A Larne Air Cadet is celebrating her success on the ground after completing a gruelling 100-mile march in Holland in just four days.
Cadet Megan Reid, 16 (pictured) from 806 Larne Squadron Air Cadets. recently completed the arduous Nijmegen March.
The ‘Walk of the World’ event is one of the ‘International Four Day Marches Nijmegen’, which are among the largest multi-day walking events in the world.
Megan, a pupil at Slemish College, told The Times that the experience was one of the best things she had ever done. She said: “It was amazing, the atmosphere was great. We were staying in the same camp site as 5,000 other people, not just military but also civilians.
“It wasn’t a race, everyone was in it together and there was great camaraderie. Mentally it was so hard and we had to keep each other going.”
The 22-strong local group undertook training marches from Holywood to Bangor and a weekend at Aldergrove, but Megan admits that the real route was much more demanding. She continued: “I was the youngest marcher as I’d just turned 16. The boys aged over 18 also had to carry 10kg in weight o their backs.
“The third day was difficult as it was the hill day. On the fourth day I cried so much as I wanted it to be over.
“My feet were very sore and we had to wear heavy combat boots and walk in 31 degree heat with 90 per cent humidity while in uniform.
“But you forget about it once you’ve finished-to say you’ve walked 100 miles is such an achievement.”
At the end of the march, the team took part in a victory parade through local towns.
Megan recalled: “In Holland everyone comes out to walk and this is a national event.”
The cadet says that her family were “so proud” of her, but admits that she slept for a week after she returned home.
However, despite the physical demands of the task, Megan, who will receive her GCSE results today (Thursday), is determined to return to Holland to take part in the march again.
She revealed: “I’m going back for more next year and then I’m going to go back the following year because that’s the 100th anniversary of the event. I want to walk 100 miles in the 100th year! I would recommend this event so much.”