Written by Sarah Shelley | Content Development Specialist

They completed an 18.6-mile (30 kilometer) march within 4.5 hours, all while wearing Army gear and carrying a 25-pound rucksack on their backs.

Four student cadets in University of the Cumberlands’ ROTC program were recently awarded the Norwegian badge for completing the Norwegian Foot March within the allotted time limit.

Micah Fisher, a sophomore, Rylan Reed, a senior, Jacob Canada, a sophomore, and Jesse Jones, a freshman, completed an 18.6-mile (30 kilometer) march within 4.5 hours, all while wearing Army gear and carrying a 25-pound rucksack on their backs.

Fisher viewed it like a race; it was a good time to clear her head and do something she loved: running. The march was also an opportunity to challenge herself in a way she hadn’t before. 

“Finishing the march was incredible,” she said. “It was the moment I’d been dreaming of for the whole three hours and 56 minutes prior! I crossed the line and was greeted by the Norwegian Lieutenant with a handshake.”

The goal of the Norwegian Foot March, according to the Norwegian Armed Forces, is “to stimulate the general interest of marching over extended distances amongst military and civilian personnel.”

Jacob Canada, a sophomore, was one of the four cadets who participated. As he put it, “The Norwegian Foot March was one of the toughest things I’ve done physically and mentally. I constantly reminded myself throughout the whole 18.6 miles that I was prepared.” 

Challenges like these are not easy to accomplish and require a lot of physical training in order to be prepared. 

Raymond Salas, the ROTC Program Coordinator at Cumberlands, was proud of each of the cadets for how they had worked to prepare themselves for the march.

He said, “These cadets worked diligently and pushed themselves during their physical training to achieve this accomplishment.” 

Fisher said she would highly recommend this experience to anyone willing to try it, but would remind them to make sure they have properly trained and have the right equipment.  

“The feeling of a ruck on your back and boots on your feet is very different from just running in tennis shoes,” she said. “Mentally prepare yourself that it’s going to be difficult but worth it.”

Throughout the march, there were food and drink stations along the route and first aid on hand to ensure the safety of the participants.

Training for these events and for potential military careers is what the ROTC program at University of the Cumberlands is all about. Per the Cumberlands website, the Army ROTC program (Patriots Company) is designed to “train students to become leaders, listeners, problem solvers, and true heroes.” Through ROTC, cadets receive specialized military training, become more physically fit, and strengthen their leadership, communication, and teamwork skills. Upon graduation, Cumberlands ROTC cadets have the opportunity to be commissioned into the Army as second lieutenants. To learn more about the ROTC program at Cumberlands, visit www.ucumberlands.edu/rotc