Volkssporting - "Sport Of The People".
History Of Volkssporting
Volkssporting originated in southern Germany during the early 1960s. Originating as competitive running events, the program lost its appeal to the general public. The clubs changed the events to be non-competitive, so that everyone could be a winner. The first non-competitive event was held in Bobingen, a small town near Augsburg, Germany. In 1968, the International Federation of Popular Sports (IVV) was founded by West Germany, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, and Austria as a union of non-profit sports organizations to promote volkssport events throughout the world. Today, there are 27 member nations, including the
United States, Canada, Japan, and much of Europe.
Volkssporting started in the United States at Fredericksburg, Texas is 1976. In June, 1979, the American Volkssport Association (AVA) was formally organized and officially recognized by the IVV. The AVA is responsible for administering the United States' IVV program. The AVA is a non-profit, charitable organization composed of volunteers, and governed by an Executive Council with over 500 member clubs throughout America. The goal of the AVA is to promote physical fitness and good health by encouraging all people, regardless of age, race, color, creed, economic status, or handicap to exercise in a stress-free environment. This association conducts thousands of weekend and seasonal/year-round volkssport events a year nationwide. The AVA produces a
bi-monthly newspaper, The American Wanderer (The paper is only available as a benefit to Associate and Life Membership in the AVA. http://ava.org/membership.ph). It contains information on the association's activities, articles from volkssporting clubs, a list of the active clubs across America, achievement award recipients, and a list of the
weekend volkssporting events taking place across the United States. Each year, the AVA produces a book, "Starting Point" (currently cost is $25), with all the seasonal/year-round volkssport events in the United States.
Volkssporting literally translates as "sport of the people." Volkssports are organized, non-competitive events designed to appeal to people of all ages. They are not tests of speed or endurance, but exercise at your own pace. Volkssporting is organized to promote physical fitness and wholesome recreation in a safe environment. It is designed for all age levels and people with varying levels of physical abilities. The volkssporting philosophy simply recognizes that everyone cannot and should not attempt to exercise in timed or competitive events where awards are based on order of finish. Volkssporting
offers a great escape for people from the pressures and hassles of everyday life and it provides an excellent opportunity to get out and enjoy nature. Since events are non-competitive, participants travel at their own pace, thus making
this an excellent outdoor recreational activity for the entire family.
There are two categories of volkssporting events, a Traditional Event which is hosted for usually one day or weekend with a set start/finish time, and a Year Round (YRE) or Seasonal Event that may be open daily, January through December. A Season event is like a Year-Round event, but is open less than a full calendar year. A volkssporting event is usually a walk (volksmarch), bike (volksbike), swim (volksswim), or cross-country ski (volksski or skiwandering) through a scenic and/or historic area over a predetermined route. All volkssport events are open to the public. Participation is usually free, if no award or credit is desired. Participants may choose to purchase if offered (usually $5-7) an attractive award that commemorates completion of the event. The event award is usually a patch or medallion depicting the theme, location, or honoree of the event.
Volksmarches (WALKS) are typically 10 kilometers (about 6.2 miles) on scenic trails, along rivers, around historic sites, through downtown areas or anywhere possible! Walking events usually include a five kilometer (3.1 miles) distance, and sometimes include longer distances as well, but always provide the minimum 10 km. You may take 2 hours or longer depending on your chosen pace and how often you stop to enjoy the surroundings. Walking is good exercise and encourages outdoor physical activity. Walking provides an exercise activity in which people of all ages and physical fitness can participate. It truly is the body's most natural and original form of exercise. All you need to get started is a good pair of shoes, loose-fitting clothes, and a safe route to follow. Of the four types of events conducted by volkssporting clubs, the volksmarch event is the most popular. Walks are conducted in all kinds of weather and all year round. A wintertime walk can be just as exciting as a summertime walk, but dress accordingly.
BIKES are rides of 25 kilometers (about 15.5 miles) or longer. These events are usually held in conjunction with a walk. The courses are chosen for average ability bicyclists, to assure that riders of all levels may enjoy the ride.
SWIMS are 300 meters or longer. You choose your own combination of swimming strokes and can rest as needed. These events are usually held in conjunction with a walk.