WATCH: The walk is popular with military personnel who march to commemorate fallen soldiers. And as Monica Martinez reports, a group from CFB Esquimalt has been hard at work training to walk 40 kilometres each day.
With 15 kilos on their back, a group from CFB Esquimalt marcheD 40 kilometres, their last training walk, on Canada soil.
Next time they march together will be in a place where Canadian soldiers have long been welcome.
“We are heading off next week to the Nigmegen Four Day Marches
which will be 40 km back to back to back to back in the Netherlands,” said Lt. Marianne Knai, who is leading the group.
The training has been grueling, a full time commitment with no guarantees on making the final cut.
“Since mid-February this crew has been getting up at 4:30 am to meet five days a week. We march a minimum of 60 km a week and have two gym days,” she said.
The Nijmegen marches are a mostly civilian event, but have thousands of military participants from all over the world.
“100 years ago the Netherlands were doing this march for training purposes and with both wars it’s become commemorative.
For Canada, it’s become very important because in the Second World War we liberated the region so we are very much liked.”
The Canadian military has been involved since 1952. This year there will be 177 Canadians marching in uniform.
“To walk where those who have walked before to relive those steps from 100 years ago, it’s an honour. For me it was a bucket list for my career and to have the opportunity to do so I’m very grateful,” said Leading Seaman Christopher Robillard.
Air Force Captain Jonathan Mishrigi said he’s been wanting to march in Nijmegen since beginning his military career 15 years ago.
“I am so excited to get over there and be part of a large group of people,
get the opportunity to push the limits, pay homage to fallen soldiers, and represent Canada,” he said.
And like many generations of Canadian soldiers that took these steps before them, they are sure to receive a warm welcome.