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The Long Distance Walks


Updated July 19, 2014

Nordic Walking Couple at Lake
Scott Markewitz/Photographer's Choice RF/Getty

Do you ever have the urge to just take off walking - and never stop?

Across the Continent
Thru-hiking the Appalachian or Pacific Crest Trail. Walking across Australia. Walking around the world carrying a 10-foot cross. People take on amazing quests. Former Canadian Volkssport Federation President Ole Oleson and wife Helene walked from the Arctic Ocean to the Pacific in western Canada, and then across Canada to the Atlantic Ocean. They made as much as 40 kilometers (25 miles) a day. That's a marathon a day.

Camino de Santiago
Pilgrims have walked to venerate the tomb of Saint James in Santiago de Compostela for 1000 years. The 800-kilometer/500-mile Camino Frances route from France is very popular today for walkers looking for a challenge as well as those with spiritual motivations. Other Camino routes radiate throughout Europe.

Ultramarathons and Death Marches
Ultramarathon runs and walks are growing in popularity. At the 30th annual Dodentocht of Bornem, Belgium (Dodentocht translates as Death March) 6621 walkers started and only 3420 finished. They expect 7000 to enter this year.

Multi-Day Events
Walking a long distance each day for two or more days is a grueling endurance test. International Marching League events (20K to 50K a day) and Avon 3-Day Events (20 miles a day) are hugely popular around the world.

Be a Centurion
People regularly vie to get the title of Centurion - one who has walked or run 100 miles in 24 hours.

Don't want to go it alone? Form a team for togetherness. Relay walks usually involve each person walking one or more legs of shorter distance - often 3-8 miles - and handing off to the next team member. The relay is all about cheering on and supporting each other.

What makes them walk? How do you join in these endeavors? How do you prepare for it? Let's explore the world of long distance walking.

Next page >> Across a Continent

The Long Walks
Long Walks
Across a Continent
Ultramarathon Walks
Multi-Day Walks
Centurion - 24 and 18 Hr Walks
Hazards and Recovery
Humor and Discussion

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