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T-Time: Volksmarching

Wednesday 1/9/2013

Walkabout Camp & RV Park

Woodbine, GA


Have you ever heard of Volksmarching? Mike and I never heard of it until Susan from Travel Bug blogged about it. And we’re glad she did! After reading about a couple interesting walks she completed in San Antonio, it piqued my curiosity to learn more. So I googled it, found the official website for The American Volkssport Association, and proceeded to read about it. Quoting in part from the website:

Volkssporting started in Germany and simply defined, is a personal fitness sports and recreation program offering noncompetitive walks, hikes, bike rides, swims, and in some regions cross-country skiing.  Walking – also called volksmarching – is the most popular of all the volkssporting activities.  Each volkssport walking event has a pre-marked  trail and/or measured distance normally 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) or 5 kilometers (3.1 miles), that allows participants to exercise at their own pace.  Participation is open to the general public.  No need to be an athlete.

Some walks, designated as “Traditional Events” are scheduled on particular dates, and other walks, designated as “YRE” (year-round events) and “SE” (seasonal events) are established routes that can be walked throughout the year or seasonally at your convenience. The more I explored the website, the more excited I became over the realm of opportunities these walks could offer us in our travels. What a great way to tour a location while reaping the rewards of some good healthy exercise at the same time! The fact that someone familiar with the area has already pre-planned the route is an added bonus for us. I proceeded to click on the “Events” tab to see if there were any year-round or seasonal events available near our next destination of Woodbine, GA and happily discovered a year-round walk available in St. Mary’s just a short distance away. From what I could gather, it appeared that there is no fee unless you’re enrolled in an incentive awards program in which you keep records of distances walked and events completed. (Susan or anyone else in-the-know please correct me if I’m wrong.)

Today promised to be a warm day near 70 degrees – a perfect day for a walk – so we jumped in the car and drove to The St. Mary’s Convention & Visitors Bureau, the starting point of our first Volksmarch. The friendly lady inside asked us if we wanted the route for the 10K or 5K walk (5K please ), cheerfully handed it to us (no fee charged), and off we went.

Our 5K walk took us past historical sites and markers,
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through some residential areas,
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a cemetery,
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a park,
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and past the St. Mary’s River.
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I can never pass one of these by without enjoying a little swing.

We walked by this unique looking tree

and back through downtown St. Mary’s

to the Visitors Bureau.

What fun this walk turned out to be! Novice long-distance walkers that we are, I admit that we were weary once we’d completed the 5K. However I’m happy to report that we were able to walk – not crawl – back to the car and didn’t even suffer any ill effects the next day. Hopefully, we’ll eventually be able to work our way up to a 10K.  Smile

Thanks, Susan, for opening our eyes to this new found interest of Volksmarching! I should point out, by the way, that in her blog entry which inspired me to explore this activity, Susan reported that she completed TWO 10K’s in ONE Day! Way to go Susan!

Smile    Open-mouthed smile    Smile    Open-mouthed smile    Smile


  1. WOW, we will be checking out that Web Site. While we never need a reason to walk, it would be nice to know someone thought a walk was worth sharing with others. Kind of like will take you to places you may not see otherwise!!

    Sorry about the computer problems-Bummer;o(( We are so far behind on our blog that I just don't worry about it anymore. Just get it posted when I get it posted:o))

  2. This is great Terri, the information, the pictures of the walk and that you guys got out and did it. I love St Marys. It's my kind of town. Cute, friendly and not too big. And the folks at the Welcome center are so nice. Did you just ask them for the volksmarching route?? Do do do go to Cumberland Island while you are there and if you can read the book Strong Women.... Not sure of the rest of the title. Might be Strong Women, wild horses.

    1. Sherry, the lady at the Welcome Center originally asked us if we wanted "the box." We had no idea what she meant, so we told her that we were new to this, had never done one before, and just needed the route. She proceeded to get the box out from under the counter and found the route for us. Since then we've done two more walks. At one location the box was easily accessible to the public, so we just helped ourselves, and at another location they handed the box over to us. Each time everything was neatly labeled and organized, so we were quickly able to find the walking directions. The box also contains information on the incentive rewards program which we're not interested in right now but may be some day.

      Unfortunately our time was short at St. Marys, so we didn't get over to Cumberland Island. Next time!

      Will check into that book.

    2. Oh, and to correctly answer your question -- yes, we just asked for the volksmarching route.

  3. Thank you so much for this information! There are several near us this winter that we can do. I'm so excited now ;-)!

  4. Awesome! I'm still a walking fool but with no particular destination in mind :) This is perfect! I'm going to check out that site now!
    Your blog is much more up to date than mine. I guess I'll post one when I eventually get motivated...eventually :)
    Glad you 2 are alive and well!

  5. I read another bloggers talk about it. I googled it as well, and are looking forward to possibly doing it!

  6. We've enjoy driving around St. Mary's a few times, but never walked it (yet). We remembered some of the sights from your pictures, truly a walk back in time.

