Super EarlyBird Entries Closing Soon!

You are invited to participate in the 27th Canberra Walking Festival!

Enter online at bit.ly/cwf2018.

The Canberra Walking Festival is a non-competitive event open to everyone.
We hope you will join us. Note that we have a new start location for 2018 at the Albert Hall.

Registering online and early will ensure that you receive the best possible entry price (payment by Visa, Mastercard or PayPal), and also go into the draw for early bird prizes.

Online Entry Fees:

Child Under 10: $10 (for one or two days)

Child 10-17 years: $20 (for one or two days)

Adult: $25 (one day)

Adult Super EarlyBird: $35 (for two day entries received by end of November)

Adult EarlyBird: $40 (for two day entries received by end January)

Adult: $45 (standard online two day entry rate)

Entry fees are non-refundable.

On the Day Entries (cash only):

$25 per day for all participants, regardless of age.

Available at the Control Centre, located at: Albert Hall, 100 Commonwealth Ave – next to Hyatt Hotel.
Arrive at least 30 minutes prior to the starting time of your desired participation distance.

Please note that bus transport to the start of the walks on Sunday is not guaranteed for “on the day” registrations, and will be subject to space availability.

The event aims to:

  • promote walking as a worthwhile, fun activity;
  • encourage people to participate in an enjoyable, healthy, outdoor activity regardless of fitness, age, gender or background;
  • challenge those who wish to test their fitness, and/or obtain an award.

The Canberra Walking Festival is a not-for-profit event, run entirely by volunteers. A portion of all entry fees is donated to community organisations, including the Heart Foundation.

Walk Options – A variety of walk options to showcase the best of Canberra.

Pre-Festival Guided Walks

Thursday 5th April 9.30am, Mt Ainslie and Mt Majura, 15km on the Centenary Trail with Walking For Pleasure – starts and finishes at the Australian War Memorial (outside Poppy’s cafe). $5 for IVV stamp for non-WFP members – payable on the day.

Friday 6th April 11am, Capital Walk, 11km – starts and finishes at the Control Centre for the Festival, returning in time for the Welcome Walk and official opening. $5 for IVV stamp – payable on the day.

Friday 6th April 3pm, Welcome Walk, 5km – explore the Parliamentary Triangle in small groups followed by the official opening ceremony and reception. $5 per person, includes reception and IVV stamp.

Canberra Walking Festival Self-Guided Walks

Saturday 7th April – Distance options are 5km, 11km, 21km and 42.2km. Entry includes event support, IVV stamp, and marathon medal for those finishing the marathon.

Sunday 8th April – Distance options are 5km, 10km, 21km and 26km. Entry includes event support, IVV stamp, IML stamp for those completing the required distance on Sat and Sun, and Canberra Two Day Walk medal for those walking any distance on both Sat and Sun.

On Saturday and Sunday the start times vary depending on your chosen distance – full details on the Canberra Walking Festival page. Free bus is provided to the start of your chosen walk distance on Sunday, so it is important that you arrive in time to catch the bus!


Tiptoe through the tulips

Floriade 2017

More photos on the AussieWalk Facebook page

Floriade is on again in Canberra, and is celebrating its 30th birthday. This means that the Heart Foundation early bird walks are also on again, where you get the opportunity to complete a 45 minute walk around Floriade before the gates open to the general public. The walks are free, but a donation to the Heart Foundation is always appreciated – a collection tin is available at the walk.

Floriade early bird walks start at 8am each Monday-Saturday of Floriade, which runs from 16 September to 15 October 2017. There are no early bird walks on Sunday. Each walk is approximately 2.5km.  A number of AussieWalk and Walking For Pleasure members are assisting as volunteers to lead these walks, and we would love to see you there.

In particular, mark your calendars for these dates, when AussieWalk/Walking For Pleasure has a scheduled walk immediately following the earlybird walk:

Saturday 23rd Sep: complete the early bird walk then a lap of the central basin of Lake Burley Griffin.

Saturday 14th Oct: complete the early bird walk then a walk along Anzac Parade past the memorials, including two new memorials since we last walked here.

