Volksmarching (from German "Volksmarsch", people's march) is a form of non-competitive fitness walking that developed in Europe. Started in 1968 by the IVV (International Federation of Popular Sports), it was envisioned as a way to get ordinary people out into fresh air for exercise. Participants typically walk 5 kilometers (3.1 mi) or 10 kilometers (6.2 mi) on a predetermined outdoor path or trail; in either an 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), cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, depending on local terrain, weather and availability of each type of event. Historic and scenic sites are selected for the participants' enjoyment. Trails are carefully laid out and marked and easy to follow directions or maps are provided. Trails are rated based upon the challenge, incline and terrain present, from 1A (easiest) to 5E (hardest). An established start point is opened during designated hours to allow participants to begin and end at their leisure. Trails have check-points 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 events (YRE) or seasonal events are organized either seasonally or for 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, 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 with subsequent ones per 25 events until it reaches 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 and 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, Volkssporters often gather at the finish point where they spend time with friends, and at some events, enjoy entertainment or refreshments.
Less frequently used terms are Volkswanderung and Volkswalk.
- "Volksmarching in Sacramento: An easy workout with a social vibe". sacbee. Retrieved 2015-12-21.
- "Volks Marching Guide". www.tarheelwalkers.org. Retrieved 2015-12-11.
- 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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