Although the RAF Warma and Nijmegen marches had been cancelled I am still walking!
The calender slowly got cleared as many of the marches disappeared; and the Czech Military March in near the Slovakian border also had been cancelled I have been invited for a compensation at the Czech Statehood March in September - around the same time as the now cancelled Gardermarch (Royal Guard's March in Denmark).
Mostly it have been short marches I've been doing, also since Hærvejsmarchen (Army Road March) was cancelled and then established as a virtual march, which of course is not a part of the official IML Walking Association program.
In a two months I will pack the car and then drive through Germany and (most of) Czech Republic to take part in the Statehood March; I do consider to lower my route from the 40 km I was going to walk on the Military March as it was a training trip to 22 km as this is "just" maintenance - however I could use the 40 km for my virtual Hærvejsmarch...
The gear is almost the same though I have removed the padded belts to set up a full basis for my regular army driils.
I suppose the only thing that can stop me from going there is a new outbreak with closed borders - or that I break my legs when jumping parachute on Saturday...
A bit of writing considering my life as a march participant
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But I have to carry on as the Nijmegen Four Day March in July haven't been cancelled yet, but within a fortnight we will be informed about the fate of the 104th Four Day March.
As mentioned I should have been in England this weekend; but RAF Warma had decided to cancel in March and although it's understandable, this just made everything collapse; also just had a good amount of money disappearing from my account as the tickets to Birmingham couldn't get refunded despite the Danish Foreign Ministry around the same time had announced that "all unnecessary travels" were to be postponed, and since then we have fought with SAS to get a refund; a friend of mine also tried to reschedule her trip to Poland to November but were told that "due to the current Polish restrictions they couldn't reschedule it"; the airline companies were already at that time crying about how they would be loosing money so it seems they decided to keep wheat they could and refuse people to follow the authorities guideline.
With a good chunk of planned kilometres now disappearing from my calender, I am now 100% alone in my training; and by March I have only reached about 90 km! It's a good amount below the scheduled and will really require some sacrifices to make; the working hours of my new job in the Army also have made the training difficult, but nonetheless it needs to be done!
So Sunday at 0857 I started my counter and began to walk: I was wearing the same as last time; my HAIX Heavy Combat boots, a pair of American cammies, a tshirt, shrit, my blue wind jacket, my Veteran Supporter cap - and my Mil-Tec Assault Pack filled with six kilogrammes of medical equipment, a laptop and a document case for additional weight: Topped up with my Source hydration pack with three litres of water. All in all 15 kg on the back.
The route started with a walk through a couple of cemeteries towards the beach, and from there following the coastline around the airport down to the southern old fishing village of my island - more or less the same route as a few weeks ago where I walked with my sister.
It had been a sunny day - and a lot of people were out enjoying the fantastic weather: The left side of my face and neck looks like I have been getting a pretty hard slap as I have been having a fellow march companion always at my side; the sun! When I started in the morning she have been on my left side in the east. And when I was going back north she was on my left side as she was in the west by then. So only one side have been really exposed. Next time: Sun screen!
Two more work days until I can plan the next march! I think I may actually to a two day march by then trying to get as many kilometres as possible!
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30 Mar 2020
So all in all more or less civilian (the MARPAT have never been used in the Danish Armed Forces, and boots are boots So no breaking the rules there (besides when training for one of the toughest military march "competitions" in the world you need to train in the gear you intend to use - especially boots and backpack; but especially the last part have been an issue for me to pick the right backpack... But here I was told about some great ways to train - and use during the real march: Unlike during real field marches, I don't actually need to have useful equipment in my backpack: any kind of weight will actually do: one year a guy had filled the backpack with magazines and at one march a girl had put an copper coil generator in her bag just to get the weight... Not a bad idea: I wonder if I can fit an Atari STE 1040 into the Mil-Tec since that baby is quite heavy!
This time I also managed to get a flag for it; I couldn't find the ones I had laying around (Which would need a loop and a string fitted anyway; but I've got plenty of para cord, so it wouldn't be a problem), so I wen't to the yachting shop and bought a small courtesy flag; I tried out both sizes with some random loose (unpacked) flags they had hanging of the same size and found out that the smaller size was the best size for me.
