Over 600 walkers from 17 countries and across Australia enjoyed perfect Canberra autumn weather during our weekend of walking. All participants who walked both days were awarded a commemorative silver medal. Ten walkers had participated in all 25 events and were awarded a special 25-year medal.
His Excellency Dr Obaid Alhairi Salem Alketbi, Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates, and a large contingent of UAE Embassy staff took part in Sunday’s walk around Lake Burley Griffin. Walking groups from Taiwan, Japan, the Netherlands and Belgium attended the Festival as well as individuals from England, Finland, Germany, Lithuania, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Norway, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Switzerland, and the USA.
Earlier this year the Canberra Walking Festival was named by two international walking organisations as the first official walking event of the Cooperation Cup, with only a small number of events to be chosen worldwide each successive year. Bronze medals were presented to 10 walkers from Belgium, Finland, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and the United States. The Cooperation Cup was jointly established by the IML Walking Association (IML) and the International Federation of Popular Sports (Internationaler Volkssportverband or IVV) to promote non-competitive walking. The Canberra Walking Festival has been an accredited IML event since 1977 and has been sanctioned by the IVV since 1999.
IML Vice-President, Dolores Grenier from the USA, enjoyed her first visit to Australia, together with the presidents of our event’s sister walks in Finland and Taiwan: Helene Kyroelaeinen and Cheng Chi (Bronze medalist in the 80M hurdles in the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City and the Associated Press Athlete of the Year in 1970).
Originally known as the Canberra Two Day Walk, the Canberra Walking Festival’s 25th international event featured our very first point-to-point walk along the Canberra Centenary Trail. There were also pre- and post-Festival walks to ensure visiting walkers saw the best of the nation’s capital city.
Next year’s Canberra Walking Festival will be held 31 March, 1-2 April 2017. Online registration will open later this year in October.