The Thames Valley Wing Marching Team have started their training with an aim of being selected for the world famous Nijmegen Marches held in Holland each July. The team have a lot to live up to as they are past multiple winners of the prestigious Jon Ford Trophy for being the best Air Cadet team in the marches as well as having a reputation for marching at a strong pace, beating many regular service teams along the way!
The thirty strong team, lead by road marching veteran Flight Lieutenant Karl Kisley, started the build up with a short 10 mile march around the countryside and hills to the North of Abingdon. This will build over the months to 12, 18 and then 22 miles as team prepare for the 2-Day, 50 mile RAF qualifying march held in April at RAF Cosford.
Sergeant Exelby of 2121 (Abingdon) Squadron was enjoying the march in the winter sunshine “The training gets you to work as a team, knowing each others strengths and weaknesses so you can help when it comes down to doing the 100 miles in 4 days you can get everybody around the course! If you have never though about road marching you should try it, it’s a good laugh, you get to meet new people and bond with other Squadrons as well”
Cadet Holbrook of 1315 (Kidlington) Squadron continues “This is my 2nd year of Nijmegen training – It’s all about marching fast in an orderly and controlled fashion once you get used to it, it is pretty good actually and you roll into it”. It is also the 2nd season for Cpl Rickets of 2499 (Wokingham) who explains that fitness is key “It is a test of physical endurance – Cosford is a 50 mile 2-day March and Nijmegen is 100 mile over 4 days. It has a great social aspect as you can talk to the other cadets in the squad as well as interacting with people from other Squadrons.
Flight Lieutenant Karl Kisley talks about Nijmegen
The team is lead and coached by Flight Lieutenant Karl Kisley who has many Nijmegen marches under his belt. He explains “It is all about hard work, commitment, dedication and lots of blisters! The training has to be tough – you’ve got to do the miles to qualify get fit and qualify for the event – when you get to Holland it is all worthwhile. We start our training with a route of about 12 miles, then we’ll extend this to 18 and then a few 22’s in the last few months before we hopefully deploy to Holland. The cadets achieve a sense of self respect, teamwork and a medal when they have finished!”