Volkssporting combines physical fitness, fellowship, and the chance to experience many different scenic and cultural areas, all together in one “people’s sport.” A volkssporting event is an organized walk, bike, swim, skate, or cross-country ski designed to appeal to everyone. Events are non-competitive, and participants exercise at their own pace. The American Volkssport Association (AVA) governs this sport in the United States. Most volkssporting events are walks (volksmarches) that are usually 5 or 10 kilometers long (3.1 or 6.2 miles) through scenic areas or cultural locations in all 50 states of the United States of America, and in 29 countries. Bike events are 25 kilometers or longer, while ski events are 10 or more kilometers. All events are organized by one of the over 400 local clubs in the United States--with hundreds more around the world.
There are two kinds of events. “Regular events” are held on one or two specific days when a number of volkssporters gather to do the event at the same time. Also in the United States, there are over 1,100 “year-round-events” (YRE), which are trails established by local clubs for all to enjoy at their own leisure. Participants can learn about the regular and year-round events through mailings, flyers, the AVA web site (www.ava.org), and books published by the AVA.
Many volkssporters collect “credit” for accomplishing events and distances that earn individual achievement awards from the international governing body of the sport, the International Federation of Popular Sports (IVV). Most volkssporters maintain logbooks that record the number of events and the distances traveled using IVV credit stamps from each event. Many local clubs also offer awards for accomplishing individual events. There is usually a nominal charge at events to pay for the local awards and the international credit. Participants who don’t want to earn awards are welcomed at all times. More information is available on the AVA web site.