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West Point, Colorado Walks Among Best in U.S.

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 13, 2000 – Volksmarching clubs at West Point, N.Y., and Colorado Springs, Colo., sponsored year-round walks voted among the nation's best last year by members of the American Volksporting Association.

The 70,000-member association is the sport's U.S. sanctioning body. Both the Volksport Club of West Point and the Falcon Wanderers in Colorado Springs have large numbers of service members on their rolls.

The West Point volksmarch takes participants all over the U.S. Military Academy campus. The Colorado Springs volksmarch focuses on the Garden of the Gods park.

Volksmarching was brought to America largely by service members who received their first taste of the sport in Germany. Participants earn medals, pins, patches, steins or other souvenirs for completing noncompetitive walks over measured courses. There are two types of volksmarch in the United States.

The first is based on the European model and scheduled typically over one weekend. The second is the year-round or seasonal volksmarch. On these, local clubs measure their course, usually 10 kilometers, and designate a starting point. Walkers can do these walks any time during the year.

Association members voted the year-round volksmarch at Mackinac Island, Mich., as the nation's best last year. The march takes walkers past the historic sights of the island, located between the two peninsulas that make up Michigan.

The Top 10 Year-Round Events in 1999 were:

1. Mackinac Island, Mich.

2. Midtown Manhattan

3. Central Park, New York City

4. Fumee Lake, Mich.

5. Georgetown, Washington, D.C.

6. Kennebunk, Maine

7. Iron Mountain, Mich.

8. The National Mall, Washington, D.C.

9. West Point, N.Y.

10. Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs, Colo.

To find the starting points for these walks, visit the American Volksporting Association Web site at www.ava.org. for links to local clubs and a listing of scheduled volksmarches.

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