Getting Started

How To Get Started:   In a sport as casual and fun as ours, getting started is easy!   Show up at a Hosted Event, look for someone who looks like they’ve been around before, and tell them “I’m new.   How do I get started?”   We are all happy to help!   The volunteers at the start point are ALWAYS happy to answer questions as well.

Registering:    Each event has a specific starting point and maps are provided with directions.

You are welcome to participate at absolutely no charge, though you must still complete the registration form.   Those who participate for Distance or Event credit pay a modest $3.00 fee at the start.   (More on Distance and Event credit below.)

Year-Round Events (YRE’s) usually consist of a “start box” located at a health club, hospital, or store that offers access at convenient hours.   A start box may be a stand-alone podium or a two-drawer file cabinet.   Contained inside are instructions, sign-in sheets and maps.   These also require you to take an envelope or start card with you.

YRE’s differ from Hosted Events in some important ways.   These are unmarked and require the use of a map and directions.   This means you have to guide yourself on the walk.   We devote a lot of effort to making these routes easy to follow.   You follow the route on your own, at nearly any time convenient to you.   YRE’s must be completed during daylight hours for safety reasons.

If you are new to Volkswalking, it is best to attend a few Hosted Events first before trying a Year-Round Event.

Typical Event:    For YRE’s, the checkpoint is usually some permanent feature along the route.   It could be the name of a statue you will pass, the color of a house along the route or the number of steps on a stair that you will climb.  This insures that you actually complete the entire distance.   Don’t forget to bring a pen to write the checkpoint answer!

Finishing (with few exceptions):  The finishing point is also at the start point.  Turn in your start card so that we will know that you completed the event.   Otherwise, we may have to go looking for you!   That’s it.  Don’t forget to grab a brochure or two before you leave.

OUR WALKS ARE RATED ON THE SCALE BELOW:

(1) Easy walk on pavement or good trails with no significant hills.   It takes the average walker two hours or so to complete a walk with this rating.

(2) Moderately easy.   May be on trails that are not as well maintained.   No significant difficulty with hills.

(3) Moderate walk.   Some difficult terrain, substantial hills and/or steps.

(4) A more difficult walk, perhaps on poorly maintained trails.

(5) Very difficult, steep hills, rough terrain.

Remember that nasty weather can make an event much harder to complete!

Awards:

The chief awards are for ‘Total Distance’ walked, and ‘Total Events’ attended. Walkers who want credit for these categories carry two special booklets. When you are finished, a volunteer will put an official sanction stamp in each of your books. You receive only one event credit per walk, but you can walk an event more than once if you want more distance credits.

The inside of a typical Distance Booklet. This walker likes to do each event two or even three times for extra Distance Credit. 10K or 6.2 miles is the normal distance for a Volkswalk.

“USA” means that each of these walks took place in the United States. If you attend a walk in Canada, the stamp would have “CAN” instead.

The “YR” at the end of the stamp shows a Year-Round or self-guided Event. The first four digits show the year of the event.

Eventually, your booklets will be full of event stamps. When that happens, you send your booklets to the American Volkssport Association. They will log your achievement, then send you a colorful pin, a nice cloth patch and a certificate of achievement that you can display for friends. Distance and Event booklets cost $5.00 each. Other than postage to mail your booklets outward, there is no charge for the achievement pins, patches or certificates that you receive.

The clubs often have a variety of colorful pins, medals or patches that commemorate a specific event. These are popular collector items. Veteran walkers are sometimes covered in them! These awards typically cost a few dollars in addition to the registration fee.

Questions? If you want more information, please come to a walk! We may be able to help you find someone to walk with. We always a volunteer who is dedicated to assisting new walkers.