Canberra Walking Festival Internship Experience

by Bradley Timms, University of Canberra Intern 2019

I was lucky enough to participate in an internship with the Canberra Walking Festival of 2019, as part of my ‘Events and Tourism Management’ degree. In this blog post, I will be discussing the benefits of the festival from different aspects including international walkers, walkers from other regions of Australia, Canberra walkers, volunteers and my own experience as an intern.

Throughout my time with the walking festival, I spoke to multiple people from North America and Europe. When I asked those walkers why they decided to travel all the way to Canberra, many of them said that they came purely for the event itself. They spoke about the chances it gave them to experience scenery and landmarks that were completely different to anything they were used to. They also loved how friendly the volunteers and fellow walkers were, which gave them a great opportunity to socialise. For these reasons, I would strongly encourage international walkers to experience the Canberra Walking Festival.

People coming to the festival from other regions of Australia had quite similar motivations for checking out the festival. Many of these walkers just purely loved the joy of walking and this was an opportunity to check out Canberra landmarks in a structured way. Because of this, I recommend Australians come to Canberra for the Walking Festival.

From the local Canberra walkers that I spoke to, a common reason that motivated them to get involved was the socialisation aspect. The chance to meet people from other countries and regions of Australia was a positive experience for them. The festival had even brought international walkers from previous years back multiple times and it was a perfect opportunity to catch up with them again.

Volunteers were a huge part of making the festival run as smoothly and effectively as it did. Some of the benefits of volunteering included the chance to experience the walks before the main participants of the festival, as well as the opportunities to socialise with fellow volunteers and walkers. Many volunteers spoke about how they had been working with the same people at the festival for multiple years. While working on volunteer duties, people still got the chance to socialise with walkers and its for these reasons that I would strongly encourage others to volunteer at the festival.

I decided to participate in the festival as part of my university degree, in order to experience organisation in the lead up to an event, the practices happening during an event as well as the aftermath of an event. I was able to experience all these things through research of the event, collaboration with other volunteers, helping with setup, preparing profiles, marshal activities, registration activities and marketing for future events. While all of this was excellent experience for the events industry, I also achieved many other benefits such as the chance to experience one of the guided walks. Through this, I was able to see many Canberra landmarks which I had never even heard of before. Some of those Landmarks will be shown below. Because I was given many opportunities to experience multiple aspects of what was involved in running an event, I would strongly encourage future university students to participate in this festival as their internship. I would also encourage anyone else in the events and tourism industry to experience the festival through volunteering or as a walker. In conclusion, the main reasons why most people enjoyed the event were the chances to socialise with people from all over the world and to see the landmarks and scenery from Canberra. For me, I received both of those benefits but also got the chance to experience an event in a way that will be helpful for the progression of my degree and career. For all these reasons, I would strongly encourage people to get involved as a walker, a volunteer or as part of a university degree.

Join us for the Canberra Walking Festival in 2020!

Catering at the 2019 Canberra Walking Festival

Sandwich

As usual, the Badimara Scouts will provide a variety of sandwiches, hot food, soft drinks and snacks. Their Price List is attached.

Did you know you can put in a sandwich order for the following day’s walk? For those walkers doing the marathon, or the late start half-marathon, on Saturday, you may wish to consider putting in an lunch food order with the Scouts on Friday afternoon. They will then prepare lunch for you to take with you in the morning. Alternatively, marathoners can order in the morning, to collect when returning through the Control Centre (Albert Hall) at the mid-way point of the marathon. Please note that there are no readily accessible food outlets on the western basin route.

In the afternoons we will also have beer and wine available for purchase at $5 each, for consumption at the Control Centre. Any profits from the bar will be donated to the Heart Foundation.

We look forward to seeing you at the event.


Future of the Canberra Walking Festival

Canberra Two Day Walk Incorporated is a not-for-profit organisation, run by volunteers. We organise the annual Canberra Walking Festival each year – Australia’s IML event.

At this year’s Annual General Meeting, members were advised that the current committee of volunteers will not continue past the 2020 event. There are insufficient new volunteers to take over the running of the event. Therefore the difficult decision has been made to wind up the Canberra Two Day Walk organisation after the 2020 walk.

The committee is approaching other organisations to attempt to find another group to run the event. However, this is not guaranteed.

What does that mean for you?

There may only be two more Canberra Walking Festivals.

Dates are locked in for 2019 and 2020 as follows:
30-31 March 2019
4-5 April 2020

Entries open on 1st October each year for the following year’s event. Enter early to get the early bird rate.

