Written by Jane Love | May 2016
The streets of Marbella and surrounding areas are likely to be filled with walkers from all over the world who have flocked to the town to take part in this 20km per day event (80km over four days), enjoying the best of southern Spain on route. The event has its origins in the city of Nijmegen, Holland, where each year, nearly 50,000 walkers take part in the Vierdaagse of Nijmegen. This year is the first year a similar event will be held in Marbella.
Marbella 4 Days Walking will take place at a perfect time of year, when the summer heat has passed and the cooler temperatures are upon us. On Sunday morning between 8.30 and 9am on 9th October, the walkers will start their route of 20km, and will have until 4pm to finish. Refreshment stops will be situated along the way. On the last day of the walk, the 12th October, the Avenida Ricardo Soriano, Marbella, will be renamed ´Via Gladiolo´ for the day, as the participants are received with the Roman symbol for victory, the Gladiolus.
People who finish the walk will also be presented with the Marbella 4 Days Walking Medal. Nijmegen is the eldest city in Holland, and it renames its main street, the St. Annastraat, Via Gladiola once a year when the town welcomes its walkers at the end of day four. Traditionally, onlookers hand out gladioli to the walkers.
The Dutch have a saying, which translates as: ´death or the gladioli´, which means literally, ´all or nothing.´ It has been recorded that this phrase was chanted in the arena in Roman times by spectators in the stands, who watched the gladiators fight to the death with each other. After a heroic victory, the winner was covered in gladioli by the cheering crowds.
An event of this size must be organised properly, and the Organisation of the Vierdaagse in Nijmegen and the Dutch Association for Walking are sharing their knowledge and experience of similar events in Holland with Marbella Town Hall, to ensure that all practical and logistical details are discussed.
Resting areas along the routes will be designed and accessible for all participants of the Walk, and medical care will also be provided. Also, at the start and finish of the Walk, both at the Alameda Marbella, a blister poli-clinic and first aid post will be available to walkers. Toilet facilities en route will also be available, free of charge.
Much of the work being done at the event will be carried out by volunteers, and with their enthusiasm and dedication, every participant should enjoy this incredible event. The Red Cross, Protección Civil, Guardia Civil and Policia Local will ensure everything runs smoothly.