The Royal Canadian Legion will be represented at this year’s Nijmegen March by Ryan Ference, a member of Branch #39 in Lloydminster, Saskatchewan. He will now maintain a rigorous training regimen to prepare for a challenging walk in the Netherlands later this summer.
“When I realized I was the choice, I was beyond excited,” he says. “I was proud to be the choice, and honoured…I’m really excited about seeing the war memorials and battlefields, I’ve wanted to do that as long as I can remember, so the chance to do it in this fashion is incredible.”
The 102nd annual Nijmegen March takes place this year from July 17-20. It is one of the world’s largest walking and marching events. For military participants, it usually means four days of walking more than 40 km a day with a 10 kg backpack.
Ryan must log 900 kilometres in preparation, and says he’ll be training hard mostly in the mornings and evenings.
“A lot of walking with weights from 25 to 40 pounds, and just put the miles on,” he says.
A Combat Engineer with the 41 CER Reserve Unit based in Edmonton, Ryan was chosen from among dozens of applications sent to Provincial Commands across the country. “We consider everything from physical fitness to being an exemplary ambassador for the Legion,” says Dominion President David Flannigan. “We are proud to have Ryan represent us, and we wish him well on his journey.”
Ryan’s history with the Legion includes significant fundraising efforts and helping with various initiatives to support Veterans. As a member of the Canadian Armed Forces, he has also participated in flood and fire relief efforts in Western Canada.
The Canadian Armed Forces traditionally invites a Legion member to join its team each year, in recognition of the Legion’s sponsorship of the team’s visit to Vimy Ridge while in Europe for the March.
Close to fifty thousand military members and civilians combined, take part in the Nijmegen March every year. To learn more, please visit: https://www.4daagse.nl/en/