For IML Walkers: When entering we will also ask if you want an “Australia” country bar, or any special IML awards. Our IML merchandise order is submitted in December, so any requests received after 1st January cannot be guaranteed.

Please spread the word to encourage as many  walkers as possible to come to Canberra over the next two years.

I will report on the progress of finding a new event organiser at the CTDW AGM and the IML General Meeting in Blankenberge next year.

Regards,
Diana Marshall
President, Canberra Two Day Walk Inc


Canberra Walking Festival: An International Community

An Interns Diary by Breanna Minisini

This year the Canberra Walking Festival (CWF) was held on Saturday 7th April to Sunday 8th April 2018. I was given the opportunity to be an intern for this event, along with 5 other interns and many other dedicated volunteers. CWF proudly supports the Heart Foundation.

The Canberra Walking Festival has been running, or should I say walking, for 27 years and was first started by Harry and Kathleen Berg and the event is now managed by Diana Marshall. This year, Albert Hall was chosen as the new venue for the festival; the location is in a prime position, less than 3km from the civic centre and surrounded by popular Canberra tourist attractions such as Parliament House, Old Parliament House, Questacon and many more.

The Canberra Walking Festival is associated with other organisations, such as The International Marching League (IML) and the Internationaler Volkssport Verband/International Federation of Popular Sports (IVV). These organisations promote walking, being active, exploring and making friends. The IML and IVV also provide members with information about other walks that occur all around the world. It is interesting to note that Canberra is the only location in Australia that gets the opportunity to host an IML event.

Through out my time interning, I was introduced to so many kind people. Walkers who participated came from Canberra, other parts of Australia and from overseas. I chose this internship as I was interested to understand why these people took part in events such as this. During the two days I spoke to many walkers about the different walking festivals they had participated in around the world. I discovered that many did these walks annually while exploring the countries they walked in, and by doing this were also able to meet locals and make friends internationally.

Walkers enjoyed the atmosphere of the event and since it was not a competition, the walk created opportunities for them to more genuinely interact with a variety of other walkers having similar interests. Walkers said that taking part in such events provides them with a sense of accomplishment and adventure. When walking around Albert Hall on the last day, I met two people who were participating in the walk called Tony and Tina. While they had never met before, they came to realise they had both walked in Nijmegen.

This CWF brings together walkers from all over the world to take part in something that is healthy for both the body and soul. How many opportunities do you get to say you walked with a university lecturer from Germany on the weekend?

The festival’s group of volunteers helped to make both myself and fellow interns feel extremely welcomed. Some of these volunteers have been returning year after year for this event. Many of the volunteers I spoke to said that one of the highlights of the event was about the friends they had made and that it felt nice to do something good for others. During the two days, I spoke with Anne who told me it was her first year volunteering. Anne told me she joined to learn about the heritage of Canberra and how she enjoyed the atmosphere of the event and said “it’s a shared spirit of doing something with and for other people”. While the more and more volunteers I spoke to all had there own reasons for coming back, all agreed the community feeling of the event was their main reason.

In being given an opportunity to go on one of the walks, I was able to explore places and artwork in Canberra that I had never seen in my 4 years of living here. I was able to speak with many people from different parts of the world that I would otherwise never would have had the chance chance to meet without this event. My favorite part about the festival was the amazing volunteers. I felt very much a part of an international community, because that is the feeling this amazing festival gives you; it gives you the chance to explore the beauty of this capital city, to be active, to meet other people and to also do something for a good cause.

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Join us next year:

 

 


The 27th Canberra Walking Festival

A report by Andjelka Stevanovic, University of Canberra Intern

The annual Canberra Walking Festival, was held this year over 2 days, on the first weekend of April. The weather was warm, the atmosphere was inviting, and the attendees and volunteers were enthusiastic as always. This year’s new location for the event was a beautiful and historic venue, the Albert Hall. Which proved to be a perfect location and space for the festival, and luckily enough will be for the next 2 years.

With over 400 registered walkers, the festival was a complete success, with once again walkers coming from all around Australia, and the world to participate. To top off the fact that walkers came from all around, they also varied in age, the event caters for all walkers, which it did. Out of Australia’s 8 states and territories, we had walkers from 6 of them attend, and we had participants from 14 other countries, some of them including: Germany, Netherlands, Norway, USA and Japan.

