Langley – For more than half a century, local residents have been lacing up their shoes and walking, strolling, or rolling through the community with their families and friends during the Langley Walk.
This year, a special occasion will be celebrated and special guests will be on hand when the 55th annual Walk takes place in Willoughby on Sunday, May 7.
“The Langley Walk is a great opportunity to get outdoors and be active, and those who take part in the 2017 event can help commemorate Canada’s 150th birthday and check a number of items off their ParticipACTION 150 Playlist,” said Langley Walk organizer Barbara Andersen, a Health and Fitness Recreation Programmer with the Township of Langley.
Created to celebrate the milestone anniversary of our nation’s confederation, the Playlist features 150 activities that define our land and people, and is designed to get citizens moving. Walking (#19), running (#80), and cycling (#2) are all included in the ParticipACTION 150 Playlist, and all can be done at the Langley Walk, along with fitness activities (#114), which can be done during the pre-Walk warm up. The Township is connecting with many local organizations to offer as many ParticipACTION 150 Playlist activities as possible during the event.
As well, members of the Vancouver Stealth lacrosse team (#94), Langley Gymnastics Foundation (#60), Xtreme Allstar Cheer and Dance (#97), Woo Kim Tae Kwon Do (#133), and other local sports teams will be at the Langley Walk, and local sports fans are encouraged to come out for an opportunity to meet them.
The Langley Walk was established by Pete Swensson, the Township of Langley’s first Recreation Director, to encourage residents to be more physically active, and has been held in various neighbourhoods throughout Langley Township and City since 1963.
The Township’s Willoughby community will be in the spotlight this time, and the free event for all ages will start and finish at the Willoughby Community Centre and Park, at 7888 – 200 Street. Entertainment and registration begins at 12:00pm and the Walk gets underway at 1:30pm.
Participants can choose to take a five or ten kilometre route, both of which will accommodate little ones in strollers, those in wheelchairs, and rollerbladers. The 10 km route does feature some packed gravel sections and hills. Dogs on leashes are welcome, and the Walk will be held rain or shine. After the Walk, a free snack, more activities, and entertainment will be offered. Participants are encouraged to bring their own refillable water bottles.
As in years past, trophies and prizes will be awarded in a number of categories, including to the oldest walker and the most walkers from an elementary school, middle school, secondary school, family, and organization. Everyone who finishes will receive a commemorative crest, and all those who participate in the Walk are eligible to win draw prizes.
“Pete Swensson was a strong believer in the benefits of physical activity. His motto was, ‘Walk away your ills, instead of taking pills’,” said Township of Langley Mayor Jack Froese. “He left a great legacy for this community and it is wonderful to see people participate in the Langley Walk year after year. While it is not a competitive event, it certainly inspires us to be active and healthy while getting outside and having fun with our families and neighbours.”
Volunteers are being sought to help with Walk registration and route marshalling.
“This is an excellent opportunity for high school students to collect volunteer hours, and assistance from anyone who would like to get involved in this exciting community event would be greatly appreciated,” said Andersen. Those interested can email firstname.lastname@example.org.