    Nice to see there are some cool things like Volksmarching to do. I guess they even let us Honda people participate. ;c)

  7. Hi Mike and Terri,
    Thanks for the shout-out in your blog. I'm so happy more people are finding out about Volksmarching. I have been doing it for close to 30 years.

    When you go to a year-round event (YRE) you do ask for the "Walk Box." Some start points have more than one walk originating at them.

    Some of my favorite walks are walks sponsored by local Volkssporting clubs. They may involve a festival or special event. (In Oregon, my home state, in the springtime sponsored events included volksmarches through tulip fields, iris fields, daffodil walks, dahlia fields. There are also walks for events like the Sandy Mountain Festival, Columbia Gorge hiking weekend and many more.)

    While it is true you can walk for free, AVA is pushing for more people to join and pay the $3.00 to walk. (Yearly dues are $25...won't exactly break your bank.) The clubs pay to print all the directions, map the routes, maintain the walk boxes and plan club-sponsored events. At sponsored events there are checkpoints with water, snacks and sometimes clubs rent space in a building for a start point. All that needs to be paid for by the clubs.

    I have just joined Randolph Roadrunners AVA Club in Universal City, Texas. In all my time volksmarching I had never joined a club. I'm looking forward to being part of the group.

    If I can do my part to encourage people to join, that makes me happy. It means people are getting out, walking and enjoying all kinds of different areas. This year I signed up for the Centurion Challenge which is to participate in 100 Volkssport events in 2013. This weekend I will have completed 11 events so I'm on my way to 100!

    10K isn't as hard a you may think. It's about a 2 to 2-1/2 hour walk. If you get tired and you're in a city, you could stop and have lunch along the way.

    Whoa. Sorry about such a long comment. Can you tell I'm passionate about it?

    1. Susan, thanks so much for the clarification and educational insight. So far we've done three volksmarches, have enjoyed them immensely, and are looking forward to doing more in our travels. Perhaps we'll meet you down the road one day and by that time can join you in a 10K. In the meantime, thanks for the tip -- I think a lunch break is an excellent idea as we condition ourselves into completing a 10K.

  8. It will be some time before I'm up for a walk like that. Right now I'm trying to do short Volkshobbles. :)

  9. I've been volksmarching since 1990 and love walking in new areas on trails that someone else has scoped out. There are many opportunities and incentives in the American Volkssport Association, including programs to walk in all 50 states and in 51 capitals (including DC). Right now, hubby and I are walking in the Centurion Program, committing to walk at least 100 volksmarches this year. Since we walk 10K routes, that's 1000 km for the year, and so far we're on track having finished 12 of the 100. Please join us!

  10. Hello Mike and Terri: It is always a delight to hear about folks who have discovered volksmarching! My club is celebrating 25 years and I have been a member just a couple of months shy of the organization. You will be doing 10kms without much trouble. Volks walks are not about racing to a finish line. You can stroll along and enjoy the trail, stop for a snack, browse interesting shops and before long you find yourself having finished a 10km! Clubs put together special programs to keep up interest which you will find on the AVA website. I have finished 50 states and will get the 51st capital soon. Have walked all provinces of Canada (except Yukon!) and many other special programs. The rewards are hat pins or patches which always bring back fond memories. If your RV brings you to the beautiful Hudson Valley you will find 12 great walks sponsored by the West Point club. Hope to see you on a trail in the future. Nancy Patrick

  11. I didn't know they did that in the states. We've heard about them overseas. What a great way to get in a walk in the bigger cities/towns. Thanks for posting! Sorry about the computer problems, we were wondering what happened to you.

  12. I got the "Volksmarching bug" while stationed in Germany and loved it so much I've become a Life member of the American Volkssport Association (AVA). If you're ever in San Antonio, there are a few walks with quite a bit of history behind them. Some even go on the Riverwalk that San Antonio is known for. I hope you take advantage of all walking opportunities and if nothing else, you can become a member of the AVA and take advantage of all that they have to offer.


  13. Volkswalking is, indeed, a great way to experience an area. Often when I attend a business conference I'll find a Year-Round Volkswalk in the area. Just remember to sign the Registration Log that is in the Walk Box before taking the route directions. And please take note if that particular club requires payment (often not more than $2 per person). Clubs need to report the number of participants at these walks, so please do your part and help the clubs have an accurate count.

  14. Wow-I've never heard of this. What a great program.
    Ha--maybe this would train me for that pilgramage I added to my bucket list today! :o)

  15. We picked up a some route information when we were in Montgomery, Alabama with the intent of doing them when we return to the area in a couple of weeks. We enjoy walking, and when there are interesting things on the route, it's so much more fun.

  16. I tagged you to participate in the Leibster Blog Award! If you're interested here's the details
    Kind of silly--but kind of fun :o)