18.6 miles in 4.5 hours

Justin Law

Andrew Nalin puts one foot in front of the other.

For the third year in a row Cadet Maj. Nalin will walk 18.6 miles during USI’s 10th annual Norwegian Road March. He will march 9.3 miles away from campus, reach a local church and turn around and march back while racing the clock.

Last year Nalin crossed the finish line in three hours and 23 minutes and finished in seventh place.

“When I reached the halfway point my body was hurting all over and I felt like shutting down,” Nalin said. “I had to look around and remind myself that everyone else was in just as much pain as I was.”

All participants must carry a 25 pound rucksack and complete the course in four and a half hours.

“My strategy to is walk the entire first half of the march, then run the second half,” Nalin said. “It’s my way of making sure my body doesn’t give out on me.”

University adviser Nils Johansen started up the program when he came to USI one decade ago. As a former Norwegian artillery officer, Johansen received permission from the Norwegian chief of artillery to run the march here.

“It is a typical boot camp activity for Norwegian soldiers,” Johansen said. “I did the training several times and got the badge in gold for marching it eight times.”

In the last 10 years, the program has expanded from the 20-30 student participation to the average of 250 participants from around the country, Cap. Joel Matherly said.

“We have people come from Indiana University, Purdue and Indiana State,” Matherly said. “This year we have someone coming from Korea.”

Matherly makes sure everything goes according to plan. A color coordinates to-do list lets him know what he still needs to do to make the march a success.

“It’s similar to a stop light,” Matherly said. “Everything finished is green, everything still in the process is yellow and everything red still needs some work.”

The march on USI campus and follows country roads to a church located at the intersection of Ford and Copperline road. After reaching the church marchers will turn around and walk the same exact course back to campus. Anyone unable to complete the course will be picked up by a van and disqualified.

Everyone must stay on the predetermined course and checkpoints will help marchers know when to turn.

“We get so much support from everyone at USI,” Matherly said. “They really make the event so much smoother, and I see it continuing for many years.”