Chris Bolton’s 19th Nijmegen – he was only there for the beer!

A couple of years ago I vowed to accompany Chris on his latest Nijmegen exploit but COVID intervened. Little did I know that he sneaked off this year to add to his tally. Wonderfully bonkers, Read on.

Chris reports.

This year I completed my nineteenth Nijmegen Vierdaagse and without doubt it was
the hardest of all.

A newspaper cutting celebrating Chris’s 17th Nijmegen

The temperature at the beginning of the week was over 40 degrees C ( 104 F) and the
organisers were fearful of fatalities. Consequently, they decided to cancel the first day
and make it a three-day event.

A thirsty crowd these walkers!
Just one more before tomorrow!

Forty-Two thousand started on the Wednesday with the temperature still close to 40 degrees and I therefore started the twenty-one mile challenge slowly. By fifteen miles the
heat was a real problem and I started to suffer badly. Making it to the finish I was
exhausted with heat stroke and was grabbed by the Red Cross officials. They sent for
a doctor and I realised that I was in real trouble. Had a doctor seen me he would have
torn up my start card for the next day and my challenge would have been over.
I plotted my escape and asked for more water. As soon as they were out of sight I
escaped and legged it but it was a close call!!

The next day of nineteen miles was cooler but we were hit with thunderstorms and
torrential rain. Again, I finished in poor shape and this time with blisters on both feet.

The last day of nineteen miles is one of celebration and the weather was better. The
problem now was that suffering from the lasting effects of covid and not having
walked more than three miles in training I was badly prepared and there was no gas
left in the tank. The crowds over the final eight kilometres are typical of the spirit of Nijmegen.
Walkers are cheered on and nearing the finish are presented with flowers, but running
on empty and with bad blisters I’m afraid I found it difficult to think of anything but
reaching the finishing line which never seemed to get nearer.

In cooler times 1958 Joe Lambert of LWC leads the Race Walking Association team with Chris in the background

Yes it was hard, yes it was painful but I have booked my hotel for next year when I
hope to complete my twentieth Nijmegen Vierdaagse.

This lovely 1960 photo of the RWA team sees a youthful Chris and Ron Wallwork sitting on the floor, In those days participants had to cover 55 kilometres on each of the Four Days.
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1 Response to Chris Bolton’s 19th Nijmegen – he was only there for the beer!

  1. William Mackintosh Saunders Sutherland says:

    Hi Tony, What a lovely photograph of Joe Lambert and Ron Wallwork at Nijmegen. I remember doing it once and still have a commemorative spoon! Never forget the early starts and the Met Police Team had a passenger who was short of training! The American Marines took pride of place with all their flash gear, but used to have substitutes standing by as they collapsed like dominoes! Those were great days in the 60’s. Stay safe and well. Regards to all, Bill and Kath

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