As indicated already, this is about walking a loooong way somewhere in Belgium. In order to provide you with some insights about the background why we went there, the reason for that walk, with what intentions, I simply stole one of the Leeds Met Walking Club Committee member’s entry on the university homepage and will supplement that with a few own comments in the end:
“This year between the 2nd and 4th of May, the town of Ieper (Ypres) in Belgium hosted the 37th annual 100KM walk over Flanders Fields to commemorate the tragic events of the First World War. The walk itself is an amazing opportunity to come together with people of many different nationalities and though we were all walking with the same goal of completing the 100KM, there was a much greater sense of unity in tribute and remembrance. The 100KM walk is a definite physical and mental challenge but when considered and put into context after visiting the countless cemeteries and memorials scattered amongst the Ieper countryside, such as Hill 60, Larchwood Railway Cutting Cemetery, Blauweport Farm Cemetery and the Railway Dugouts Burial Ground, the physical discomfort and mental strain seem wholly insignificant.
The Walking Club returned to again pay tribute to all of the servicemen who fought and gave their lives in this conflict by laying a wreath at the Menin Gate during the incredibly moving Last Post ceremony. The entire experience was conversely enjoyable and yet understandably sombre, however the opportunity to show our respect (as both Walking Club members and Leeds Met students) has made it completely rewarding.”
Going away from the historic background of the walk, more towards the actual challenge of walking 100km in three days, I can say that preparing yourself well definitely helps. Whilst I had to skip the last day (i.e. the last 20km) when I was there for the first time in 2006, all sorts of anti-blister preparation including Compeed, needles, crèmes, anti-blister socks, 5 different pairs of shoes (although I walked with one pair only all the time in the end), Ibuprofen, Paracetamol, and the whole thing gets pretty much doable. Although walking the majority of the day on roads is probably the hardest part of the whole trip. And I can guarantee you that neither the British, nor the Belgium, nor the German soldiers who joined the walk too were in any better state or shape than we were. Let’s hope for those countries that they never actually need an army to defend a country!
Anyway, it was all good fun, it really was. We were a great group of 15 people, 11 completed the full 100km (and the 4 who didn’t mainly were lazy rather than physically not capable of doing it); sleeping in huge tents next to military barracks together with civilian and military groups from all over the place, very pretty Belgium countryside, perfect (almost too warm) weather, grilled sausages at 10 in the morning at one of the checkpoints, what else do you need?
Even more information can be found at: http://www.100km.be
This post describes the event in 2008… several further trips to the 100km van Ieper in Belgium followed.