Category Archives: Competition

Poland Hosts Big Nordic Walking Event

I was intrigued by this poster, which I found on the Facebook page of Dorota Sosnowska of Poland. She posted it in January, but this competitive event is about to take place at a Polish seaside resort called Zdrowtel Leba that seems to focus on family activities, outdoor sports and fitness. All I know is that I’m impressed by the notion of a “great rivalry” of some sort involving Nordic Walking.


White Winter Race in the Green Mountain State

Peak National Snowshoe Championship coming to Vermont.

PeakSnowshoeRace-logoThe same people who bring the grueling Death Race to the woods of Vermont every summer are hosting the upcoming 2014 Peak National Snowshoe Championship, reportedly the largest snowshoe race in America. The course, near Pittsfield, VT, is certainly one of the most challenging.  Use of poles is optional.

There are four distances for different levels and abilities: the 100 Mile Race; the Snowshoe Marathon; a Half-Marathon;,and a 10-K Race. The 100-mile race begins Friday, February 28 at 8 a.m. and has a 34-hour cutoff.  The other races all begin on Saturday, March 1 at 8 a.m.  Fees to enter range from $70 for the 10K to $240 for the 100-miler. Registration is open until race day.

“Snowshoeing in the Green Mountains of Pittsfield is no stroll in the park,” said Peak Races co-founder Andy Weinberg.  “We can’t control the weather or the conditions but we can promise all competitors a rugged course, challenging competition and great camaraderie from snowshoe racers of all abilities from all around the world.”

Racers in 2013. Photo: Courtney Desena, courtesy Peak Races.
Racers in 2013. Photo: Courtney De Sena, courtesy Peak Races.

Last year, at the Peak National Snowshoe Championship Marathon, 245 racers completed the marathon with the winner finishing in a remarkable 4 hours 30 minutes.  This year, with an expanded field and more world-class racers scheduled to compete, a new record is expected.

The course, a rugged 6.5 mile loop in the Green Mountains of Vermont, challenges racers with each loop offering a 1,200-foot vertical climb. Competitors have until 6 p.m. on Saturday, March 1 to finish the race before the course closes. No exceptions. The rules, say the organizers, are simple: don’t cut the course and don’t litter.

Nordic Walking’s Online ‘Record Book’

Nordic Walking by the numbers

Following my recent post about the remarkable Gabriel Abraham and his recent Nordic Walking records for various distances, he contacted me and alerted me to the World Ranking Nordic Walking site.  I probably was aware this site of at one point but had forgotten all about it. I’m glad that he reminded me.

The site lists records for men and women for “Nordic Walking” (both on the road and on the outdoor track track (5km to marathon). It also lists”Ultra Nordic Walking” records on the road for distance (5km to 500km) and on the track (50 km to 100 miles), as well as for time (6 hours to 6 days). Click on the site, read the stats, look at the pictures and get an idea of what is required at the highest level of Nordic Walking competition. Amazing stuff.

Spaniard Sets Nordic Walking Ultra Records

Gabriel Abraham sets endurance records in walking with poles

I recently learned about Gabriel Abraham, a Spaniard who broke absolute and M-45 Word Records of Ultra Nordic Walking st 30 and 50 miles. His Wikipedia entry alludes to his previous athletic career in “road running, track running and cross-country races.” He was born in 1966, so he’s no longer a kid, which might explain the reason that he, like other runners, picked up poles and started excelling as a Nordic Walking competitor.

There is no indication as to whether he set these records in a race an if so, which?, or whether he was walking by himself with someone was timing him. Department of Unanswered Questions — except maybe for those who read Spanish. If I could, I would know more, at least from the external links on the Wikipedia page, but I don’t. So there you have it: an amazing athlete with a fairly high profile (given his sports) in Spain whom we know virtually nothing about. I invite anyone with more information to leave an enlightening comment. Please.

Michigan’s VASA Trail Run Permits Poles

Nordic Walkers welcom at upcoming Michigan foorace

Michigan’s spectacular VASA Trail system in Pere Marquette State Forest is the site of the VASA Trail Run next Saturday, October 2, hosted by Running Fit. Runners and walkers (including Nordic Walkers) can participate at 5K, 10K and 25K distances. The courses will be marked and timed. Call Running Fit, 231-932-5401 or 231-933-9242, both in Traverse City for more information on the event, whose proceeds benefit the system in the lovely northwestern part of Lower Michigan.

