MP Randy Hoback Participating in Nijmegen Marches in the Netherlands
OTTAWA – From July 13, 2012 to July 23, 2012, Randy Hoback, the Member of Parliament for the federal riding of Prince Albert, will have the honour and the privilege of taking part in the Nijmegen Marches program- a rigorous and prestigious annual event in the Netherlands. The Marches have involved Canadian participation since 1952. They require that entrants complete the four-day (June 17-20, 2012) 160-km (4 x 40-km) march in combat uniform, carrying a minimum rucksack load of 10-kg. The event annually draws over 40,000 marchers from 50 different nations — and is witnessed by over 1 million spectators along the 160-km route.
2012 marks the 96th time the Marches have been held since they began in 1909. The Marches are both a challenging and an emotional experience, especially for Canadian Forces members. It is challenging because the 160-km Marches are the ultimate test of a CF member’s physical fitness and stamina, in an event that requires effective teamwork and strong leadership.
In addition to the obvious physical hardships, the Nijmegen March is the largest annual pilgrimage of Canadian soldiers, sailors and airmen to a war cemetery outside of Canada. During the Second World War, Canadian soldiers liberated the area around Nijmegen, and there is a large Canadian military cemetery in nearby Groesbeek. It serves as the final resting place for over 2,300 Canadian soldiers and airmen. The cemetery is on the route of the 3rd day of the March, and all military marchers halt there to pay their respects and conduct remembrance services.
The Canadian ceremony is also among the largest and most elaborate. For most of the young Canadian marchers, it is the first time they have visited a Canadian War Cemetery, and they are often left surprised at just how emotional an experience it is. They also come away with a better understanding of their own history, and they see why the Dutch people hold the Canadian teams in such high regard.
Throughout the Nijmegen program, Hoback will post commentary and photos to this Nijmegen Marches Blog, which can be be accessed by clicking the menu selection at the top of his website (www.mprandyhoback.ca). Hoback will also be posting updates via his Facebook and Twitter pages. Everyone is also invited to follow Hoback’s progress via the Runtastic widget located at the bottom right of his website Clicking the link in the widget will bring users to Hoback’s official Runtastic activity site – which displays both a map and statistics of his progress.
Hoback has also linked his Runtastic activity site to his Facebook page.