March 23, 2012 — Feel like getting some exercise in a fun, recreational setting? Try the Monticello Volkswalk April 15 in Charlottesville, hosted by the University of Virginia's Cavalier Volkssporting Club.
Volksmarching – from a German word meaning "people's march" – is a form of non-competitive fitness walking that originated in Europe. During a volkswalk, participants walk either 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) or 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) on an outdoor path. The routes often showcase sites of interests or highlight a theme, such as historic gardens, author and literary landmarks, railroads and even baseball.
The April 15 event is U.Va.'s second annual volksmarch. Hosted by the Thomas Jefferson Foundation at Monticello, this walk starts and finishes at one of Virginia's historic landmarks, Michie Tavern. The route traces the Saunders-Monticello Trail up the mountain to the 5,000-acre Monticello plantation, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to Thomas Jefferson, and traverses the grounds before looping back down the mountain. Tours of the Monticello house are not included.
Walkers must start between 7 and 8:30 a.m. and finish by 11:30 a.m.
Other "volkssports" include skiing, biking and swimming. Typically, volkssport associations offer pins and patches to participants who participate in a certain number of events.
The Monticello Volkswalk is sanctioned by the American Volkssport Association, a member of the International Federation of Popular Sports. It costs nothing to walk, but to obtain credit toward an achievement award costs $3. To earn an "A-Award" (a 3.2-inch color patch) plus credit costs $10.
New and experienced walkers alike are invited, and seasoned walkers are encouraged to bring their walking sticks, patches and pins to show to new walkers. Children under age 12 should be accompanied by an adult.
To join the event, all participants must register by April 2. Registration will not be accepted at the event itself. You can register online at the U.Va. Intramurals website, by phone at 434-924-3791 or in person or by mail with the linked form and informational brochure. For information, email email@example.com.