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News - RCL - 27 Jul 2017

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RCL: 27 Jul 2017
Waterloo legion member represents Canada at gruelling Nijmegen Marches

Kim Peters has been a member of the Waterloo legion for eight years. - Submitted photo

A Waterloo Region legion member is marching 160 kilometres this week on behalf of Canada.

Kim Peters was selected to represent the Royal Canadian Legion at the Nijmegen Marches, taking place July 18 to 21.

She will walk 40 kilometres a day for four days, carrying 10 kilograms of weight plus food and water, across the same land where many Canadian soldiers died during the Second World War.

“I see it as a challenge, a once in a lifetime opportunity,” said Peters, a member of Waterloo Legion Branch 530. “Putting on the uniform of the legion will be huge.”

Peters works with local at-risk and homeless youth, and volunteers as a commanding officer of 1882 Wellington Rifles Army Cadet Corps in Guelph and as a medical first responder at St. John Ambulance in Waterloo Region. At the Waterloo legion, she's branch secretary and visits isolated veterans and hospitalized community members.

"She is an outstanding role model who dedicates her time to helping veterans and her community — both of which are key pillars of the Royal Canadian Legion’s work," said legion spokesperson Nujma Bond in an email.

The Nijmegen Marches began 101 years ago, as a way for Dutch infantry to improve their long-distance marching and weight-carrying abilities. Between 1944 and 1945, thousands of Canadians died in the area while liberating the Netherlands from German occupation. Today, it attracts 45,000 civilian marchers from more than 50 countries, plus 5,500 military participants.

This year, about 170 Canadian military members and special guests will participate across more than a dozen teams. Peters’ team is composed of RCMP officers, Global Affairs Canada civil servants, rangers and a diplomat.

In order for her team to be accepted into the march, they had to collectively complete a minimum of 500 kilometres of training and each marched two consecutive days of 40 kilometres.

“The marches are neither a competition nor a speed test,” said a Government of Canada press release, “but proper training and good team spirit are required to ensure success.”

Peters said she trained for four months by walking around Kitchener and Waterloo as well as participating in the Waterloo Marathon this spring.

“I wandered everywhere,” she said. “If someone saw a person with an army rucksack on her back wandering aimlessly, that was me.”

This is the third year Peters applied to represent the legion and called it “a big deal.”

She’s prepared to wake up at 3 a.m., start marching at 4 a.m. and finish at 2 p.m. Her pace will be about five kilometres an hour.

Samantha Beattie
by Samantha Beattie

Samantha Beattie is a reporter with the Waterloo Chronicle. She can be reached at Follow her on Twitter
eMail: Twitter

Samantha Beattie Waterloo Chronicle/AA

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