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Volksmarching (from German "Volksmarsch", people's march) is a form of non-competitive fitness walking that developed in Europe. Participants typically walk 5 kilometers (3.1 mi) or 10 kilometers (6.2 mi) on a pre-determined outdoor path or trail; in either a urban, rural or wilderness environment. There are thousands of Volkssport Clubs around the world, allied in the International Volkssport Federation, the IVV.
Walking is the most popular of all the Volkssporting activities, which can also include Bicycling, Swimming, Boating (Canoe, Kayak or Row-boat), and Cross-Country Skiing or Snowshoeing—depending on local terrain, weather and availability of these types of events. Historic and scenic sites are selected for their enjoyment. Trails are carefully laid out and marked and easy to follow directions or maps are provided. Trails are rated based upon the challenge the route incline and terrain present, from 1A (easiest) to 5E (hardest). The designated Start Point is open during designated hours to allow participants and end at their leisure. Trails have checkpoints along the route and are monitored for security and safety.
Traditional Events (TE) happen on a specific day or series of days, with manned Start Points and Checkpoints. Year-round (YRE) or Seasonal Events are operated for long periods or the whole year by staging a "Walk Box" with the required Registration Log, Maps and Directions at a published starting location widely accessible to the general public - such as a Public Library, a Hotel, Convenience Store, or National (or State) Park office.
Volksmarching associations offer tiered incentive awards (usually pins and patches) for participating in a certain number of events, or covering increasing distances. Volksmarching participants enjoy recording distances and event participation in international record books. Initial milestones for Events are 10, 30 and then 50. Thereafter, every 25 Events until reaching 600. Distance milestones are every 500 km until reaching 8,000. Both the Event and Distance awards continue to higher levels with greater intervals between after the benchmarks cited. Clubs offering events also frequently offer small prizes for completing a given individual event, for a small additional fee.
In the volkssporting tradition, you frequently find Volkssporters gathered at the Finish Point where they take time to enjoy friends, and at some events, entertainment or refreshments.
Less frequently used terms are Volkswanderung and Volkswalk.
- AVA Website
- AVA Website
- Internationaler Volkssportverband – IVV (International Federation of Popular Sports)
- The American Volkssport Association (AVA)
- The Canadian Volkssport Federation (CVF)
- Walking holiday - rules and guidelines, British Walking Federation
- International Volkssport Award, German Volkssportverband Hiking (DVV Wandern)
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