Road marching is a military term for organised, non-competitive, long distance fitness walks normally known as walking festivals or volksmarching. They happen all over the world and many have a civilian governing body, in the UK this is the British Walking Federation and globally it’s the International Marching League (IML Walking Association).
When taking part as a military unit there is a high emphasis on team work and comradery, the marches are just as great a mental challenge as physical as you can be walking for 11 hours per day for four days with the same people.
Upon completion of an event there is normally a presented award, in the form a of a medal. Upon completing the event in a following year a numbered pin or other signifier to add to the award is presented. Also purchase-able are walking “passports” and logbooks to record the events you can taken part in with each governing body.
Road Marching Training
Before you compete or enter in an awarding event there will be build up training to prepare you for the long distance marching. Along with training on many aspects of road marching protocol. How to not only look after each other physically including spotting dehydration and hyperthermia and foot care but also how to look after each other mentally with road marching singing and spotting behavioural changes.
Distances start at around 10km building up past 25km.
Completion of the training normally awards the blue badge in road marching once reaching a qualifying distance.
The Airborne March, Arnhem
The Airborne Wandeltocht in Oosterbeek, Netherlands comprises a one day road march and commemorative walk and is in remembrance of the Battle of Arnhem 1944.
Distances are available between 10km and 40km.
Air Cadet events organised to take part will usually also contain a historical and war tour either side of the march.
Folkestone Cadet March
The Folkestone Cadet March also known as the Spitfire march is a one day walking event organised by a selection of the RAF Air Cadets in Kent but available to members of the public.
Distances are available between 12km and 42km.
RAF WARMA Winter Walk
The RAF WARMA Winter walk, so called as the event takes place in November each year and is organised by the RAF Walking and Road Marching Association (WARMA). Is a one day road marching event that takes place in Sandbach, Cheshire.
Distances are available between 10km and 30km.
The event is open to civilian entries.
RAF WARMA 2-Day March
The RAF WARMA 2-Day Marches take place out of RAF Cosford and is still open to civilian entries. There are one and two day walks available in distances from 12km to 2x42km with a different award (medal) for each distance. Depending on which is completed depends on the level of Air Cadet Road Marching PTS award earned.
Distances are available between 1x20km and 2x40km.
Completion of the 2x40km RAF WARMA 2-Days march can be used as a qualifying event for the International Four Days Marches Nijmegen if taking part in that year.
International Waendel Walk
The international Waendel walk takes place in Wellingborough and is the International UK walk under the IML Walking Association.
Distances are available between 5km and 2x42km in both road only and track and field.
Completion of the 2x42km international Waendel Walk can be used as a qualifying event for the International Four Days Marches Nijmegen if taking part in that year.
The Scottish Garelochhead 2-Day Marches (SGM) take place in Argyll and Bute, Scotland.
Distances are available between 1x12km and 2x42km.
Completion of the 2x42km SGM can be used as a qualifying event for the International Four Days Marches Nijmegen if taking part in that year.
International Four Days Marches Nijmegen
The International Four Day Marches Nijmegen (Internationale Vierdaagse Afstandsmarsen Nijmegen) is the largest multiple day marching event in the world. It is organised every year in Nijmegen, Netherlands as a means of promoting sport and exercise. To take part you must qualify in a registered 2 day walk of 2x42km in that year.
You can take part as a civilian group or a military group through the British Military Contingent (BMC) alongside other UK regular, reserve and Cadet forces. The event attracts military from all over the world.
Distances are available between 4x30km and 4x50km. With the military category of 4x40km wearing uniform and at least 10kg marching weight.
The award; the cross for marching proficiency (Vierdaagse Cross) is a Dutch award and official decoration for the Dutch, being able to be worn on uniforms of the Armed Forces of the Netherlands.
Other Road Marching Events
Other road marching/walking festivals in the UK and abroad can be participated in as part by Air Cadets and may award a PTS road marching award. Some of these that the RAF Air Cadets have taken part in include:
- The Forces March
- Pathfinder March
- The Cadet Challenge
- Langport Walking Festival
- Lyneham March
- Ijzer March