We meet near the crossing on Commonwealth Avenue – see the blue flower on the map below. Arrive 5-10min early to sign in, so you are ready to start the walk at 8am.


Meet our committee: Diana Marshall, president

Meet-Our-Committee---DianaI first walked the Canberra Two Day Walk (CTDW) in 2003. I had recently returned from three years in the USA, where I had cheered on my husband in his first marathon. I discovered that there were plenty of people who walked marathons in the United States and I felt inspired to give one a go myself, so was looking for a suitable event in Australia. I came across a CTDW brochure for the event at the bowling alley in Tuggeranong, less than two months before the event and was immediately enthused to enter. The 30km distance requirement for my age was a little daunting but I was not deterred. How hard could it be? After all, it was much less than a marathon. Famous last words!

Working full-time with a young child, I had limited opportunity to train, and I went in to my first CTDW very under-prepared, and with relatively new shoes to boot. I don’t think I had walked much further than 20km in the lead-up to the event. At the end of the day I could hardly move, and I had monstrous blisters on both feet. I didn’t know how I would be able to complete another 30km on day two. But I knew that if I didn’t finish the walk I would have endured all the pain and have nothing to show. That finisher’s medal was a powerful incentive for me! So, with bandaged feet and a pair of comfortable old shoes, I struggled through the second day of walking, with plenty of encouragement (and concern) from the other participants. Needless to say, I was not fit for work on the Monday, and needed to take a day’s leave to recover. My second CTDW was not much better, but since then I have managed more easily, and have even completed eight of the nine marathon routes, plus 10 or so other marathons along the way.

Given my trials at the very first CTDW, I decided to immediately join the IML to get the IML Bronze Medal (in addition to the CTDW medal) — I felt that I deserved it! I have since walked three times at our sister IML event in Rotorua, New Zealand, but need to travel further afield if I want to earn subsequent IML awards. I’m hoping to do a bit more travel in the years to come. 

I’m also a very enthusiastic IVV walker, having now walked over 7,000km and completed over 400 events. This is not much when compared to some of our international walkers who have completed over 10 times my distance! I have done a number of IVV walks in the USA and have taken on their 50 states and A-Z challenges. So far I have walked in nine states and finished half of the alphabet. I just wish I had known about the IVV when I lived in the USA. Walking is a wonderful way to see a new place when travelling — and the IVV walks will often take you to some of the more interesting places that a tourist wouldn’t normally see (plus many of the main tourist spots too). I have also been fortunate to meet some wonderful IVV walkers when travelling, who have been very generous with their time. It’s much easier when you have a local guide too, rather than having to worry about following written directions! I like to reciprocate when visitors come to Canberra, and have met many interesting people during their travels here.

After a couple years of participating in the CTDW I was recruited onto the committee after making a few “helpful” suggestions about the event and the old website. Over the years I have taken on increasing responsibilities, first with the website, brochure design and newsletter editor, IVV coordinator and then starting up various social media channels and coordinating a regular walk program throughout the year.

This is now my 10th year on the committee and my fourth year as president. I started as a general committee member, became vice-president in 2011 and then president in 2012 when Lachlan Wilkinson inconveniently decided to move to Adelaide! One of my main goals as president has been to streamline some of the manually-intensive aspects of the Festival, and while this has resulted in some short-term pain, I am sure that the long-term gain will be worth the effort.

My favourite distance to walk is 20km and I prefer nice flat or gently undulating routes. Downhills are a real killer for my knees, and I am not a fan of loose, scrambly surfaces. I enjoy walking with others but am equally happy to walk by myself, and can while away the time planning all the things I intend to do after the walk (although usually I just end up having a nice rest!). Since getting a smart phone I have discovered that podcasts are also a good way to pass the time while walking, and I particularly like listening to Conversations with Richard Fidler.

I live very close to the Centenary Trail, so I am spoiled with great walking opportunities. In my ideal world I’d be doing a 10km walk every morning, but I end up spending far too much time sitting in front of a computer. The hot weather was also a big de-motivator for me, so I really need to be more committed to going out first thing before it gets too hot.

Last year I joined Walking for Pleasure, which has been a lot of fun, and have recently merged our Saturday AussieWalks into their program of walks, which now cover every day of the week except Mondays.

