Published: Aug 10, 2015 by James Munday
lancashire acf triumph at nijmegen 2015

The 4th day was another late start for us which meant hitting heavier crowds than we would have expected, but nevertheless we approached the day with high spirits. Speaking for myself my feet were in bits. I could feel bruising across both feet and blistering across both heels. Although in terrible pain I refrained from showing it as I wanted the team to all be strong and feel powerful. The Magnum boots supplied by our boot sponsors held up very well and I would march in them again if I had the choice. This route had lots of country paths which were quiet. It was here where singing proved important in keeping moral high and the pace going. We also managed to pick up a few new songs which kept us going. In particular a song called ‘Mamma Mamma’ was a fantastic one as it sounds great and can go on forever. We found that passing other teams would spur them on to sing with us as well which gave great boosts to all. In one area we were singing ‘Wayhey Rock n Roll’ and a Canadian team had attached themselves onto the back of our team singing with us with powerful booming voices. This was an incredible boost and no doubt played a part in the successful completion of the march. We were under slight time pressure on this final day as we had to be at Charlamagne by 14:40hrs for the parade start at 15:00hrs. We arrived with time to spare and because we were the best overall team we were due to be at the front of the cadets – however we ended up leading the parade out, as most of the regulars had not arrived back in time, we were actually right at the front of the parade behind the band! The final 5km of the march was probably the most incredible part of the entire 4 days as the entire route was completely lined with residents from all around. There were people waving from windows and others standing on roofs cheering and waving flags around. As we marched past we threw the remaining stickers, badges and bands out to children who loved receiving souvenirs. Although very slow in pace the final 3 miles went really fast as it was just so enjoyable. Overall the 4 day marches was a fantastic experience, of course painful but as 2Lt Lennon kept on reminding us pain is only temporary, success is forever. Our success came from lots of training, planning and excellent team leadership. Using webbing sets instead of patrol packs aided speed and ease of getting items of kit quickly. The hydration packs again proved absolutely essential. This will not be my last Nijmegen March as although I am leaving the ACF in October, I intend on joining a reserve unit and hopefully attach on to Lancashire if I can, I am sure the team will defend strongly the titles of being the 1st Lancashire ACF team in 12 years, best ACF team at Cosford 2 day marches and then best ACF and overall Cadet team and BMC at Nijmegen itself. Well done all and well done 2Lt Lennon for coaching a team of rag tag cadets into world class marchers in a very short period of time – a truly remarkable achievement.