The DANCON March

The DANCON March is a tradition within the Royal Danish Army that dates back to 1972 when Danish troops were deployed to Cyprus. The march is designed to be a social gathering and to test the physical readiness of the troops participating

The Dancon March is a tradition for Danish Soldiers wherever they are stationed at the time. The march is approximately 16.62 miles long with terrain varying based on the area in which the march is held.  All Soldiers are required to carry at least 22 pounds.  The march invites foreign troops, allied with Denmark to participate in the march. Marches have taken place in Cyprus, Croatia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan.  Successfully completing the DANCON March  nets participants a certificate of completion and the DANCON March Medal.  While the primary intent of the march is a test of physical fitness, the majority of participants do so because of the social benefits of the event.

The last DANCON March took place in January 2013, Camp Viking on Camp Bastion 2, Afghanistan.


Chuck’s Update

I participated in the DANCON March in the summer of 2007 while I was deployed to Camp Bondsteel, Kosovo, part of the KFOR8 Rotation. The event was very popular in Kosovo. We had participants from many different countries at the event.  There were Polish, Greek, Danish, American, German, Canadian, French and many other countries involved. The course itself was 25.2 km (just over 15.6 miles) of hills, off road terrain, paved roads and mountains.  At the time of the event, this is the longest ruck march I ever did.

Several peers of mine (from the G4 Section) participated in the event. It was fun and challenging. I personally finished the event in 4 hours and 27 minutes. I averaged about a 15 minute mile pace throughout the course. I did some running, some jogging and mostly walking. By the time I reached the finish line I was dehydrated, tired and sweaty.  My feet were really soar and blistered.  I changed socks twice during the race, but it didn’t help all that much.  In fact, I didn’t walk right for the next three days.

For finishing the race, we received a nice certificate and medal (see photos). Unfortunately, US Soldiers are not authorized to wear the medal on their uniform. I’ve attached a photo of my medal and certificate so you can see what they look like.

All in all, the DANCON Road/Ruck March was everything I thought it would be: tough and fun.  I would gladly do it again.  It’s fun to challenge yourself physically and see what you are capable of.

If you’ve ever participated in the DANCON March I would love to hear from you. Just leave a comment to this post to share your story.

If you have any questions about the Dancon March, you can post those here too. Thank you.

chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)

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36 thoughts on “The DANCON March”

  1. I did the Dancon march in Cyprus back in 1990. I was stationed with the Canadian contingent of the U.N. It was challenging but offered the beautiful scenery of the Troodos mountains and a welcome relief from the monotony of sitting in an observation post for 12 hours at a time. As I recall we had to carry 30 ibs as well.

  2. Did the DANCON in 2007 in Baghdad. I was a Navy guy embeded with a bunch of Army grunts that got me to go with them. Did not know what I was doing. Finished but both my feet were one bid blister. Limped around for a week after.

    1. I could say something harsh, but I won’t because you DID IT!

      Great job and it is cool to see Army and Navy come together as a team.

      Blisters heal but memories last a lifetime.

    2. I am one of few US soldiers who have completed the DANCON in three different deployments: Bosnia in 2002, Afghanistan in 2003 and Iraq in 2007 so I have different DANCON ribbons/medals/certificates. Bosnia was toughest because of the hills.

  3. I did the DANCON march when I was stationed in the former Yugoslavia with ( UNPROFOR ) ( UNCIVPOL ) with the RCMP. I was the oldest man at age 50. I made it within the time constraints, but didn’t keep properly hydrated. Later when trying to sleep I had severe leg cramps and walked funny for a couple of days. I was great comradery though. I have a lot of admiration for the Danish Army and the Danish National Police.

  4. I finished the Dancon March in Afghanistan just within five hours. I went a little over the required weight, had done a some training to include the Guardian Angel walks on our missions and drank a lot of water along with carbing up prior to the event. I did change socks at the halfway point and sported the moleskin. It was a great experience. Being the only 11B in our group on this activation, I thought I’d better do it. Walked gingerly for about three to four days after the event.

    1. Dude how did you get so cool? Congrats on learning how to use the term POG! I really look up to Internet warriors like yourself, a grunt, if you will. Thanks for your service big hooah!

