More than 18 miles of hiking trails weren’t going to stop them. Nor were the cold November rain or the 25-pound rucksacks and frames on their backs. Instead, the 530 ROTC cadets and soldiers from 30 states said: “Bring it on.”
Modeled almost completely after similar events in Norway, the 12th annual Norwegian Foot March on Nov. 2 at the University of Southern Indiana was the largest event to date. The benefit event for the USI ROTC program required participants to march 18.6 miles on trails with various terrains covering various terrains while dressed in military attire.
Sponsored by Dr. Nils Johansen, a retired Norwegian artillery reserve officer and USI University Division adviser, the race is similar to a boot camp tradition for Norwegian soldiers. Cadets and soldiers who complete the march in an allotted time are awarded a certificate and a bronze Norwegian military skills badge.
National Guardsman Nicholas Fischer of Jasper, Ind., was the first male to complete the event in a time of 2 hours, 55 minutes. The 29-year-old trained for three months before the race and lost 42 pounds in the process.
Emily Nordt, a 19-year-old sophomore Army ROTC cadet at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, finished first among females and broke the record in that category with a time of 3 hours, 19 minutes. The previous record was 3 hours, 54 minutes.
Registration for the 13th annual Norwegian Foot March opens in March.
For more information about the USI Norwegian Foot March, call 812-461-5303 or visit usi.edu/extserve/rotc.