Armed Forces Day exercise

May 16, 2014 

What: The Armed Forces Day Walk or Bike is one of Western Washington’s most popular volksmarches. The 10- and 5-kilometer walking routes, and 13- and 25-kilometer cycling routes, are good chances for military personnel and civilians alike to tour the Joint Base Lewis-McChord grounds. The routes are on sidewalks and wind through wooded areas on base. Military equipment will be on display.

When: Saturday, 8 a.m.-noon.

Where: Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s Cowan Stadium on Liggett Avenue.

History: Washington’s first volksmarch was held at Fort Lewis in 1982. The activity was popular with military serving in Europe. Chuck Repik of Steilacoom discovered the sport while serving overseas. He set up the first Washington volksmarch with Bob Hren of Tacoma. Now, there are 25 Volksmarch clubs in the state. The Evergreen State Volkssport Association turned 25 last year.

Getting there: For civilians, follow Interstate 5 to Exit 119 and turn east. Enter the security area where you will be directed where to park so you can take a bus to the starting area. For those with military decals, take Exit 120 from I-5. Go east on 41st Division Drive and follow the signs to the parking area.

Cost: Free, or $3 if you are walking for volkssport credit.

Of note: Volkssporters collect stamps at each event for credit toward patches that mark milestones in miles and events walked. While most participants walk for credit, earning credits is not required. New walker kits are available for $5 at the starting area. These kits include two record books (one to record distance and one to record events walked) and three vouchers good for free credit at volksmarches. There will be water and restrooms at the start and finish area. Pets are not permitted on buses.

More information: esva.org or call 253-839-1892.

Craig Hill, craig.hill@ thenewstribune.com

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