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If you like walking . . .
You are going to love Folkssports!
Folkswalking is a walking sport. It is an adventure in health, recreation, fellowship, and fun. Folkssports evolved from running races in Germany. When these events became too competitive, the clubs changed the events to be noncompetitive, so that everyone could be a winner. The term Folkssport literally means a sport of the people. Participants come from the general public and everyone is included. Pets are allowed at many events.
A Folkssport is an organized event designed to appeal to everyone, to people of all ages. It is not a contest of speed or endurance. Participants go at their own pace but must complete the event before the finish time. Adequate time (usually several hours) is allowed to finish.
Originally the events were only volksmarches (walks), which are still the predominate event, but has steadily grown and expanded to include bicycling, swimming, cross- country skiing and snowshoeing. In 1978, The American Volkssport Association (AVA) was created. Now there are about 380 active AVA clubs nationwide and on military bases overseas. The number of yearly events is over 2,000, involving over two million participants since 1981.
All Folkssport events are open to everyone and are not-for-profit. The event award and individual Achievement Award credits are available at reasonable prices to participants wanting the recognition. In addition to collecting the awards, an individual may enroll in the IVV Awards program by purchasing Event Record and Distance Record books. The books cost $5 each and entitle the individual to a certificate, pin, and patch upon completion of event and distance milestones.
Awards are earned for completing 10, 30, 50 and thereafter for every 25 events, and for every 500 kilometers in distance. There is no time limit for completing these books and they are good worldwide for sanctioned IVV events.
Folkswalkers get an extra kick out of each event they complete by having their "event and distance books" rubber-stamped. Many Folkswalkers make it a hobby to travel all over the country and in Europe collecting these stamps. Many Volksmarchers have completed events in all 50 states.
Folkswalks are usually scheduled on weekends. A local club will set up a well-marked course, usually winding through a particularly scenic or historic area, with water and rest stops along the way. Folkswalk courses are marked with signs, ribbon, or chalk. Participants walk at their own pace and may stop along the way to shop or have a picnic.
Anyone can walk the course for a small fee. Walkers are simply asked to register and to turn in their registration cards at the end of the walk so they can be counted. The start of most events is around 8 a.m. and walkers may begin any time and be finished and off the course by 4 or 5 p.m. Events are held rain or shine, so prospective Volksmarchers are encouraged to come prepared for any kind of weather.
The walks are usually 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) but shorter distances are provided so everyone can participate. Most people finish the 10 km course in about two hours. Sometimes food is offered at the finish and the club sponsoring the walk may have T-shirts or club memorabilia for sale.
All kinds of people get involved in Folkswalking. They walk for the exercise, a love of the outdoors, the awards and the socializing. People attend the events to stay fit, to meet people, and to see things they might miss if they drove through an area.
As you can see, Folkssporting is many things. It is going for a walk with other people - on a trail, through a park, forest, historical area, or right in your own neighborhood. It is going for a bike ride, a cross-country ski adventure, or a swim with family and friends.
The goal of the American Volkssport Association is to promote physical fitness and good health by encouraging all people, regardless of age, race, color, creed, or economic status, to exercise in a stress-free environment.
For brochures about curent folkssport / volkssport events in Minnesota, EMail: mva-information Telephone: (612)-529-0552 Write: 3951 Russell Ave. N., Minneapolis, MN 55412 USA
For location of nearest walk in USA, phone 1-800-830-WALK (1-800-830-9255), or EMail AVAHQ@ava.org For an AVA general brochure, phone (210)-659-2112, or write to AVA, 1001 Pat Booker Road, Suite 101, Universal City, TX 78148 For the American Volkssport Association Online on the WWW, AVA WWW Home-Page For the German Volkssport Group (in German) on the WWW, DVV WWW Home-Page For the International Federation of People's sports, also know as the Internationaler Volkssportverband
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