To be honest I was on location already the week before, only to realize that I read the dates wrong, and had to return, but this time I was sure about the time and date but was also alone (I did come in good time) - but another car entered the palace's courtyard and one of the march leaders had arrived. We waiting for some minutes before we went for a walk; three persons, all in civilian with our backpacks weighted and watered. And what a nice trip! A lot of nature around us, mainly at forest paths, but also at some asphalt roads. We had a great route of 15 kilometres, not so much but that just means I need to train some more this week while I am having a few days off from the military camp where I work at a new position as a part of the emergency corp.
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I get so sick and tired of listening to COVID-19 talks all the time; especially since taking in consideration of the severity, it is not as dangerous as the massmedia have hyped it to be; In the first quarter of 2019 more people have died of regular flu and also more people had died of pneumonia than the amount of people had died of COVID-19 in Q1 2020, but the power mongering media houses loves to spread fear into people; the more the better.
Still this hysteria of people going crazy, emptying shops and even several arrests of people fighting in super markets, have it's effect not only on people but on the whole circle of life: Almost all non-essential things are shut down; people aren't allowed to gather and soon you aren't allowed to go outside without a purpose being going to work or going to shop for food or medicine. Several countries already have these rules - and to be honest this takes me back to the time of occupation during World War II where any sort of "gathering" (I think it was more than three people if I recall correctly) were not allowed.
This whole crazy situation of people not actually sitting down and study (and understand!) what the situation is really about have also stopped a lot of my training; First of all I am not completely done with my Combat Swimming, and only managed to get the Silver Badge, and had started the training for the Gold Badge: We are the only 10 people in the swimming pool - but the pool is closed and this training is not considered an operational task. Oh well.. Staff meetings (only a few people) have been cancelled, training at the Academy (I didn't have any of that at the moment), and we have been stationed at the borders to keep people out (and in). But my mandatory First Aid refreshing training is hanging by a thread - despite being in the end of April! If I don't get the refresh course I can't be in Operational Duty and will need a new complete course and not just a refresh course.
Next weekend the plan was to participate in the a march arranged by Home Guard Division Fyn - which was cancelled before this weekend. And last weekend I was going on a civilian march, which had been cancelled because the school which was the starting point was closed so the march club that arranged it couldn't get inside (most march clubs consist of old - but very healthy people, so not so much in the risk group). The Czech Militray March, the Border March (Grænsemarch), and the Veteranmarch (May, May and June) is still silent about their plans and Hærvejsmarchen (the Danish IML March) is still planning to be held, but they "observe the situation and cancel if they feel the need to" - the same goes for my entire training goal: 4 Daage Nijmegen March in the Netherlands in the 3rd week of July: Only during the world wars have this march been cancelled; and in 2006 it only lasted one day since two participants died and several (over 1,000) ended up at the hospital due to exhaustion from the heat that year. My entire training plan is right now balancing.
England is more or less living by it's old Second World War slogan "Keep calm and carry on", as my brother-in-law told me they more or less had stated "you might as well live with that your nanna (grandmother) will die of this" - but still Royal Air Force have cancelled the Two Day March in a month from now (18th-19th April) - and to top this, the airline companies refuse to refund or reschedule any tickets (even with the fact that the borders officially are closed) - so that's € 300,- that is just paid for nothing: Do you know how much toilet paper and yeast I could get for those?!
I have got some extra bags for my backpack; which still can't fit my rainjacket, but at least if I separate the lens from the house, my camera can be in one of them. The bags also have Velcro so I can carry more patches - or just move my patches to them and carry my IFAK visible, attached to it's own Velcro back, which i used as a morale patch plate: the patches were "designed" for the trip in England so they were all Viking themed such as a Viking Longboat to symbolize my connection to the navy, an type of Århus Mask/Odin's Mask, and a small text stating to "Keep calm and be a Viking!" - perfect for my marching in England as it got a bit of Danish and English history
All in all this setup is fine, and as always I can carry the 10 kilograms + water with no big issue - but if I would ever need anything in the backpack I need to unpack and repack everything nice it is a tight fit. I simply need a good way to store my rain jacket and this problem would be solved. Frankly I wouldn't know if I would have room for my jacket or not.
