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Volksmarching in Germany

Walkers enjoy the views in the hills near Rohrbach during the Heidelberg volksmarch in 2011.
Walkers enjoy the views in the hills near Rohrbach during the Heidelberg volksmarch in 2011.
Samantha Smith

Translating from German as "people's march," a Volksmarch is a fun, non-competitive walking event that anyone can participate in. From women with strollers to elderly people, volksmarching draws all ages and abilities for an enjoyable day out.

Frustrated with age categories and timed events of many organized runs, the International Federation of Popular Sports (IVV) was formed in Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein and Switzerland in 1968. Their aim was to promote an event that anyone could participate in.

The Heidelberg International Wandering Club was formed in 1974 and has been participating in volksmarches all over Europe ever since. The club is a joint partnership between Germans and Americans and had a membership of over 1200 at its peak.

Next year the American military presence in Heidelberg will come to a close, as the base here is scheduled to deactivate in the summer of 2013. Because of this, the club will hold their 38th and final Heidelberg Volksmarch here September 8-9. The walk departs from Rohrbach, just south of Heidelberg and participants can choose from 5, 11 and 22 km routes, the longest going all the way to the Heidelberg castle.

For more information about the club and upcoming volksmarches, click here.

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