In recent years I have also taken up running (shock, horror!) and after completing the “couch to 5k” program I can now run 5km. I don’t get to much running training, but do try to get along to my local parkrun on Saturday mornings when I don’t have an AussieWalk scheduled. I find that parkruns are also good when travelling, because  there are lots of events held around Australia (and the world) and once you have registered you use the same barcode at every event — and it is free.

Aside from walking, I have a few obscure hobbies, including geocaching and munzees. These activities have taken a back seat over the last year or so, but they are fun when I do make time for them.

Well, that’s probably more than anyone wanted to know about me, so I’ll end here and just say that I am looking forward to catching up with all our repeat walkers as well as meeting our new walkers at the Canberra Walking Festival in April. See you then!


Meet our walkers: Dolores Grenier from the USA

Photo of a woman sheriff officer in uniform.Dolores will be walking with us for the very first time this year. “I met Kathleen and Harry Berg several times at other IML events,” she explains. “I am happy to be able to take part in the 25th anniversary of the Canberra Two Day Walk.”

As IML Vice-President, Pan Pacific region, Dolores will also be presenting the very first Cooperation Cup medals at our awards ceremony on Sunday. Walkers from Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and the United States will receive the first Cooperation Cup awards here in Canberra.

The Cooperation Cup was jointly established by the IML Walking Association (IML) and the International Federation of Popular Sports (Internationaler Volkssportverband or IVV) earlier this year to promote non-competitive walking. Both international organisations have the aim of encouraging active and worldwide walking.

“It is unfortunate it has taken me this long to make it to your event but I am sure this will not be my last time,” Dolores says. “Australia is a big country with lots to do so my trip of two weeks will not be enough!”

She joined the IVV in 1988 while working at the U.S. Air Force Base in Zwiebrucken, Germany, and raising her son Foster and daughter Petrina. “Walking was an inexpensive activity I could do with my children,” she remembers. “We could get outdoors, see the sights, and meet the people.”

In 1997 she participated in an IML event held in the Winston-Salem area of North Carolina. “This was the one and only IML event that took place in North Carolina,” Dolores recalls. “I ran into a group of British police officers there for the IML walks. I was hooked on the IML walking scene! I’ve never been the same.”

Since then she has walked in Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, South Korea, Spain, and Taiwan. “I enjoy the IML walking events as I like to be able to travel and meet the local people and cultures.”

She has walked 50km seven times in the Netherlands “then I smartened up” and walked 40km in her eighth event in that country. “I’m going to retire in March 2017 and plan on doing more than the two or three walks a year I’ve been doing while working full-time.” 

A member of the American Volkssport Association (AVA), Dolores also helps organise the IML Freedom Walk in Arlington, Virginia, and has walked in all 14 Freedom Walks held to date. Just like our walk, the Freedom Walk features the sights of a national capital — in this case Washington, D.C.

As a volunteer on the IML Board, she helps out with the IML newsletter and social media. “Hopefully, when I’m retired, I can step it up to assist IML President Marc Muller who is doing so much for the organisation.”

She has completed the AVA’s Centurion Achievement Challenge twice already and is working towards her third award patch. The Centurion program requires a walker to participate in 100 IVV events in a single calendar year.

“Walking is my passion,” states Dolores, “but I run an occasional half- or full-marathon. I’m not breaking any running records but my job requires a certain amount of physical fitness.” She has been employed with the Arlington County Sheriff’s Office for the past 24 years. “It has been a challenging time for law enforcement in the United States over the past few years,” Dolores notes. “I am thankful for my time of service but feel it is time to let the younger law enforcement officers take on the new challenges.”

In her leisure time she likes to garden and read as well as do a little skiing. Dolores is also a grandmother of six and has encouraged her grandchildren to walk with her. “I enjoy time walking stateside AVA events with them. All but the youngest have their IVV walking books,” she says proudly.

Her oldest grandson, Devin aged 14, really likes the Volksbiking IVV-sanctioned events. “In 2014 we completed the C&O Canal route of 185 miles from Cumberland, Maryland, to Georgetown, Washington, DC, in five days,” she smiles. “Great memories.”