But this is really ripping me apart - not so much that the patterns on the uniform and the backpack are different; that is annoying but what's really giving me issues is to find the right way to use this backpack; For several years I have been used to just using the Multicam Assault Pack from Mil-Tec shown above - it was perfect for work and for sailing as the big bag won't store well on the ship, where as the smaller bag is fine for a weekend patrol on the ships (once I actually used a classic seabag (canvas duffelbag - like Popeye), but this won't do for long marches of course
When I did my running I managed to do a half marathon, then a kilometer of walking to my uncle's house to relax before walking or running (I don't remember) home using more or less this route - with the change being that I ran down one of the main streets of the island under the airport's runway and this is not a very pretty route: but when running I don't seem to be so bothered about this.
So instead I decided to walk through the forest, but before I got to the forest my sister had returned; running up to me as she had realized she had forgotten her wallet and thus could not take the bus home. We then were walking at the country side and talked a lot and were just about to enter the forest when she saw a sign showing that if you followed the bicycle path they have made through the forest you would have 17 km to her place - and at this time we had already walked around 17 km - so now she really started to loose the will to carry on. As we entered the forest we had a short rest again; got some sugar and she called our mother: She wanted to be picked up: I pointed out a good pickup location just three kilometers away and she agreed to this and after a short rest we started to walk down the forest path, and then to the road that goes through the forest and found the bus station I had pointed out. After sitting for while our mother picked us up and at this time I had kind of decided that the 23.8 kilometres we had walked would do okay as a training session as my goal was 25 kilometres. The time was 5 hours and 37 minutes including rests (and we had a quite long rest at the marina doing some check-up on the yahct).
Next weekend I had a march but as mentioned this has been cancelled; so instead I will be going on another training march: this time I may use a different route by not going around the airport but "through" it using the long road I had run down, and then go though the forest home.
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Last Friday, 28-FEB-20, I had a short trip to the Navy Home Guard's academy for my navigation training, and I decided to take the train and though I can be picked up by the staff from the school, I decided that I wanted to hike the five kilometres to the school - so I had packed my large patrol bag and weighted it to just over 10 kg before adding my hydration bladder.
And I managed to walk the short five kilometres, although I was stopped a few times by friendly colleagues, including a Sergeant First Class who offered me a ride to the school, but I explained that I wanted to walk as a part of my training.
On Saturday when going home I had already arranged a ride with my Captain Lieutenant who were an instructor on my training.
Then Saturday I had a birthday dinner - and before this a work day at my co-op apartment, meaning I wouldn't have time to join the training, so I decided to walk from work to home. I had been recommended to take the train a few stations and then get off and walk the old ramparts of Copenhagen - and the train station have one exit directly at the ramparts. It really was a nice walk! But I ended cutting it shorter than my originally planned 20 km but as I had marched for around 13.5 km I had to call my sister to ask if she was home: I urgently had to pee and she lived next to where I was. She was home and I could use the toilet, so after 13,7 km I held a short break... at least that was the plan, but ended up playing PlayStation 4 for two hours and decided that I couldn't justify the last kilometres home as a part of the full journey, so my training ended at 13.7 km instead of 15 (+/-).
The patted side belts from my Tactical Tailor Fight Light Battle Belt give some great support and comfort to the back, and hopefully with the new bags (I may have to get an extra of the large bags) I hope the next march will be a joy and gives me the space I need for getting the correct weight without the hazzle of constantly having to repack by getting one thing (for my rain jacket I may use a dump bag for magazines). As you may notice I have a small flag pole at the right side of the bag; at the moment there is no flag on it, but I plan to visit the local boat shop to buy a courtesy flag which can be used on it. The silky banner I found turned out to be useless as it had the Danish flag on one side - but something else on the other side, so a courtesy flag will be ideal - either 20x30 or 30x40 cm - I need to check - maybe tomorrow; where I can bring the bag with the pole after work directly to the shop and see which flag would be best. The flag line is made from para cord.
