Saturday the 17th of June 2023
STAGE 5 – 81 KM | The looong day, we all feared… First of all, because it’s the longest distance, but also on the hottest day of the year in the Netherlands. Today we’re running in the area of Operation Market Garden. Market Garden was a military operation in September 1944. It aimed to secure several key bridges in the Netherlands to aid the Allied advance into Germany. However, it ultimately ended in a partial success, as the Allies were unable to capture the final bridge at Arnhem. The US 101st Airborne Division played a crucial role in the operation, landing by parachutes and gliders to secure strategic positions.
Start at 08:30 in Best (next to Eindhoven) at the Joe Mann Memorial. At the start, Mc Batch, our bagpiper, was there to blow us away with ‘Highland Cathedral’, chicken skin allover. First, straight through the cornfield at Paulushoeve. We meandered through the countryside and went straight across ‘the German railway line’ past Sint Oedenrode and Veghel. Then we went through Uden towards Grave. Grave, where the original bridge from WWII still stands. Then 15 km through the ‘oven’ in the floodplains along the river Maas towards Mook. In Mook, at the war cemetery, was the last refreshment point, 15 km before the finish. The sting was in the tail; at Groesbeek, we climbed up the plateau, past the Canadian cemetery, and ultimately finished at the Duivelsberg! It was long, hot, and brutal…