Ski Walking’s Pete Edwads offers FREE American Nordic Walking System instruction and FREE use of Swix or Exel one-piece Nordic Walking poles during the trail run. Edwards, the owner/founder/coach of SkiWalking, located in nearby Glen Arbor, is an enthusiastic promoter of Nordic Walking in general and one-piece poles in particular. Edwards can be reached at 877-SKIWALKING (877-754-9255) or

Birkie Trek Welcomes Nordic Walkers

Wisconsin footrace hospitable to Nordic Walkers

If this blog hadn’t been in “time out” for days — not for misbehaving but for a redesign — I would have posted a reminder about today’s (that is, September 25Birkie Trek in time for people to actually sign up — though I am sure that every Nordic Walker within reach of this race through the Wisconsin woods already knows about it and registered long ago.  But it is too late for 2010, so consider this post a tribute to the event, an offshoot of a classic American Birkebeiner cross-country ski race,  and the organizers and enthusiastic participants. And for Midwestern instructors who help students prepare for the 13.1-mile half-marathon and the shorter 5K fun run/walk, special kudos. You know who you are!

The Birkie Trek is a Nordic walking event where, say the organizers, the “use of poles is suggested” — and following the suggestion, of course, makes it a Nordic Walking event. This untimed walk or jog on the beautiful American Birkebeiner Trail,  is mowed, relatively smooth, hilly and challenging. The half-marathon is intended to be fun and challenging, without being competitive.  All participants receive a great looking Birkie Trail Run & Trek T-shirt.

Today’s weather in Cable, Wisconsin, is forecast to be sunny and in the mid-50s — perfect for a footrace. I hope everyone is having a terrifid time, and next year, I’ll post in plenty of time for out-of-staters to register.

Minnesota [Heart} Nordic Walkers

The second annual Expo is coming June 12 — and the second annual We Walk! marathon is past

North American Nordic Walking Expo

The second annual North American Nordic Walking Expo takes place on Saturday, June 12 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 Hyland Lake Park Preserve in Bloomington, a Twin Cities suburb. Great Lakes Nordic Walkers, an energetic consortium of local instructors and suppliers, and Nordic Walking North America, which organized the first Expo in California last year, have partnered to put on the 2010 Expo. It features an imposing list of exhibitors, including local groups, advocates and national/international Nordic Walking pole makers and even a high-profile shoe company, Skechers. Click on the exhibitor list and then onto the individual links to get an idea of the range represented this year.

This year’s Expo provides an unsurpassed opportunity for Nordic Walking enthusiasts to celebrate their passion, to try new equipment and to get free instruction and coaching from some of the top instructors on the continent. I love the fact that in addition to such long-time pole makers as Exel, LEKI and Swix, such newer, innovative brands as Boomyah and Gymstick are participating.

Tom Rutlin, who was developing Exerstrider poles for fitness walking even before the big European pole-makers brought Nordic Walking poles into the sports and fitness market, is hooking an accelerated Exercise Method Nordic Walking instructor training course onto to Expo weekend. It takes place  the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Bloomington on Sunday June 13, 1:00-5:00 p.m. It will earn new Nordic Walking instructors a Level 1 Certificate and those with prior Nordic Walking instruction certifications or Nordic walking program development experience (like YMCA programs), an Advanced EMNW Instructor certificate. Because of the accelerated format of this training, the fee is just $149 including instructional materials and one pair of OS2 or ACTIVATOR poles or $99 without poles. Space is limited; call 888-285-7392 to register.

We Walk! Marathon

The May 15, the second We Walk! Marathon took place on the Lake Wobegon Regional Trail, an old railbed, between Melrose and St. Joseph wasn’t on my radar screen in advance, or I would have posted news about it. If I had paid closer attention to blogs like Nordic Walk This Way, I would have known ahead of time. The event included  marathon, half marathon and 50km distances and was “created just for walkers by walkers,” according to the organizer, WalkOn! Minnesota, adding, “We welcome all walkers, including, but not limited to, fitness walkers, power walkers, nordic walkers, race walkers, hikers, walk/runners and even, gasp, even ordinary walkers.” Eighty walkers started and all 80 finished, including three Nordic Walkers — all three women and all in the half-marathon distance. Click here for results. They have already announced their next date: May 21, 2011.