Meet our walkers: Lachlan Wilkinson from Adelaide

A man sitting on a wall in Cinque Terre, Italy.

Lachlan enjoying the Cinque Terre, Italy.

Past C2DW President Lachlan Wilkinson relates his involvement with our event.

It was a sign behind the driver on a bus back in 1996 that started me on this journey. The sign was advertising something called the ‘Canberra Medal Walk’. As a keen walker newly-arrived in Canberra, I needed to find out more. I did, and entered the 30-kilometre walk in 1997.

By this time, I had also joined the ACT Race Walking Club (now ACT Walkers) and learnt how to race walk. I thought I was in pretty good shape and this distance wouldn’t be problem, particularly as I was going to stroll over the event, rather than use the race walking technique. I struck up a conversation with a couple of walkers at the front of the group and we finished together, but those last 10 kilometres were hard! That night, in an experience familiar to many of our walkers, I lay in bed with aching muscles wondering how I could possibly do it again the next day. I made it, but did more distance training before the 1998 walk!

I encouraged a few other race walkers to give it a go and a number became regular participants. To stay in the spirit of the event, none actually used the race walking technique but walkers such as Robin Whyte were still always among the first to finish. Around this time, Robin became a Centurion by walking 100 miles in 24 hours, inspiring several others in the ACT Walkers to also have a go at ultra-distance events.

Shortly after, I walked part of the Two Day Walk with someone called Carol. I commented that she seemed to have an efficient style and good endurance and she should come along to some of the ACT Walkers events. I got a taste of what an understatement that was in August 1999, just after my 40th birthday, when Carol passed me in the last kilometre of our first 50-kilometre race walking event. (For the record, I finished in 5 hours 57 minutes — only two hours off an Olympic qualifying time.) Of course, Carol Baird then went on to complete the Centurion distance 10 or more times and set a number of Australian records! She marked the Two Day Walk course for many years.

I was also giving ultra-distance walking a go, not quite with the success of Carol, but I did manage to walk 100 kilometres in just over 14 hours and complete several 12-hour events. In the last couple of years that the Gosford Coastal 12-hour Classic was held, we had a team of around 10 ACT walkers making the trek, several of whom — Robin, Carol, Val Chesterton, Doug Fitzgerald, Geoff Barker, Val Moran (apologies to anyone I missed) — were also Two Day walkers. We received the strangest looks when we all shuffled in slow motion into a club the night after the event for a meal. Lucky that wasn’t a two-day event!

Harry Berg indicated that he intended to stand down after the 15th Two Day Walk. I was initially reluctant to put my hand up as I was already the secretary of ACT Walkers. However, by this time, I was convinced this fabulous event needed to keep going. I caved in only about an hour before the AGM when it was clear no one else was going to nominate!

While there were plenty of challenges over the six years I served as President, I didn’t regret my decision to stand. I had a great committee, with the Bergs still actively involved. We introduced the marathon and streamlined the event by moving to a three-year cycle.

In a master stroke, I encouraged Diana Marshall to join the committee, conveniently providing me with a successor! There were frustrations — foremost of those was the inability to grow our walker numbers. I have always thought that our event should be far more popular than it is. I look with some envy at events like the Seven Bridges in Sydney that attract many thousands of walkers. It is difficult with small volunteer-run events and walkers who take part in the now Canberra Walking Festival should appreciate the effort put in by committee members.

In 2012, my wife and I decided we would move on from Canberra after 16 years and I stood down as President. In the end, we left just after the 2013 walk, moving to Adelaide where I commenced a job with an environmental consultancy firm, JBS&G Australia (we work on environmental assessments and approvals and Diana can provide my contact details if you need our services!)

My Canberra Two Day Walk Association obligations weren’t quite over as I spent several months mapping out an IVV walk to show some highlights of the city of Adelaide. I’m pretty happy with the route so come and give it a go if you haven’t already. Give me a call and I might be able to walk it with you.

