The volkssporting movement began in Germany in 1968. Volkssporting is an international sports phenomenon that promotes personal physical fitness and good health. Clubs provide fun-filled, safe exercise in a stress-free environment through self-paced walks, bike rides, swims, and, in some regions, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Walking is by far the most popular of all U.S. volkssporting activities. Because Volkssport is non-competitive and self-paced, there is no need to be an athlete.
Founded in 1976, AVA is an educational nonprofit corporation dedicated to promoting “Fun, Fitness and Friendship.” More than 3,000 sanctioned U.S. volkssport events are sponsored annually with participation open to the general public. More than six million individuals have participated in volkssporting since 1990.
What is a Volksmarch?
Clubs, like the Chester County Red Rovers, plan several types of walks for the enjoyment the volkssport community.
• Regular or Traditional Events are one-day or one-weekend walks planned and hosted by an individual club.
• Year-Round Events (YRE) are planned by individual clubs and are available to participants all year long. On their own time and schedules, walkers go to a designated Start Point to check in and then do the walk and check out.
• Group Walks are hosted club members who meet on a specific day to do one of their own YREs or one sponsored by another club.
All walks are 10K in length, but a 5K option is almost always offered. The walks are rated by level of difficulty for the condition of the walking surfaces and changes in elevation. The trails are carefully laid out and marked, and easy-to-follow directions and/or maps are provided. Most walks are planned to allow participants to explore historic or scenic areas. Events are open to participants of all ages and abilities. Information about all clubs and events can be found at www.ava.org
Participants use “walk cards” to track their Events and Distances. When the card is filled, they mail it to the AVA for credit. Walkers are recognized for both their event and distance milestones. There are also special programs available, such as walking in a required number of walks that cross a bridge, pass a post office, or include a U.S. flag. Most special programs are sponsored by individual clubs. The AVA’s Centurion Program recognizes participants who walk 100 sanctioned walks in a calendar year, and Walking the United States recognizes participants who walk in all 50 states or 50 capitals plus Washington D.C.