Some rain did not deter walkers during the Canberra Walking Festival

By Kaitlyn Watson, University of Canberra intern 2019

The 28th annual Canberra Walking Festival was held during the last weekend of March. The festival welcomed a total of well over 400 participants from 17 different countries including Norway, the Netherlands, Russia, the United States and across Australia. Walk-ins were also accepted over the weekend.

Interstate and Russian walkers

The festival experienced its first rain of its 28 year history, but it did not put a damper on the joyful moods of these determined walkers. Even with dark clouds, chilling winds and first drops of rain on Saturday morning, walkers put on their raincoats and marched out of the doors at Albert Hall, to complete various distances walking around the Canberra region. But everyone was pleased to see the sun come out again on Sunday.

For some, this festival was their first; travelling all the way from places such as Russia to see the wonders of Australia, and choosing to take part in the festival partnered with IML and IVV walking associations.

Others such as the Watson family originally from Wollongong, have been attending this festival for over 19 years. The eldest of this family, first saw this event being advertised in the second year it ran and decided to participate as a family to spend time together and be active. Over the years this family has continued to partake in this event, introducing it to their children.

Watson children displaying their medals accumulated over several years walking

Over the weekend, there was a sense of exhilaration and companionship amongst the many walkers. Old friends being reacquainted at registration and the welcome walk on the Friday, and new friendships formed during the longer walks over the weekend. The excitement on the first day of the festival could be felt throughout the whole of Albert Hall, with many greeting the regular volunteers, taking photos with the international flags and showcasing their various medals, pins and awards received from other festivals and walking events.

This annual festival relies solely on volunteers to run the event. The current committee will continue running the festival next year and then Rotary will take over the reigns in 2021. While some of the regular walkers are unsure about how a change in leadership will influence the event, the committee are confident that the event will evolve and grow under Rotary’s stewardship.

This festival has a significant impact on the tourism sector in Canberra. Not only does it bring various international visitors to the region, but it also advertises and showcases the picturesque scenery Canberra has to offer. If this event were to end, Canberra would lose a significant amount of new and repeat international and domestic visitors.

Lithuanian and Swedish walkers

Hopefully this event will endure into the future and will continue to bring international and domestic tourists to the Canberra region, to enjoy the wonders of the Australian Capital while being active and healthy.


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


80km Bondi Manly Walk

The Sydney Morning Herald recently published an article about developing the 8okm route from Bondi Beach (south of Sydney) to Manly Beach (South of Sydney), passing the iconic Opera House and crossing Sydney Harbour Bridge. It is already possible to walk most of this route, but it is not well signed in places, so we are looking forward to this full route developing further over the next few years.

AussieWalk already has IVV walks that cover part of this area: Spit Bridge to Manly 10km walk and part of our Sydney City 12km route. Plus we extend the walk up to 16km south from Bondi Beach to the Malabar headland. See maps and details on our Permanent Trails page.



Walk faster for better health

Time to pick up your walking pace!

University of Sydney researchers have analysed UK population data in a study of walking speed and longevity, according to a recent article in the Sydney Morning Herald.

Self-rated walking pace and all-cause, cardiovascular disease and cancer mortality: individual participant pooled analysis of 50,225 walkers from 11 population British cohorts was published in volume 52, issue 12 of the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

Want to try a new walking technique altogether?

 


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!