Armed With Poles Team to Participate in Ottawa 10K

Canadian group takes up arms against cancer

After Cleo Thompson, the studio director of an Ottawa graphic design firm called Character Creative, lost her grandmother to cancer, her colleagues and friends enlisted Nordic Walking instructor, Anna Ekstandh of Outstride Nordic Walking Ottawa to form “a team of keen nordic walkers and motivated fundraisers” to join the battle against the disease that took yet another treasured. life. In 2009, the 30-member team, called Armed With Poles, raised what they call “an astonishing amount of money for the Ottawa Hospital Foundation’s campaign for the new cancer centre in Ottawa.”

Ekstrandh is a national North American Nordic Walking Association / International Nordic Walking Association national coach. She is currently training/coaching/sponsoring the group of 55 walkers who will tackle a 10km race that is part of Ottawa Race Weekend, May 29-30. Thanks to two Annas — Anna Ekstrandh and photographer Anna Epp — here are some photos of the team in its spiffy orange “uniforms” (i.e., T-shirts):

This year, the group has set a fundraising goal of at least $10,000 for the OHF, particularly cancer research. Ekstandh notes, “Last year, we were a force (of 30) to be reckoned with in our bright orange team shirts and armed with our nordic walking poles. We certainly got noticed. So, please join us this year to be part of this unique and motivated team!”

In my book, every one of them is a winner.

Aspen Uphill Event: Harbinger of Spring

Sun Dog’s K-9 Uphill is for fit snowshoers, runners and walkers

I am in no shape to hike or snowshoe 2,000 feet straight uphill at Aspen’s elevation. I couldn’t do that 15 years ago when Sun Dog’s K-9 Uphill,  subtitled “A Snowshoe Event for Dogs and their People,” was first run, and I certainly can’t do it now. But I think it’s a super event that benefits Roaring Fork Valley animal shelters — and some of the humans even use poles. The K-9 Uphill takes place on Buttermilk Mountain, the smallest of the Aspen area’s three ski venues and always the first to close. This year, it takes place on Saturday April 10 at 10:00 a.m. It marks the beginning of the end f snowshoe (and ski) season in Colorado and the time when the snow will soon melt off high-country recreation paths in the valleys and then from mountain slopes too.

Expect more than 300 canine/human teams in Recreational and Competitive divisions, but organizer Erik Skarvan of Sun Dog Athletics says that “most participants just take part in all the awesome K-9 energy.” Preregistration is $30 at at (enter “Sun Dog’s K-9 Uphill” in the search window) or stop at the Ute Mountaineer in downtown Aspen. Event-day registration is at Bump’s at the Buttermilk base. Fee includes a refueling “Power Station” at the summit Finish and Erik’s Epic Raffle and BBQ to follow at the base. For more information or to volunteer, contact Erik Skarvan at 970-925-1069 or

25 Nordic Walking Clinics for Vancouver’s Sun Run 10K

After the Olympics, Vancouver  focus shifts to events like the Sun Run — poles and all

I’m obsessively watching the Winter Olympics these days, so I have Vancouver on the brain. Before the Winter Games began and after they conclude, one of the biggest sports events around is the annual  10K Sun Run, an urban marathon through one of the world’s most wonderful cities. The 2010 Sun Run takes place on Sunday, May 9. Registration March 31 is CDN $40 and $45 thereafter.  Last year, of the 58,000-plus participants, about one-third were walkers. I have no idea what the percentage or Nordic Walkers was, but I do know it’s growing.

The Sun Run walkers have a separate start zone and are the last wave to cross the start line at approximately 9:30 to 9:45 a.m. Access to the zone is on a first-come, first-serve basis, and walkers are encouraged to arrive at the start area by 9:00 a.m. to ensure that you can access to start zone. Around the 3K to 4K point, a special walkers’ pit stop will be set up. With ChampionChip timing system, each participant’s time begins when s/he crosses. The Sun Run is known for its fast easy course interspersed with moderate hills. It that starts in downtown Vancouver and ends at BC Place Stadium, where the Olympic Opening Ceremony took place last Friday.

Nordic Walking Training Clinics

SportMedBC, a  not-for-profit society comprised of sport medical and paramedical practitioners that promotes leadership, public awareness and education in several areas including sports training, and Urban Poling, a Vancouver-based pole-maker and training/certification organization, partner in a 13-week series of clinics to help Nordic Walkers prepare for the 10K Sun Run. The training program is under the aegis of Lynn Kanuka, Olympic bronze medalist runner and SportMedBC’s RunWalk coach. Twenty-five clinics now accommodate Nordic Walkers up from just three in 2007. Click here for more information on in-person or online clinics (respectively $139 and $99). Clinic registration closes on February 26.