Army: 80-kilometre hike ‘too much’ for pupils

Army: 80-kilometre hike 'too much' for pupils
At 80 kilometres, the walk is 30 kilometres further than those undertaken by Swiss army recruits. Photo: Vasile Cotovanu
A secondary school teacher who intends to take his 15-year-old pupils on an 80-kilometre walk through the night has been warned against the idea by the Swiss army.

Rico Diethelm, a teacher at a school in Neunkirch, in the canton of Schaffhausen, is planning to take his students on a hike along the Rhine from Rheinfelden back to Neunkirch starting this Thursday night, according to local newspaper Schaffhauser Nachrichten.

The students, who have been in training since the spring, will walk without taking a break for sleep, with the aim of completing the distance in 24 hours.

Speaking to newspaper 20 Minuten, Diethelm said:  “The aim of the project is to show the students what happens when you reach your limits. When I first told them about it they thought it was a joke.”

At 80 kilometres, the walk is 30 kilometres further than the longest hike imposed on trainee recruits in the Swiss army.

Christoph Brunner, a spokesman for the army, has advised against the walk.

“It’s too much to ask of 15-year-olds,” he told 20 Minuten, adding that it was unlikely the students would finish without being in considerable pain.

But teacher Diethelm disagrees.

“You can’t compare this situation to the army. My students can stop whenever they like. If they can’t carry on, it doesn’t matter and I won’t force them to continue. It’s not military training.”

A number of parents will be on hand during the course of the walk to step in should any student wish to drop out.

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