Anyway, I’ll be back this year for the 25th anniversary (and the 19th time I’ve taken part). An advantage of no longer being on the committee is that I can walk with everyone else. It’s been a few years since I last walked an ultra event, so I need to get in a bit of training over the next few weeks to be able to manage the marathon (Saturday) and 30km (Sunday) without excruciating pain. I still think it’s a fabulous event given the ability to see parts of Canberra others never experience and enjoy the company of walkers from around the world. I hope many more Canberrans soon realise what a great event they have on their doorstep.


Meet our walkers: Bernd Ehls from Germany

Photo of man sitting next to sign that says Chengdu 2015.Bernd was the first person to register for our 25th walking event and will be joining us for the fourth time in 2016.

But before he arrives in Canberra, he will walk in his 270th IML event — the 19-20 March IML walk in Rotorua, New Zealand — and receive award number 90. [IML awards are based on a series of three walks. For example, after completing your first three events you would receive award number one; after your second set of three events, award number two, and so on.]

How does he do it? “I am walking nearly 15 IML events each year, all over the world,” Bernd explains. He completed his 269th IML event in Barcelona, Spain, last November.

Bernd participated in his first IML walk 28 years ago in Bern, Switzerland. “In 1992, I became a Master Walker in Japan,” he continues. “My award number was 156.” A Master Walker has completed walks in the eight founding IML member countries: Belgium, Luxembourg, Denmark, Ireland, the Netherlands, Austria, Japan and Switzerland.

He travelled to Chengu, China, last September, to participate in the IVV Olympiad. This celebration of Volkssports is held every second year in the country of an IVV member. Olympiad events include walking, swimming, biking, and sometimes other non-competitive sports. Additional social and cultural activities encourage mutual understanding and friendships among those who attend.

“I stayed in the Sichuan Jinjing Hotel, in the center of the city. Wonderful rooms with box spring beds,” he recalls. The breakfast was nearly like at home and so was dinner and lunch.”

This was Bernd’s third trip to China. In 2006 he walked in Dalian and in 2014 he walked in Beijing/Zhaitang. “I think I have to report that at the first time of my stay in China I did not get coffee at all. Only green tea, which was formidable to me. But this time there was everything!”

The Chengu gathering was the 14th IVV Olympiad. Although not an actual IML event, walkers who completed at least 20 kilometres per day were entitled to an IML stamp.

“Chengu is a very big city with many cars and motorcycles, but all the motorcycles had electric motors,” Bernd remembers. “The drive on the event bus through the city to the start area took one hour. On the first day there was an Opening Celebration about two hours long with speeches, dances and songs. Participants from all nations walked behind their flag in the hall to the stage.”

Walkers could choose from 6km, 11km, 22km or a 42km marathon. Biking distances were 6km, 11km, or 22km. Swimming distances were 300 metres or 1000 metres.

“Every day the route was the same through the Egret Bay Wetlands Park on concrete ways. Sometimes we walked on the normal road with many cars but there was a policeman or soldier every 50 to 100 metres to ensure the walkers stayed safe. But not so fine was that walkers and bikers used the same routes. I was told there were 20,000 walkers from all over the world!”

Bernd walked 22km four times, biked 22km twice and swam 300 metres. Amazingly, he has participated in all 14 Olympiads!


Czech walkers to visit Canberra

Six overseas walkers from the Czech Republic will be joining our walk this March. Most of the group are members of IVV and/or IML.

Their visit to Canberra will come towards the end of their 19-day tour of Australia, after seeing the sights in and around Cairns, Alice Springs, and Sydney.

Two members of the group will receive IML awards at Sunday afternoon’s ceremony. Walk group leader Jiri Nasinec will be awarded the Pan Pacific walker clip for walking in eight different Pan Pacific countries. Maria Blahova has earned the Pan Pacific clip and also the Global Walker clip for walking 10 different walks in the European region as well as participating in eight different Pan Pacific events.

Jiri is a member of the Novy Bor walking club. “Every week, from spring to autumn, there are walks for people in many places in the Czech Republic,” he says, adding, “We regularly walk in our country and also in different countries. We have done almost all IML walks.”

Tourists travel to Novy Bor to visit the many small glass factories where they can watch artisans blow, paint, cut and engrave glass. The Luzice Mountain region is also popular with hikers and skiers.


