WHAT IS VOLKSSPORTING?
Volkssport events include walking, swimming, bicycling, and cross country skiing. The most popular is walking or volksmarching. A volksmarch is a non-competitive walk. It is not a pledge walk, it’s not a race, it is a walk you can do alone or with your family or friends. Volksmarching got its name from its origins in Germany. Today there are thousands of volkssport clubs around the world, allied in the International Volkssport Federation (IVV). There are over 350 volkssport clubs throughout the USA allied through the American Volkssport Association (AVA). The local clubs host the walking events.
DO I HAVE TO JOIN A CLUB?
Clubs welcome new members, but you don’t have to join a club to participate. All events are open to the public.
HOW FAR DO YOU WALK?
The majority of the walks are 10 kilometers (6.3 miles). Occasionally there are walks of longer distances. Many clubs also offer an optional route of 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) for handicapped walkers, beginners or anyone who cannot walk, or does not want to walk the longer distance.
HOW MUCH TIME DO I HAVE TO FINISH THE WALK?
The sponsoring club determines the start and finish time; however ample time is provided. Most clubs have a starting time of 8:00 AM to noon or 1:00 PM with a finish time of 3:00 or 4:00 PM. You can start at 8:00 AM, sightsee, have lunch along the way or do whatever you want just so you finish by the 3:00 or 4:00 finish time.
ARE THERE ANY AWARDS?
Many clubs offer a medal or patch to show that you are a “winner” and have completed the walk. There is also an Individual Achievement Award Program. You can purchase Distance Record Books and Event Record Books for $5.00 each. If you register for the event award or pay the credit fee ($2.00 or less), the event and distance you walked are entered in the Record Books. After milestones such as 10 events, 30 events, 50 events, 500 kilometers, 1000 kilometers, etc. you send your books to the American Volkssport Association and receive a Certificate of Achievement, a patch and a hatpin, and your accomplishment is printed in the American Wanderer, our national publication.
WHAT IS A NEW WALKER PACKET?
The AVA now has a program to get you started right, at a cost everybody can afford.
For as little as $9 from your local club at an event, you get:
- First event book: Good for your first 10 events anywhere in the world until you earn your first Achievement Award. A $5 value.
- First distance book: Good for your first 500K anywhere in the world. A $5 value.
- Three coupons for free credit at events: so you can go to three events for free and still get credit (a $6 value). These coupons are good only at events in the USA.
- A coupon for a free issue of The American Wanderer
- Explanations about volkssporting – written by somebody other than me, so maybe they explain it better
- 10% off first AVA Specialties order.
You can get one at an event for $5 from your friendly local USA club. Not all clubs may have them in stock, so be sure to call ahead and ask.
WHAT IS AN EVENT?
There are two types of events, scheduled events and year round events. A “scheduled” event is usually held on weekends. A local club will set up a well-marked course, usually through a scenic or historic area. Walkers are simply asked to register and to turn in their registration cards at the end of the walk.
A “year-round” event is a self-guided walking event available most days of the year. The local club selects a trail, draws maps and writes detailed walking instructions, and sets up a permanent starting point. You arrive during the stated open hours, register, take a map, and enjoy the trail.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO WALK?
Most clubs allow you to walk free if no “credit” is desired. (If you are keeping Event and Distance Record Books, you are walking for credit.) You can walk for “credit only” for $3.00 or less. If the sponsoring club offers a patch or medal, the medal and “credit” is usually $7.00 or less.