Toledo-based company sponsoring community walks

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Maumee Valley Volkssporters from Toledo is sponsoring community walks open to the public in Lawrence, Pike, Highland, Scioto and Adams counties Labor Day weekend.

Walkers may participate in any of the five routes from Sept. 2 to Sept. 5. The admission is free.

“I don’t know how much better it gets than free,” Sandi Latimer, leader of the Olentangy Owls in Columbus, said.

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According to the American Volksporter Association’s website, the term ‘volkssporter’ originated in Germany. ‘Volks’ means the people’s.

The activity grew out of looking for an alternative to competitive races. The group emphasizes the non-competiveness aspect and walking for exercise.

The headquarters for this event will be located at the AmeriStay Hotel in Waverly. Maps of the designated routes and directions to each location will be available.

There is no specification on how many routes or in which time frame an individual may do.

“You can pick and choose which one to do on which day,” Faith Cataldo-Gauger, co-leader of Maumee Valley Volkssporters, said.

Each route is 10 kilometers or 6.2 miles. Cataldo-Gauger and her husband Craig went to each location and mapped out each of the routes. The routes are rated on a toughness scale of one to five with five being the hardest.

The Lawrence County walk will be at the Lake Vesuvius Recreation Area and is rated a two-plus due to small hills, stairs and tree roots along the trail.

The Scioto County walk in Portsmouth and Pike County walk in Waverly are both rated a one and will take place on sidewalks and park trails.

The Highland County route, which starts at the Fort Hill State Memorial, is rated a three because of rolling hills.

The Adams County walk at Serpent Mound has two options. There is a 10 kilometer walk on the main park trail and an alternative 5 kilometer or 3.1 mile route on a different route.

Individuals coming in for these events have a chance to add to the local economy.

“When someone comes into a community to walk, if the community is nice to the walkers, they will leave money behind,” Latimer said. “It’s the tourist factor.”

Cataldo-Gauger said the walks get people to visit areas they wouldn’t otherwise see. Walkers can learn about the local history and look at the area scenery.

Volkssporting also brings families together. Cataldo-Gauger said she and her two sisters go to events together often. They will pick an event and meet up to do the walk.

“We see each other more at volksmarches more than we would have otherwise,” she said.

The AVA offers many rewards for those interested in making volkssporting a full time hobby. A beginner’s book is available for purchase at each location. Each event during Labor Day weekend is eligible for one stamp. However, it is not an obligation to start the program.

For more information about this event, contact Craig Gauger ( and Faith Cataldo-Gauger ( or by phone at 419-893-0540.

For more information about volkssporting as a whole, visit the American Volkssport Association website at .