Next training march is this Sunday for 20 kilometres in the Copenhagen suburbans.
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23 Feb 2020
Saturday February 8th I got not only one buy two teams for walking the 2020 version or the 104th four day Nijmegen March (4x 40 km march) in the Netherlands. I decided to go with the first offer I got, which seems to have interesting training sessions - but also don't train at the same days as I am sailing, so it makes most sense to me to join them.
This also secured me an invitation to join them at the RAF WaRMA's 2 day march (2x 40 km) as a part of the training for Nijemegen.
But before this I have some more training to do. The Lieutenant Colonel who are one of the responsible characters at the team have sent me their training plan, and there are a few of the marches I can not participate in, but as long as i could prove a fitting result on other times it would be okay; originally I couldn't participate in the next training as I long had planned a visit from one of my lady friends, but she had to cancel so now the weekend was a march weekend for me!
Starting off already the previous day I had packed my Mil-Tec US Assault Pack Large 36 litre rucksack - different from the large standard issued one that I went on the last march with, as I am planning to do the Nijmegen in the 36 liter MultiCam rather than the older Danish M/84 patterned rucksack that is the issued one; I love the M/84 pattern; it's beautiful and effective in the Danish nature, but since my uniform is a Multi Cam, it would look better with a Multi Cam backpack too. The bag needed 10 kilograms of weight, which included my rain gear and Fujifilm X-3 camera in case there was a good chance of some great pictures. Not included in the 10 kg was my new 3 litre Source WLPS Low Profile bladder, which fits nicely in the room between the main room of the rucksack and the back-mesh.
The backpack have also been upgraded by adding some padded sides from my Tactical Tailor Battle Belt which should add some more comfort to my hips, as well as a chest strap from Tasmanian Tiger as the backpack don't have one; and this have really added to the comfort of the backpack!
I've tried to add my canteen pouch to the belt sides but decided to go against it as the canteen is in the way when I am walking - I would also not be using it for the canteen as three litres of water at the time should be enough, as it should be possible to refill during the march in the Netherlands; instead it would have been used for snacks and other knicknacks that could be useful to have easy access to. Unfortunately my camera doesn't fit the bag with the lens on - but maybe this is the excuse I need to buy that smaller lens I have long wanted Because I have been considering if I should mount the bag on the side of my rucksack and thereby have an easy access to my camera (it's Weather Resistant, so it should be okay as long as I keep the covers shut, which I would anyway). But else, it would be a fine bag for smaller stuff as mentioned before.
My IFAK (Individual First Aid Kit) bag have been removed from it's rip-off backside and will be packed into my backpack, as I will be using the loop plate it is hooked to for patches - but more about that later.
I also decided to give my HAIX Combat Boots Heavy (standard issued) the chance as they are a number larger than my Altberg Defender (standard issued), thus gives a better room for an extra sock and might reduce the chance of blisters. I am not certain if I will keep the Defenders for land based combat use or send them back; I do like the Defender boots - also for march, but they require a lot of work before I can use them for a long march as Nijmegen - or they need to be a bigger size - but the earlier I can train with the boots the better so Nijmegen will be done in the Haix - thus all training will be done in the Haix (neither the Haix nor the Defenders can be used for parachuting due to open hooks).
Inside I am wearing a pair of thin socks as well as a pair of the standard issued ones - a little tip I've heard about online.
So the next morning I had to get up early; we had to meet at a train station outside Copenhagen at 0900 (I was actually near that station 12 around hours before...) and the 15 kilometre training march starts!
It was a very beautiful route that was picked through a forest and around a military camp in the area. The weather was most of the time mild rainy, but occasionally took up in strength for a short period, but nothing that was too terrible walk in. I enjoyed it.
Unfortunately around the 11-12 km mark, the guy I was walking next to got a muscle injury and we had a brief consultation the four of us who joined the training and decided to cut the march short by taking a shortcut back to the station; so instead of 15 km we ended at 13 km.
