You’ve got to start somewhere. “Somewhere” could be Indiana, Vermont, Oregon, Texas, Saskatchewan, Vienna, Canberra, anywhere. Volkssporting is international in scope.
Volksmarches, or volkswalks, are walks you do at your own pace, and many times you can choose between a 5K (3.1 mi.) or 10K (6.2 mi.) walk. If you get tired, find a bench and relax, or if there's a restaurant nearby, head on in for light refreshment, then continue your walk when you're rested.
Walks are: year round events (called YREs), seasonal events, and events sponsored by a local club on a certain day (or days). Joining AVA is $25 per year. You can do the walks for free without joining (AVA does ask you to sign a waiver form and their registration book or start card), or if you join, the walks cost $3.00 and you earn badges and pins. Your choice.
Anyone can do a volkswalk. To find walks in the United States, go to American Volksport Association (for Canada, go to The Canadian Volkssport Federation). On the left column (in the U.S. version) you will see a link to "Locate Walking Events." Click on that link. (Canadian version, click on the "Walks" button.) On the next page, click on "Find Walking Events." When the "Search Events" screen comes up, enter the state you wish to walk in and hit enter. A list for all walks in that state will populate. To narrow your search, also fill in a city for that state and you will get a list with entries only for that city. Click on the entry line for the walk you're interested in and the "Event Details" will come up with a description of the walk.
Notes on AVA.org's website walk list page:
- If the date shows 9/22/13-9/22/13, it is a sponsored event by a local club on that date.
- If the date shows 1/1/13-12/31/13, it is a YRE.
- For a sponsored event, a start location and directions to the starting point are given. You will find a start and end time. On event day at the start location, you pick up a map; a checkpoint along the way may have a snack, then you end where you started.
- For a YRE or seasonal event, the instructions will give you a start point, i.e. Comfort Inn, grocery store, etc., Go to the start point and ask for the "walk box." You will find the registration book for you to sign, a place on the page to check "free" or "for credit," then sign the book, which is signing their waiver.
- A walk rating is given. The rating is one to five: one being easiest, five being hardest.
- Also noted on the website walk page: are dogs allowed, can wheelchairs or strollers navigate the walk, are there restrooms available along the route, and what can you expect to see on the walk: neighborhoods, architecture, antique stores, historic markers, colleges, cemeteries, rivers, parks, forts, mansions, hotels, seawalls, museums, visitor centers, gardens.
Volkssporting is worldwide, so time spent surfing the Web will help locate walks in other countries.
I have been a member for years and have done sponsored as well as year-round events. Sponsored events can be to showcase a special place or festival, i.e., country fairs, flowers, state parks, waterfalls, history, covered bridges, etc.).
Once you get the hang of it, it's easy. If you have questions, please shoot me a question in the "Comments" section.
NOTE: Volkssporting events may also include bike riding, boating or ice skating.
Have fun! Let me know where you go and how you like it.