about their experiences.

Thanks again for your input, it is very appreciated.
Nijmegan is fantastic, I did it twice back in the late 80's in BCH. They totally ruined my feet for weeks afterwards. It must hve been the large piece of wood in the soles which did it!
It is an amazing experience and the blisterball down town on the last night is wonderful.
Our new CO arrived recently and was taking a quick tour of the drill hall - all set up for recruiting - takes a look at the Nijmegen stand and enquires about it, my housemate informs the boss that "ah yes sir, was good fun and we all finished it" to which the CO replies "Well, I should hope so. It's not very far really is it"

8O :?
I have done Nijmegen 9 times, both in a team and as a civvy entrant.
My top tips are:
as stated before, take lots of souveniers...especially the stickers that are about 5 years old that the recruiting team haven't managed to get rid of
if you can, take along a portable fridge to keep in your area and stuff it with mars bars and snickers for the energy
learn marching songs. I know it makes us look a bit like the Septics, but beleive me, the miles drop off if you learn some good songs that you can sing for also takes the mind off the fact that your feet hurt.
Put lambswool insoles in your is a godsend
Bloody brilliant event. I wish I could persuade my current mob to enter a team, I feel I can have a go as an individual after six team goes.

Sorry troops but to most, Nijmegen equals bunch of stabs & tree hugging civvies mincing along through the Dutch countryside. Fcukin marching songs! have a word........
muzzleflash said:
Sorry troops but to most, Nijmegen equals bunch of stabs & tree hugging civvies mincing along through the Dutch countryside. Fcukin marching songs! have a word........
Di**head. Nijmegan was right up there in the 'must attend' events back in the good old cold war days, alongside Snow Queen it was an excuse for a p**s up in a nice country. Have you ever done it?
muzzleflash said:
Sorry troops but to most, Nijmegen equals bunch of stabs & tree hugging civvies mincing along through the Dutch countryside. Fcukin marching songs! have a word........
Fcuk me, knobs like you can even manage to log onto the internet.
What the fcuk? STABS and Treehuggers? That's going to be news to some of the teams that take part , especially the British Army Regulars. It's going to be big news to some of the international teams that take part as well.

"But to most"

Sorry , what "Most" do you mean?
Oh yeah, forgot to mention that the Marc Bollen lookalike appears to be carrying his "heavy pack " in a cloggie equivalent of a tesco's carrier bag.

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