The walks ranged between 5km to the 42km marathon which started on Saturday morning. Many of these walkers participated both days and received a ‘Two Day Medal’ at completion of their walk on Sunday afternoon. As an intern from the University of Canberra I had the pleasure of handing out some of the medals as each walker returned from their walk. Some walkers returning from their charming and scenic strolls and others from scenic, yet long and courageous walks. Walkers had the opportunity to explore around Canberra, by seeing Lake Burley Griffin and its surroundings, the National Dinosaur Museum, and the Australian National Botanic Gardens.

Without the volunteers and the walkers this event is not possible, therefore, the dedication and commitment that comes with this event from the committee, volunteers and the walkers is incredible. Many of the volunteers have been serving for many years, with majority of them completing the walks as well. One of the volunteers has been a part of the event for 24 out of the 27 years, by both walking the tracks and volunteering afterward. Her reasoning behind coming back each year to assist is, ‘because it is a lot of fun’. They are truly dedicated to this event, and the walkers are amazing too.

Many of the walkers were new comers, however, countless amounts of them were returning guests. I had the chance to talk to a few of the walkers from Germany that were first comers to the Canberra Walking Festival, they were excited and amazed at how beautiful it is here in Australia. They have been walking for years and are devoted to achieving more. I also spoke to a woman from Sydney, who has been coming down to Canberra for many consecutive years to attend and complete the walking routes. Their reasons for walking, and continuing to return to Canberra are because it is a great, enjoyable event and many of the walkers have made lifelong friends.

To conclude the wonderful event, achievement awards were handed out and the returning walkers were commemorated, for continuing to return year after year, with one of the international walkers returning for the 11th year in a row, truly amazing! Another great achievement for the AussieWalk, was being able to honour a pair of walkers for completing their final IML event here in Canberra. Each accomplishment is remembered and plays an important role in the events success. I have had the pleasure to be a part of such an incredible and memorable event, and I am amazed at all the organisers and the walkers for all their accomplishments. What a remarkable weekend it was.


Thank you to all our volunteers!

Six students standing in front of a stage.

L to R: Weijian Liu, Uvin Tharaka Kodippili, Andjelka Stevanovic, Tom Vogt, Sanggyun Jung, Breanna Minisini.

Six interns from the University of Canberra joined our other volunteers at the Canberra Walking Festival. Many thanks to all our volunteers and walkers — we couldn’t have done it without you!


Illawarra walkers enjoy a capital weekend

A group of walkers standing in front of the Albert Hall building.A wonderful weekend was spent in Canberra at the Walking Festival (CWF) by some walkers from the Illawarra region of New South Wales. Our walks in the CWF were wonderful and we all hope to be back next year. We have seen parts of Canberra we would not have otherwise seen — the Botanical Gardens were great and walking around the lake was wonderful. There were 18 of us, some first-timers, walking 5km, 10km and 21km. All having a great time. Thanks to the organisers and volunteers for a really enjoyable weekend — even the weather was perfect.

Our usual walk is from Coalcliff to Scarborough Pub across the Seacliff Bridge. And what a walk it is, running parallel to the ocean we see dolphins, whales, sea eagles and we’ve even spotted a seal. Our group comprises anyone who wants to walk, no invitation is required, you just turn up. We walk to Wollongong a couple of times each year and often to Austinmer for a coffee and muffin — sometimes a swim along the way. We have built strong friendships and seen each other through good times and bad. We extend our walking days to include other social get-togethers. Walking together keeps us physically fit and socially active as it always includes coffee.


Half Marathon (21km) Happenings

The 2018 Canberra Walking Festival is doing something new with the half marathon this year. We have split the Saturday marathon route into two equal halves, so you will get the opportunity to chose to do either the first half or the second half of the marathon route. This then creates a dilemma for 21km walkers: which route to choose? Here are a few comments on each option to help you decide:

Early option/first half of the marathon:

  • starts at 7:40am immediately after the marathon (or if you are walking with a marathoner you could start at 7:30am), so you will finish nice and early
  • in addition to Lake Burley Griffin, the route goes through the Jerrabomberra Wetlands, around the Carillon (Aspen Island) and includes some of the memorials along Anzac Parade
  • for those who have walked the 21km distance in previous years, you will cover new territory in 2018
  • the route includes some gravel, grass and boardwalk trail sections

Later option/second half of the marathon:

  • starts at 9:30am, so your will not have to get up so early (some of the faster marathon walkers may catch you up)
  • the route go down Weston Park and Black Mountain Peninsula, which have not been included in recent years
  • the route is more straightforward and is solely on shared use paths – if you find the paths too hard on your feet you can opt to walk on the grass or dirt verge in most areas

The overall difficulty of both options is fairly similar. The early option has 96m of climb across the route, and the late option has 151m of climb, but the extra 55m of climb is negligible over 21km.