Meet our walkers: Gary and Marietta Pritchard from Alabama

Man and woman standing in front of sign for Port of Mount Dora.

Marietta and Gary Pritchard in Mount Dora, Florida.

Although this will be their second visit to Canberra, Americans Gary and Marietta Pritchard will be participating in our walk for the first time. “Canberra was the first national capital city in the world where we walked,” said Marietta.

While planning their 2013 trip, the pair reviewed the IVV website for information about IVV events in Australia. They contacted Walking Festival organisers Harry and Kathleen Berg for more specifics. “Kathleen was VERY helpful with information that first-timer walkers in Australia need,” Gary noted.

The couple enjoyed a cruise from Auckland to Sydney and then around Australia. During their first visit to Sydney they completed the two year-round IVV walks: the 12 km historical Sydney city walk around Darling Harbour, the Rocks, and the Botanic Gardens, and the 14 km Manly Scenic Walkway. Both these walks were established by the Canberra Two Day Walk Association and are sanctioned by the IVV as being eligible for credit towards IVV Achievement Awards.

When the ship returned to Sydney at the end of the voyage, Gary and Marietta travelled to Canberra to meet the Bergs. “Kathleen and Harry picked us up from our Canberra hotel to walk around Lake Tuggeranong and Lake Ginninderra,” Gary related. They completed the 30 km around Lake Burley Griffin in one day and also joined one of our marshalls’ walks around the eastern basin and the Jerrabomberra Wetlands.

The couple also journeyed to Uluru and Kata Tjuta in the Red Centre. On the return domestic flight, Gary tasted his first ever Australian meat pie. “I liked it SO MUCH that from then on all I wanted was meat pies.”

After that, they returned to New Zealand to walk their first IML event in Rotorua. “Our original plan was to walk both New Zealand and Australia to get only IVV credit,” recalled Gary. “We didn’t plan on doing the Two Day Walk because we could get our Australian IVV credit by doing the year-round events. But after meeting Kathleen, Harry, Diana Marshall and a lot of other walkers we promised we would return.”

At home in Alabama, the couple are members of the Capital City Wanderers, a walking club affiliated with the American Volkssport Association (AVA). During the year, the club hosts year-round events in the cities of Athens, Birmingham, Huntsville, and Montebello, as well as two year-round events in Montgomery, the state capital.

Each autumn the club organises a multi-walk event with walks in four to six of the state’s counties [a political administrative division]. “The goal for walkers is to eventually complete a walk in all of Alabama’s 64 counties,” Gary explained.

Over a six-week period this year, the two have completed 68 of the 70 year-round IVV events in Florida, and will finish this series of walks by mid-February. “We are currently walking two 10 km walks a day which is 140 km a week,” Gary stated, adding, “When we’re home we probably walk 30 km a week.”

The Pritchards are now on their way back to Alabama for yet more walking. Each February the Wanderers join the Georgia Walkers to co-host a multi-event weekend of walking, swimming and bicycle-riding events. On the same President’s Day weekend [13-16 February], the Pensacola Volksmarch Club offers seven additional walks. That’s a total of 21 separate events, according to Gary, which makes for “a REAL walkapalooza weekend!!!”

Marietta and Gary are also members of the IML and have completed events in Italy, New Zealand the the USA.

The retired couple enjoy walking and planning trips to do more walking. Gary also has the unusual hobby of collecting US National Park cancellation stamps.

“I’m going to enjoy the 20% discount on everything in Australia this year. At least I hope the exchange rate is still as good as it is right now. The last time we visited it took more than a US dollar to get an Australian dollar,” Gary recollected. “I just keep thinking about those cheaper PIES.”


Meet our walkers: James and Jean Ohl from the United States

Photo of a man and a woman on either side of a whale sculpture in Mystic, CT.

The Ohls in Mystic, Connecticut.

“We wish we had discovered walking before we retired,” say the Ohls, whose retirement plan is walk their way around the world.  They are visiting our city for the second time this month.

So far they have completed IML/IVV walks in Andorra, Australia, Belgium, Cambodia, Canada, Costa Rica, Denmark, England, France, Iceland, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, and Vietnam as well as in the USA.

