Category Archives: Canada

Another Trainer Discovers Nordic Walking

Shawn Wenger, a registered trainer with the British Columbia Recreation & Parks Association, wrote in her “Fitness for Mortals” column in Kamloops This Week, that she has rediscovered the joy of walking. She recently attended a BC fitness event, adding, “I’m looking forward to learning more about Nordic walking. I have seen many people around town walking with poles and have heard about some of the benefits such as burning more energy by employing upper body muscles and taking some of the impact off lower extremity joints. I have talked to people who took Nordic walking to the Sun Run in Vancouver this year, so it is an up-and-coming sport. For me, it’s a new twist on something old.”

I perked up at her mention of Nordic Walkers in the recent Sun Run, sponsored by the Sun newspaper and Canada’s largest 10K race with 54,317 runners, walkers and wheelchair athletes registered this year (above right). The Sun Run’s website doesn’t include too much information, but race rules on the subject are: “For safety purposes, participants with walking poles, strollers, baby joggers or recreational wheelchairs MUST start in the 1:30 min+ zone at the back of the pack and must walk the route…You must accept the risks of participating in a race with up to 50,000 entrants.” The 2007 race took place on April 15.

Nordic Walking Up North

Fast Trax Run & Ski Shop (7326 101th Avenue) in Edmonton, ALB, launches evening Nordic Walking training sessions beginning in May. Dates and other details have not yet been announced, and participants have to call the shop (780-469-9292 and 866-469-9292) to register. This shop is known locally in Alberta’s capital city as training and equipment headquarters for runners and cross-country skiers, among other sports enthusiasts. The shop’s website includes training tips for Nordic Walking and “ski striding” that are useful whether or not you are anywhere within striking (or striding) distance of Edmonton.

Beginners are cautioned, “Although Nordic Walking is not an intensive sport you still need time to get used to training regularly and make sure you have sufficient regeneration time. As you improve, or are already fit from other sports, increase the duration of exercise before adding intensity to your training programme. Never do both at once or in the wrong order. Otherwise you may over do it and all your effort goes to waste. Increases in duration and intensity should take place gradually and not all at once!” Good advice from those who know.

Vancouver Marathon Adds Nordic Walking Division

There have been 35 previous runnings of the Vancouver Marathon, but May 6, 2007, will be the first one with a specific Nordic Walking category. The out-and-back course in one of North America’s most beautiful and congenial cities (aerial view, right) is practical for an event that includes both full and half-marathon distances. The spectator-friendly course includes some of the city’s most beguiling downtown neighborhoods, the Inner Harbor, the Burrard Bridge and beautiful Stanley Park. Nordic Walkers are expected to exceed six hours for the full marathon distance.

Nordic Walkers are required to adhere to the following rules for the safety of others along the route at the most congested parts of the route. Nordic Walkers are asked to “please collapse and/or pull in and refrain from using the poles” at the start, at all aid stations and at finish and turnaround areas. Nordic Walkers are also asked to move to single file with poles collapsed or pulled in close whenever congestion builds up. The polite Canadians refer to them as “guidelines,” but competitive Nordic Walkers would be wise to adhere to them as if they were unbreakable rules if they want Nordic Walking categories to be added elsewhere, because race organizers are sure to keep an eye on how it works in Vancouver.
Full marathon registration costs CDN$80 (US$76) if postmarked before Mar. 24, 2007 and CDN$90 (US$85) by the close of registration on Apr. 21. Half-marathon entry is CDN$65 (US$62) and CDN765 (US$70), with those same deadlines. A T-shirt is included. Detailed information and the registration form are available on-line.

Seventy-two runners did five laps around Stanley Park in first Vancouver Marathon, which now attracts 20,000 runners, walkers, wheelchair athlete, team relay (also new this year) and children in a special kids’ marathon. The current title sponsor is the Bank of Montreal. Previous title sponsors have included Scotiabank and Adidas.

For Montrealers, Nordic Walking is Part of Winter Fun

We all know a few things about Canada and Canadians. Here are two: First, it’s up north, where winters tend be cold and snowy. Second, Canadians know how to have a good time, regardless of the temperature. Now, Nordic Walking is making its way into the winter fun mix.

I just read a press release from Vieux Port Montreal, the city’s historic old port along the frosty St. Lawrence River, cheering the arrival of winter and announcing a weeked-long celebratory event. What brings joy to my Nordic Walker’s heart is that in the midst of of all the expected music, food, anti-freeze beverages and sports booths, the Vieux Port’s promoters write, “Cold outside? We have the perfect cure: get outside and get moving! On Saturday, December 9, warm up with some vigorous Nordic walking and put somecolour in your cheeks during a Cardio Warm-up to the grooves of a Latin beat. You can top off the day nicely with a cocktail at the happening in the impressive Winter Bar… an enormous venue, created entirely of ice!You’ll be in the perfect frame of mind to give traditional group, Les Batinses, a warm welcome, and enjoy a high-energy, two-hour show, punctuatedby the dazzling TELUS Fire on Ice show early in the evening. On the same rink, glide around to the rhythm of dance groves provided by a DJ, until 11:00 p.m. Saturday and 6:00 p.m. Sunday.”

Today is December 9, so I certainly can’t scoot up there to join the merriment — and you probably can’t either, but I am cheered that Nordic Walking is being thought of as part of fun and entertainment — and by people who know all about that.