So the choice is yours. Do you want to start early or late? If you are a repeat walker, do you want something a little different? We think that both routes are lovely, with the likelihood of spotting kangaroos on either option (at the end of the Wetlands section on the early route, and in Western Park on the late route).

This is the first year we have offered a choice for 21km walkers on Saturday, so let us know what you think. Should we continue this option in future years?

An important note: there is also a 21km option on Sunday. This is a point to point walk, and we bus you out to the start of the walk. The bus leaves the Albert Hall at 9am for all 21km walkers.

Editorial note: This option is being offered again in 2019, but the late starters will depart a little later (at 10am) to better align with the marathoners who are coming through.


Marathon Musings

Should I, could I or can I walk a marathon? And what is the Canberra Walking Festival marathon like? These are questions we are frequently asked.

A marathon is 42.2km or 26.2 miles, which is an awfully long way, even when driving! Nevertheless, completing a marathon is on many people’s bucket list, and it is certainly achievable with prior preparation.

The Canberra Walking Festival offers the opportunity to complete a marathon in a non-competitive environment, with friendly walkers from around the world. These are some of the things you should know if you are considering the marathon distance at the 2018 Canberra Walking Festival:

  • You do need to prepare yourself for the distance. We have a suggested training program that you may wish to use. This takes up to 18 weeks, depending on your prior fitness level, so if you haven’t prepared yourself by now, you probably need to think about next year’s marathon!
  • No marathon is easy, but the 2018 marathon is the easiest marathon course we have offered in the 12 year history of the event, whereas the 2017 marathon was the hardest:
    2018: 42.2km with 249m of ascent over the route, but no significant climbs
    2017: 44km (so longer than a true marathon) and 687m of ascent, including 4 significant climbs across the route.
  • The marathon route has a variety of surfaces, but is mostly on shared use paths around Lake Burley Griffin. You will explore a few new areas that we have not covered in past years on any route.
  • All walkers are asked to finish by 4pm, primarily so that our checkpoint volunteers finish in a reasonable time. This gives you 8.5 hours.
  • The 2018 marathon is in two halves, and you return to the Albert Hall at the mid-way point. This offers a few new options this year:
    There is a cut-off for the first half. You need to complete this by 11:45am.
    You can collect something for lunch before starting the second half of the marathon course – there are limited opportunities for food along the second half of the course.
    Walkers entering the half-marathon have the option of walking the first half of the marathon (early start) or second half of the marathon (later start).
  • At 11:45am our sweep walker will start walking the second half of the course and removing the route signs and closing down the checkpoints, so you will not be able to continue if you get to the half way point after this time.
  • If you miss the cut-off time to continue (or if you choose to stop at the half way point), you will be given credit for walking a half marathon.
  • When you finish the marathon, you will get a special medal to commemorate your achievement. And if you come back on Sunday to walk any distance you will also earn the 2018 two day walker medal. (Note: IML walkers need to complete minimum qualifying distances on both days for the IML stamp – see IML page for further details).

More information about walking at the 2018 Canberra Walking Festival will be sent to all registered walkers prior to the festival weekend, and this information will also be posted on the Canberra Walking Festival page on the website. If you have any questions about the marathon, please feel free to post a comment below.


Why a Runner would choose to Walk

This article was written shortly before Martin completed his 5th Canberra Walking Festival event in 2016.

Dr.Martin Fryer is well known in the running community in Canberra, Australia and internationally, particularly in the ultramarathon arena. Martin has run over 100 ultramarathons since 1997 with highlights including wins at the Commonwealth 24 Hour Championships (UK, 2009: 255K), the Surgères 48 Hour Race (France, 2009, 433K), and the Sri Chinmoy 6 Day (2011: 784K) and 10 Day Races (2013: 1158K) in New York. In 2012 he set an age group (M50) World Record, running more than 247K on a 400m track in 24 hours in Taipei, Taiwan. More recently (June to August 2015), he finished in second place in the inaugural Tour de France footrace, in which he covered 2800K in 43 days without any rest days (equivalent to roughly 66 marathons).

Given Martin’s background, the organisers of the Canberra Walking Festival were a little surprised to see that Martin had entered their event for the first time in 2012 and has been participating every year since then. Naturally he entered the longest distances available each day, completing the marathon on the Saturday, followed by a 30km walk on Sunday. As might be expected, he has been the first to finish each year, although the event is not timed, and there are no prizes for coming first.