  5. I just finished the 2016 Camp Buehring, Kuwait. We Tucker around the base twice. 16 Mike’s in 3:23:05.
    The medals were not available so we only got the certificate but that’s still pretty cool to be involved with such a time honoured event

  6. After a little research I found that in AR 600–8–22 • 11 December 2006 edition, linked below, Appendix D:
    Authorized Danish Ribbons:
    Denmark Royal Danish Army Patrol Tab
    Royal Danish Parachutist
    Royal Danish Marksmanship
    * Danish Contingent March
    Medal *

    As of the June 2015 edition of 600-8-22, the DANCON march is not listed. However, I cannot find anything that says the DANCON ribbon unauthorized.

    So, does there have to be a form that comes out that says the ribbon is no longer authorized?

    1. I just read the 25JUN15 version of AR 600-8-22. The Danish Contigent Medal is listed but marked with note 1, “Honorary. Unless otherwise specified, this award may only be accepted and retained; it is not allowed for wear on the U.S. Army uniform.” Why would this medal have been removed from the wearable foreign badges list? – DANCON 28FEB16 Camp Arifjan, KU

  7. Look in 600-8-22 and you’ll see that the dancon march medal is authorized for acceptance and wear on the US Army uniform.

    1. I see in the 600-8-22 that this is authorized to wear, but I’m wondering where on the uniform it is worn. On the left side above the unit awards and below the DUI? And do you wear the ribbon or the actual medal?

  8. Hey

    Have a look in US Army AR 600-8-22, appendix D, Foreing Badges.

    Find Denmark and you will see that Danish Contingent March Medal is authorized for acceptance and wear on the Army uniform.


    1. Sadly, in the latest edition of AR 600–8–22 • 25 June 2015, the Danish March is no longer on the list. Unless I’m missing something, which I seriously hope I am, I just finished the DANCON and would really like to wear the ribbon.

        1. Here’s what I’ve found. In the latest edition of AR 600-8-22, June 2015, the DANCON ribbon is not listed.
          Appendix D:

          However, in the 2006 the DANCON ribbon is listed.

          That said, I cannot find anything (as of yet) that says the ribbon is not/no longer authorized.

          So, at a cross roads here. Do I wear it quote old regs? Or do I leave it off in accordance with the newest reg?

          1. David, I believe it would be best to question your chain of command on that one. Personally, I would wear the ribbon, but your leaders are the best judge in this matter. I bet that there just may have been a typo in the new regs, but you never know.

  9. I have not heard about the DANCON March before. It sounds pretty interesting though and it sounds like a good idea.

    I have no doubt that it tests you physically.

    It sounds like an outstanding experience though.

  10. I completed the Dancon while in Bosnia back in 2001..I was able to complete it in 5 hrs and 45 min carrying 42 lbs…I still hurt when I think about it.

  11. Jonathan Jeffrey

    I just did one in KAF, Afghanistan yesterday 30th Oct. My feet are still killing me! The required items were body armor helmet M4 with 5 mags M9 with 3 mags and multi-cam uniform. I don’t know the distance if i had I may not have pushed as hard.

  12. Do you personally think, the Dancon ribbon will ever be able to be worn? I complete it in Kosovo last year and sure think it was worth the accomplishment to wear on our dress uniform?

    1. Jenn,

      I earned it to and never understood why we can’t wear it on our uniform. Hopefully, the Army will change their policy in the near future, although I highly doubt it.


  13. I Just finished the DANCON MARCH this morning here in Afghanistan!. I didn’t prepare myself for it, actually a friend told me he would be doing it in the morning and I just had to go. I heard the minimum weight was 22 pounds and being that I’m a Marine I figured I should go heavier. 60 pounds is not a good idea! If you are a beginner or do not regularly participate in ruck marches then dont over do it. I would recommend to anyone participating that they find a way to prepare. Make sure you have the right boots/socks and be hydrated! I had a great time and was very proud of myself coming in at 3 hrs and 52 min although some have done it in just over 2 hrs. It was definitely an experience of a lifetime and I would do it all over again. Just not on a whim, next time I’ll be better prepared. Semper Fidelis.

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