One thing I realized is that 10 kg in that Mil-Tec rucksack is just the limit; I can put 10 kg + 3 litres of water in it without any issue, but to get anything out of it once it is packed is a pain - thus I am changing once again back to the standard issued M/86 patterned patrol rucksack; it's larger, and I have the potion of adding additional large pockets on the side which I can use for rain clothes in one and my camera (without the need to changing lens), some snacks, and maybe a scarf in the other - ad although there would be room for my my IFAK too, it can be more easily be reached if placed in the front pocket. So... more training with that back so I can get familiar with it. Unfortunately this bag does not support any Velcro patches - so neither my name strip, flag-patch or any morale or unit patches are possible to add on it unless I do some work with some paracord/webbing and MOLLE.
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08 Feb 2020
Already last year I would have loved to do it, but I knew that I was too late to be able to train up for it - and I already had so many other things I needed to do; parachuting, a half marathon, and a military skill contest...
So joining the traditional Dutch four day military march in Nijmegen was not going to be possible in 2019. But I could as well start by doing some training, and I did participate in a short march with the Royal Guards (for veteran support) in the autumn and a charity march in December which would not count towards my goal of participating in Nijmegen 2020, but it was still a bit of a warm-up!
But this is the year! Now I will do it! 35 years old; a good half-round number, and still a bit of a challenge since I am not very young any more, and... I never really did any of those kind of things.
Up to the 3rd week of May I should do some training of at least 300 km in total, starting soft with 10 km in 1st week of February and 20 in the 3rd week.
And the fist 21.7 was done today - with 10 kg on the back - in brand new combat boots!
There is still a long way to the finish line and 21.7 is still at the "easy"; as I am told it's usually after 30 km that the body and energy starts to go crazy, so I still haven't reached the critical bit yet.
I took part in a Mariner Union's annual carnival march, which is 7, 14 or 21 km. I had originally planned to join 14, but changed my mind as I was registering - and that was a good thing!
While walking two groups for Nijmegen march in July have now tried to seduce me to join their group for the 4x 40 km march - they both could use the extra manpower - and I need a team if I will be able to join!
And it was a very nice trip! Up to the first rest I spent some time with one group to talk with them, and then up to the second rest I spent time with the second group.
The route was fantastic and so was the weather; very mild and dry. The route took us around in some forest like area's with the old fortifications around Copenhagen, down to the coast and industrial areas, back through the fortifications (by a different route) and ended with some nice talk and R&R in the Mariner Union's house.
Last time I walked this long distance was at the Christmas march I did last year - but only because I decided to walk there, walk the distance (10 km) and walk most of the way back home - together with my sister.
Next training session might be alone, as one group is training on Thrusdays (which is the day I have navy patrol) and the other group have training in a weekend where I have some female visit (and I don't know if she wants to spend out alone time walking with a bunch of old soldiers - but one may never know). Therefore I imagine that in that week I might take a hike (literaly) from work, which means I will be home late, but I will have done my training - in another pair of brand new combat boots, as I need to find the boots I like the best and then stick with them. My third option are some cheap, soft - but by now worn boots that I have - and I might bring them as spares no matter what
So far the calender for me looks kind of like this
RAF Warma, UK (perhaps)
Græmsemarch (Border March), DK (eperhaps)
Elfsborg Marsch, SE (perhaps)
Veteran March, DK
Hærvejsmarch (Army Road March), DK (most likely)
And after this I still plan to walk a bit more with
Gardermarch (Royal Guard march), DK
Føringsstøtteregimentet (Supply Regiment's March);, DK
Julemærkemarch (Chiristmas Stamp March), DK (maybe)
The above all give medals - but only the one in Nijmegen medal is allowed to be worn on the uniform on other than the march days - a bit sad, but it is kind of how it is. I already have the medal from the Royal Guard March and Christmas Stamp March (shaped and designed as the Christmas stamp of the year), so for the first one I will just be getting a new pin to add to the one I have; either a #2 - or another #1 in a different colour...
For the three foreign I will be getting a NATO travel order (for the one in Sweden I have to arrange it myself unfortunately). They also talked about a march in Belgium, and Germany - but the one in Germany I don't think I am in high enough skills to really do.
Anyway; seems like i have a pretty busy year ahead - as I also planned to join the Royal Run this year - even though I hate running...
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