Mick, an employee at Universitair Sportcentrum (USC), walked 60.7 kilometres from Amsterdam to the International Court of Human Justice in The Hague in solidarity with Ukrainian refugees. Mick did not actually go to The Hague though, he completed the walk on a USC treadmill. With this, Mick raised 2600 euros for the charity organisation Giro 555.
Mick wanted to do something more than post a couple of photos online. Mick said he doesn’t have a specialised skill and that he couldn’t teach a kickboxing or HIIT class, so walking this poignant distance was an easy decision. Well, at least for Mick. Mick noted that walking for charity is a popular challenge to undertake in the Netherlands and therefore saw it as an easy way to combine his challenge with the USC by walking on one of the treadmills.
Having decided that, Mick stated that he ‘wanted to look for a symbolic distance.’ He turned to routes and distances that would be symbolic within the Netherlands. Being a resident of Amsterdam and the International Court of Human Justice being in the Hague, Mick’s challenge was decided: a total distance of 60.7km. A challenge that would be physically tiring and take a huge amount of willpower to complete.
When asked about his motivations Mick stated: ‘It’s part of the way I like to live my life. I like to raise awareness for a lot of issues. The situation for Ukrainian refugees is just awful and this is an easy way for me to contribute to the larger action of the Netherlands.’ Mick also stated that he feels particularly connected to helping refugees as he’s looking for a job in the field of working with asylum seekers and refugees: ‘So for me, it makes sense to do these sorts of things as they are so important.’ The money that Mick has raised will be donated to an organisation called Giro 555. This is a combination of eleven charities in The Netherlands such as the Red Cross and Save the Children, that provides money to people in crises and is currently financially supporting Ukrainian refugees.
When speaking to Mick about the walk, he said: ‘I thought it was going to be harder but by the end, the blisters were there, and my legs were sore.’ The first 40 km seemed to go well for Mick, but the difficulties of completing this challenge on a treadmill became clear: ‘The last four hours were the worst, with the kilometres passing by very slowly on the screen.’ Completing the challenge in the USC gym, Mick was able to put three treadmills together and invited friends and co-workers to walk part of the way with him as well as others who walked by and wanted to show their support by joining Mick. With the support from colleagues, friends, and strangers Mick raised the grand total of 2600 euros for Ukrainian refugees.