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Volkssporting: Those Who Choose Walking As A Lifestyle

Eveline Evans
Volkssporters in downtown San Antonio.

There’s a subculture of people who simply don’t take walking in stride. You may have seen them along the roadways or in parks: Single-minded, dedicated to one thing. I’m talking about American Volkssport Association walkers.

Volkssporting, like Volkswagen, is a German creation. The AVA puts on 5k and 10k walks.

"We do hikes, walks, bikes, swims," said Joanne Forinash, the AVA's Southwest Regional Director.

I had to ask how the AVA deals with Texas' extreme heat.

"We do what we call sunrise walks, which start at six in the morning," Forinash said. "People come out and enjoy the sunrise and the beautiful walks that we provide."

Walkers can begin as early as six, as late as 10, so that the walk is complete before the worst of the heat hits. Forinash walks quite a bit.

“I walk between 1,000 and 1,100 kilometers a year,” she said.

That’s in the 600-700 mile range. These AVA walks come in two kinds: an event that’s at a specific time, with people to check you in, and the year-round events. There are thousands of the year-round events in every state and around the world.

"You can go any time you want to and do it on your own" said Forinash.

She and her husband are avid walkers. After looking at maps, they decided to do walks in all fifty state capitals. But they didn't stop with just that.

"We decided we would complete the 50 state capital walks in the 50th state that was admitted to the union on our 50th anniversary," Forinash said.

Each AVA walk sets you back a mere $3. They’ve got thematic walks: historic tours, scenic tours, urban tours, rural tours. And it’s not a race.

"You’re not competing with anybody. You’re walking at your own pace," Forinash said.

Jack Morgan can be reached at jack@tpr.org and on Twitter at @JackMorganii