Remy ten Hoedt
Remy ten Hoedt

Remy walks Four Days Marches with his son: 'I'm not a quitter'

Remy ten Hoedt, head of the Management Support department in the Information & Library Services division, would not describe himself as sports and performance-oriented. This is precisely why he started training back in September when his son Leander asked him to walk the Four Days Marches together this year, and to use some of his holiday hours for this. 'Walking gives me peace of mind.'

"Even a journey of 1,000 miles begins with the first step," the Chinese philosopher Laozi once said. After years of intentions, Remy took that first step last year. 'As a family we have been walking the Airborne March together in September for a long time, it's a kind of tradition,' Remy says. 'My son had suggested more than once to walk the Four Days Marches too, and last year he said he wanted to walk with the next edition.'

Remy wanted that too, but only if he could physically sustain it. 'I'm not that sporty and performance-oriented at all, so I wanted to know first if I would be able to hold on physically.' To test that, he and his son immediately walked 30 kilometres the day after the Airborne March. And on the weekends that followed, he continued to walk. 'My knees held up well, I got no blisters and the muscle pain wasn't too bad. Then I started to feel confident that with enough training I could also walk the Four-Day Walk.' So Remy stuck an extra week to his holiday to walk the famous hike. And he is not the only one. 'In our division, a number of colleagues walk along, which also makes it fun.'

Remy met zijn zoon Leander

Trough the storms

Regardless of the weather, Remy trained almost every weekend since last autumn. Together with his son, but also often enough alone. 'I discovered that walking is an activity that suits me. It gives me peace of mind and although I am always happy to be home, I feel satisfied after every hike I have completed.' 

Besides, it helps Remy start the new week better. 'Sunday evenings are never my favourite moments. Not because I hate going back to work on Monday, but I feel almost melancholic. It is hard to explain why. In recent months, I notice that feeling has been pushed into the background by walking.'

Remy recognises parallels between walking and his work anyway. 'Before I start with something, I think about it carefully, but once I'm doing it, it doesn't take any effort to make me commit to it and then I'm not a Sjaak afhaak (quitter) either.'

Beer and a snack

With over 1,000 practice kilometres in about 10 months, Remy and his son are well prepared and trained, but with the start approaching, tension still grows. 'What if you stub your toe or the weather is bad? Although you can't do anything about it, it crosses my mind sometimes. At the same time, it starts to itch. The construction work is in full swing and we talk about it more and more with colleagues who are also walking. I especially look forward to once we are on the road, the first day is behind us and I can recover with a beer and a savoury snack on the Wedren'.

After the Four Days Marches, Remy has little time to rest. 'On Sunday, we are going on holiday to Italy.' Will he have a chance to rest the legs there? 'Well, we want to visit some cities in Italy, so we will be walking. But 50 kilometres a day won't be it for now.'

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