On 21-22 September 2013, Kathy Crilley and Sandra Brown (Surrey WC), with Enfield’s Sue Clements, joined 80 Dutch and Belgian walkers for the annual Nijmegen to Rotterdam 160kms/100 miles walk. This event is not a race. Like the LDWA 100 miles, the Nijmegen to Rotterdam walk makes a great journey across Holland from east to west and has plenty check-points en route at which drinks and food are available. Unlike the LDWA 100, however, the Dutch walk is mainly on minor roads, cycle/walking paths and reasonable foot-paths through woods, and it isn’t at all hilly!
The participants not only start together, they re-group at the 6 main check-points en route and near the end, so that everyone finishes pretty much together in around 29 hours, inclusive of stops at check-points. The excellent support and care for the walkers en route help ensure that there are very few retirements. At the finish, certificates are presented, and some of the participants have completed this walk an astonishing 30 – 40 times.
The walk always attracts a large number of participants and in 2013 there were 81 walkers at the start (fortified by complimentary sandwiches, tea, coffee, etc). The weather on Saturday was perfect walking weather, warm - around 18-20 degrees and blue skies. Night time cooled off but was not really cold. Sunday morning cloudy but dry!
The logistics are quite amazing as the outside rest stops (16 of them) all offer a variety of food and drink and the inside rest stops are in cafes or sports centres with all the facilities. A meal is provided at around 57km just as night falls. Everyone's luggage is transported to the inside stops where warm clothes can be retrieved, etc. As everyone starts off together at the main indoor check points and to make the walk manageable, walking speeds have to be maintained. The slowest allowed is 6km per hour - which would give a walker not much of a rest time! Fortunately, our three Centurion ladies managed a bit faster than this and so had 20-25 minutes to do the necessary! The fastest anyone was allowed ot walk was 9km per hour.d
The 2013 Nijmegen – Rotterdam event was Kathy’s first participation and Sandra’ second. Both had competed just the previous weekend in the 60th edition of the Roubaix race-walk in northern France, Sandra completing over 200 kms in the 28h Roubaix classic, and Kathy completing 40 miles-worth of 3kms laps in the 24h relay. Though rather foot-sore, our ladies walked together in good style and completed the 100 miles. The photo below shows us all smiles as we approach the finish!
This event coincides with Dutch commemoration of the Pegasus campaign to liberate that area in September 1944, and the walk passed a fine Anglo-Dutch war memorial. The 2014 event will coincide with the centenary of 1914 and the 70th anniversary of 1944. Some Centurions plan to return to Nijmegen for this walk next year. Whether your usual interest is in the LDWA 100 miles or the Centurion 100 miles, it is worth considering this event as a different way to walk 100. Sandra and Kathy will be pleased to provide further information.