Getting Involved with Volkssporting
According to the American Volksport Association, Volkssporting is a “personal fitness sports and recreation program offering noncompetitive walks, hikes, bike rides, swims, and in some regions cross-country skiing.” Walking or “volksmarching” (German for people’s march) is the most popular activity, with thousands of clubs around the world and six chapters based in Minnesota. Predetermined trails or paths are set in wilderness, rural, or urban environments, typically running 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) or 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) long with checkpoints along the way. Participants enjoy passing by scenic or historical sites and can collect awards (often patches or pins) for participating in a certain number of events or completing a certain amount of mileage. (To learn more, visit AVA’s website)
Seeing new places, staying healthy, and meeting new people are the reasons John enjoys the sport so much. He first took interest in 1980 when he was stationed in Germany, the birthplace of the popular activity. From there, Volksmarching has taken him to 46 states and foreign countries like France, Belgium, Switzerland, and Austria to name a few. Highlight moments include hiking into Kelheim, a picturesque German city situated in the middle of the Danube and Altmühl rivers, and when he completed 40,000 kilometers of walking (the distance around the world at the equator) on a 26-mile hike in Niederwöerresbach, Germany. His passion for the sport is so great, he has even written a book called The Hampy Wanderer to chronicle his experiences volksmarching around Europe.
“The Streak”, a Testament of Volksmarching Devotion
1,000 consecutive weekends of Volksmarching are a part of a bold initiative John has labeled “the Streak”. For 19 years he has never missed his weekly volksmarch–quite a feat with the unpredictability of Minnesota elements. During the winter and when weather is not permitting, he walks at Mall of America. With his wife’s consent, John even walked on the weekend of his honeymoon. Talk about devotion!
The Importance of Proper Footwear
With all the miles he’s walked, John knows the importance of properly fitted, supportive, and long-lasting footwear. At one point, wearing compromising shoes almost resulted in a bone spur that would have taken him off his feet (and derailed “the Streak”). He sites Schuler Shoes as being a resource for getting in the right walking shoes: “When I first went into Schuler Shoes someone measured my foot. I learned I was in the wrong size and should be wearing a bigger shoe!”
These days, John wears properly fitted sneakers with great support. He says he gets far less blisters and needs less of a break-in period, benefits he appreciates so he can feel his best doing the thing he loves.
Jon’s Future Goals
As far as future goals go, Jon wants to do what he’s been doing for the last 19 years: just keep walking.
“Next April I’ll hit 20 years of Volksmarching every weekend. From there, I’ll just keep going.” And that, we think, is mighty inspiring.
We wish John all the best in continuing “the Streak” and are proud our staff and footwear selection can help him on his journey!