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NIJMEGEN, Netherlands — It takes everything in a person to finish the 25-miles-a-day trek through small towns and villages during the International Four Day Marches of Nijmegen.

For some stateside-based airmen who took on the feat, it also took everything out of them — out of their wallets, vacation time and patience.

Despite the lack of command support, eight marchers out of Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., and another from Minot Air Force Base, S.D., used up all their personal resources to make it to the event.

Flying by Space-A travel, they used the $1,400 they earned through fund-raisers to hop through four Air Force bases before making it to Ramstein Air Base, Germany, in four days. Then, they each reached into their own pockets and spent more than 500 euros to rent a car to drive to the event.

By the time they made it to Nijmegen and each had paid the 200-euro (about $250) entrance fee, the group was out of money.

“The car’s at one-quarter tank [of gas]. I don’t know how we’re going to get home,” the group’s organizer, Staff Sgt. Matthew Lowell, said, referring to “home” as Ramstein Air Base, some 235 miles from Nijmegen.

Lowell placed an ad in a local paper at his home base to recruit the team for the marches, which he and his wife had participated in the previous year.

About 20 people started training in April for the event, but only nine marchers were able to make it because of the lack of unit support, according to Lowell. Once they were in Nijmegen, they hooked up with other marchers to form a team. Event rules require at least 11 people for a team.

“He lied to us,” joked Senior Airman Rafael Camacho, 25, of Dallas. “He said we’d have to walk like 10 miles a day, and we’d have five-course meals three times a day.”

Though in an upbeat mood, Camacho was nursing a huge blood blister on his left inner thigh. He wasn’t the only one in pain, though. By the third day, the team had lost two people and teamed up with an Army group out of Kaiserslautern, Germany, who had lost some marchers as well.

“We’re going to finish strong,” Lowell, 31, from north Idaho, predicted after the third day of marching while enjoying a cool beer in his bunk area on Camp Heumensoord.

Even with the aches and pains, empty pockets and dwindling leave time, when asked if it was worth it, Lowell said, “Oh, every step.”

Despite the injuries, all seven from the California group completed the final day of the marches.

“We helped each other as a team, and that was the only way we got through it, by giving encouragement to each other, said Capt. Richard Sodo, 33, of Los Angeles, as he lay in a bunk bed Friday with an intravenous tube attached to him. “I’m alright. I’m just a little dehydrated.”

Airman 1st Class Emily Sirois said the event was tougher than what she expected, “but I had an awesome time.”

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