Martin is not the only runner who has walked in the Canberra Walking Festival, but we were interested to find out a little more about what attracted Martin to this event, and what keeps him coming back.

How did you first find out about the Canberra Walking Festival and why did you decide to participate?

I first found out about the Canberra Walking Festival in 2012 when I was doing an internet search for local road walking groups and/or events. The reason for that search was that I had incorporated walking into my ultramarathon training program since my first 24 Hour race in 2004 and was now looking for some social and structured way to continue that kind of training. When I saw that the Canberra Walking Festival had a full marathon walk on the Saturday followed by a 30K walk on the Sunday I knew that I had found a wonderful, challenging way of getting in two long back-to-back hard walks that would not only boost my walking strength and fitness but also give me a whole weekend of touring around Canberra’s superb paths and trails that I love so much.

How does a walking event of this nature compare to some of the other multi day running events you have completed?

The degree of challenge has been relatively high for me each year as I do the 42K/30K double without any prior long, hard, structured walking in preparation, so it is a matter of just winging it and using the event as a solid walk training block. The walking that I do in my normal training is usually in short bursts of 1 to 3 minutes interspersed between running periods that are roughly 3 to 5 times the walk duration. Quite a lot of this walking is also done on uneven trails rather than nice smooth bike paths, so the Canberra Walking Festival allows me to include some lovely long stretches of smooth surface in which I can get a good rhythm going. The overall difficulty is nothing like a multiday event where nutrition, hydration and trying to get sleep and recovery are major concerns. Therefore, my aim in the Canberra Two Day Walk is to push myself hard as I can. I do wake up very sore on the Sunday morning (following the previous day’s marathon) with tight hips and sore shins but normally these issues settle out after a bit of a warm up.

What sort of pace do you aim for when walking?

For the Canberra Two Day Walk I had no goal pace in the first year but now I roughly aim for somewhere between 8:00 and 8:30 min/K average pace for the marathon (5h45-6h) on the Saturday and a little faster on the Sunday.

What type of walking do you prefer?

I actually like a wide variety of locations, surfaces and terrains though if I was pushed I would say that my favourites involve long, steady climbs on non-technical bush tracks in the Brindabella Mountains and Namadgi National Park (ACT) that culminate in amazing views. I have no training in racewalking technique so I guess that I have some kind of fitness walking style?

The rules of the Canberra Walking Festival specify “no running”. Do you find it difficult complying with this rule?

Not at all. The whole point of participating in these events for me is to walk and to strengthen some of those different muscle groups and tendons that are different to running, so I have no temptation at all to start running. In fact, in 2012 I followed up my Canberra Two Day Walks with a 24 Hour Walk at Coburg in April. Walking form is strictly observed at this event and I managed to cover 152 km in my first attempt, making me vow to go back one day and get the 100 miles with some proper training!

You also train other novice ultra runners and I recall you saying that you include walking as part of their training programs.

Walking is an absolutely critical part of the programs that I prepare for my ultramarathon squad, whether they are a novice or an experienced World class athlete. Most runners that I prescribe walking to know that it is in their best interests for high performance when I show them my results and other high performers in the squad (a few members of my squad were part of the Silver Medal Mens Team at the World 24H running Championships in 2015), but ultimately they quickly find out for themselves that it is not only a nice change, but they can cover long training distances with considerably less stress on the body.

The training sessions that I prescribe range from very long run/walks at a given time or distance ratio through to occasional pure power walks done for 45 to 90 min at maximum effort. There are so many advantages to being able to walk well for ultra-endurance athletes: it allows a change of muscle groups and a lowering of heart rate, it allows short breaks to take in food and drink without the bouncing of running, it is low impact, it works runners in a low aerobic fat burning zone, and it allows runners to do very long run/walks that allow faster recovery than pure runs and thus not interfere with the rest of the weekly program.

Why would you recommend the Canberra Walking Festival to other runners?

For all of the reasons described above: excellent low end aerobic training, superb courses and scenery, great organisation, meeting walkers from all around the world, very modest entry fees, great food from the local Scout groups at the end, and more than anything- getting out of your running comfort zone and doing something completely different! I should also point out that runners do not need to push themselves to complete the longest distances available on each of the two days. For example, a 5km parkrunner might choose to walk 10-11km on each day, and still find that to be an enjoyable but still challenging experience.