Thursday, March 10, 2005

Fitness Tip: Volksmarching?

Anybody ever heard of the American Volkssport Association (AVA)? Ex-military, military spouses and military-brats may be more familiar with the International Volkssport Federation, the IVV. In either case these dudes organize and participate in Volksmarches.

What is Volksmarching:

According to the AVA, a Volksmarch is a non-competitive 6 mile (10 kilometer) walk. It's not a pledge walk, it's not a race, it is a fun activity you do with a club, with your family, with your pet, or all by yourself. Volksmarching got its name from its origins in Europe. Today there are thousands of volkssport clubs around the world, allied in the International Volkssport Federation, the IVV.

Back in the 80’s and 90’s I was into this in a big way in Germany. I belonged to the Heidelberg American Wandering Club and we went EVERY weekend! The good news is that in Germany the walks are not limited to 10K, they do 20K, marathon, and 50K. I racked up thousands of kilometers in the 90’s, including “wandering” three marathon’s. The IVV marathons, are not timed, but I remember doing my last one in 5:55 (I had a heck of a walking pace then).

I have been thinking about going to some this summer and run the 20K – a good way to cover a variety of terrain, plus the fact that they offer something to eat/drink every 5-7K’s, as well as after the event at the finish.

Anyway these are great for walkers, nordic walkers, and even joggers. I know various parts of the USA have active clubs, I'm not sure about Canada.

Links: - American Volkssport Association - International Volkssport Federation

I thought I'd add this: I had a discussion today with a couple sport freaks at work about Volksmarching. They were like, "Yeah, that's like for old grandma's with their grandkids isn't it?" My answer, depends on how you walk, I averaged 2:30 for 20K's - that's a 12 minute mile (walking!).
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