Vierdaagse Kicked Off
Traditionally the Vierdaagse started at the third Tuesday of July. A total of 42.493 participants started at the four day march.
At 4.00 am Minister Edith Schippers gave the sign after which the fresh participants took off. Although usually people might find it a little bit early, the walkers were pleased that they could walk at least a few hours in the cold morning air. They knew that the mercury would hit the high twenties, so most people were well prepared for the heat.
Nevertheless many walkers got unwell due to the heat. Some didn’t drink enough water and others forgot that they also have to take in enough salt while sweating. Overall there were ‘only’, (for such a warm day), 917 people who had to stop on the first day.
Connected to the Vierdaagse, like the honey and the bee, are blisters. Hundreds of people seek every day medical attention for their blisters. The blisters come from the walking. Good shoes, good socks, good preparation are all important to avoid blisters. But no matter how good people prepare the blisters seem unavoidable. At a certain moment people get tired and start walking differently. This causes different pressure at different spots and this results often in blisters.
Defense plays always a prominent role at the Vierdaagse. Defense sees the Vierdaagse as a good practise for their staff. Not only the marching itself, but to give medical care, building a ponton bridge near Cuyk, etc. are all, in fact, good preparations for a military operation.
The cuts which hit the Defense department very hard also influences the involvement of the Defense during the Vierdaagse. So are less medical help stations available this year, leading to longer waiting lines for the treatment of blisters.
Although Defense was thinking of totally withdrawing financially, they have decided to go on. With a smaller budget then before, the organisation of the Vierdaagse was able to make a new five year contract.
The gap in budget because of the cuts at Defense made it necessary for the organisation to find sufficient sponsors. The main sponsor for the last fourteen years, the American shoe brand New Balance, decided that they will not enlarge the budget for the Vierdaagse. The main sponsor position was therefore open after this years’ event, but for the next three years the brand Hi Tec has already signed a contract.
Roze Woensdag (Pink Wednesday)
The second day usually has the largest number of people who give up. This has nothing to do with the name under which the second day is known: Roze Woensdag.
The name is a result of the attention that the city of Nijmegen traditionally spends on the tolerance for homosexuals, bisexuals and transgenders. There is also an award for a public figure who contributes to the emancipation of the homo society. This year car racer Mike Verschuur will receive the award.