Their walking adventures started in 2005 when they attended a walk in Vancouver, Washington [state].  They went to meet the Mayor but also met Australian Max Riley who introduced them to the IML and IVV walk programs.  After encountering Max at several subsequent IML walks, they finally decided to visit Australia in 2010.  The Ohls appreciate the relative flatness of the Canberra walks.

Back at home, they are members of the Vancouver USA Volkssporters, the All- Weather Walkers and the Columbia River Volkssport Club.  All of these groups offer traditional events and seasonal walks throughout the year.  The Ohls complete at least two 10-kilometre walks each week as their minimum requirement for IML events is 20 kilometres per day.

They are also in the process of walking in each of the 50 states, a challenge offered by the American Volkssport Association. In their spare time they enjoy reading, cooking, and, of course planning their next walking trip!


OAMs awarded to Harry and Kathleen Berg

A photo of Harry and Kathleen Berg with GG Quentin Bryce.

Harry and Kathleen Berg with Governor-General Quentin Bryce in September.

Did you know that Harry and Kathleen Berg have received the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for service to recreational walking?

The honour was announced last Queen’s Birthday (June 2013) and presented in September. 

The Bergs were nominated for their exceptional commitment to promoting the health and social benefits of walking as well as to encouraging international friendship and understanding. After experiencing multi-day walking events in Europe, Harry and Kathleen established the Canberra Two Day Medal Walk in 1992. Their aim was to promote walking, to provide a healthy, enjoyable recreational activity and to encourage walkers to achieve a personal challenge. They also sought to encourage international friendships. This aim was notably advanced in 1997 when the Canberra Two Day Walk was accepted into the IML Walking Association.

The Association has strict requirements for events to be recognised by the IML. Through its award system, walkers are encouraged to participate in IML events around the world. IML walks are held in 26 countries throughout Europe, Asia and the Americas. The Canberra Two Day Walk, now known as the Canberra Walking Festival, attracts hundreds of walkers from across Australia and overseas. Participants choose walks of various distances from 5km through 42km (marathon). Ample time is allowed for walkers to enjoy the sites of Canberra, and even our local walkers find something new to see.

Many walkers return each year because they enjoy the varied and attractive courses, the social atmosphere, the quality of the organisation and the opportunity to meet and interact with overseas walkers. Many international friendships have been formed and Australian walkers have taken the opportunity to renew those friendships by taking part in IML events overseas.

The Canberra Walking Festival has been very successful in supporting the IML’s motto: “May walking bring us together.” Our event has received consistently positive feedback from our overseas participants. In addition, the event has done much to promote the health benefits of walking for all ages, as well as promoting programs with similar aims, such as those managed by Heart Foundation Walking. All this did not happen without a lot of hard work by Harry and Kathleen!

Harry’s personal contribution has included:
–Founding President of the Canberra Two Day Walk Association (the organising committee of volunteers) and occupying that position for 15 years followed by active membership on the committee since then.
–Creating and maintaining a database of participant information.
–Processing all registration and preparing start cards.
–Developing, measuring and mapping walk routes; preparing detailed directions and signage.
–Preparing the Control Centre and all equipment for the events. 

Kathleen’s personal contribution has included:
–Secretary of the Canberra Two Day Walk Association and maintaining an active membership on the committee since then.
–Managing the 50+ volunteers needed to run the event.
–Guiding the planning of the event and related activities, including obtaining government approvals.
–Dealing with overseas inquiries; providing accommodation and travel advice.
–Assisting overseas walkers during the event to ensure their stay in Australia is enjoyable and rewarding.

Over the past 22 years, the Canberra Two Day Walk has been enjoyed by nearly 10,000 walkers. In addition to the Canberra Walking Festival, the Bergs have introduced Internationaler Volkssport Verband (IVV) walks in Australia. IVV walks are available in Canberra, Sydney, Melbourne, Lakes Entrance, Bairnsdale and Wodonga. Harry and Kathleen regularly host overseas groups wishing to undertake IVV walks in Australia. Their promotion of IVV walks here has encouraged many Australian walkers to take part in IVV walks overseas.