Category Archives: Racing

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.

Portland is a WOW for Walkers

Wonders of Walking promotes fitness walking in Oregon’s walker-friendly City of Roses

I just cyber-stumbled upon Wonders of Walking, a Portland, Oregon, organization that promotes fitness walking in general. According to the website, “Whether you are a competitive, fitness or social walker, Wonders of Walking events provide something for everyone. No matter what your motivation, Wonders of Walking offers you the opportunity to achieve and accomplish.”

Founded by Judy Heller, whose personality specialty is racewalking, the organization embraces all aspects of walking. She has won all sorts of awards for her efforts to promote health and fitness through walking. The Walk Club in conjunction with Oregon’s three REI stores organizes weekly group walks. Anyone, anywhere can access (and be inspired by) WOW’s cyber newsletter online. There is also a page with links to walking organizations and resources.
And there are classes and training programs too, including walking with poles. WOW’s next Nordic Walking class is mid-day Sunday, June 20 at Laurelhurst Park (SE Laurelhurst and SE Ankeny). The times appear to change from month to month. The class costs $35 plus $5 for the use of Nordic Walking poles. The Exerstrider logo appears with information on this class, so it’s a safe guess that these are the poles of choice and the instruction follows the Exerstride Method.

And WOW runs and supports training programs for various events, notably the Portland Marathon, the first marathon in the US to welcome participants with poles, and Portland’s inaugural half-marathon on the auspicious date of October 10, 2010. The half is sold out, but reportedly some slots remain through local charities; click here for details.

WOW’s next walk training session begins on June 13 and on October 10, but clearly, anyone entering Portland’s full or half will miss that last WOW training session. WOW’s 16-week program is not Nordic Walking-specific, but with just twice-monthly meetings and personal attention, it might well be adaptable. For any questions on walk training or or anything else WOW-related, phone 503-282-1677, Email or us the online form on WOW’s website.

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.

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.

2010 Beaver Creek Snowshoe Races Set

Colorado snowshoe race series with monthly events through March

The 13th annual Beaver Creek Adventure Series, said to be the largest annual snowshoe series of its kind in North America, will be run on three Sundays: January 10, February 7 and March 7, the final one designated as the annual Jeremy Wright North American Snowshoe Championships. In 2009, more than 1,500 snowshoers participated, including beginning snowshoers, world-class snowshoe athletes and kids of all ages. Each date includes a 5K Quest, a competitive 10K and a Kids’ 1K and also slopeside sponsor expos and post-event parties on the Beaver Creek plaza. The Beaver Creek Nordic Center and the Atlas Snow-Shoe Company will provide a limited number of free snowshoes demos and basic instruction to participants prior to each event, so that even newbies can participate.

An $80 pre-registration series pass available online until January 9 includes a complimentary custom participant gift. Pre-registration for a single race is $30 and closes at 5:00 p.m. the prior evening. Event day registration is also available for $35 starting at 9 a.m. on race day. The Kids’ 1K for children 12 years-of-age and younger is free for any child who is accompanied by a parent.

Nordic Walking Records and Races

I recently came across a blogsite with world rankings of Nordic Walkers of competitors. Ultra Nordic Walking/24 hours is Nordic Walking’s equivalent of the heavyweight division. The top five Nordic Walkers in terms of distances accomplished in 24 hours are:

1 Michael Epp (GER) 170.7 km WR (route 16 km) 2009
2 Bernabé Rodríguez (SPAIN, right) 166.060 km WR (track 400 m) 2008
3 Helmut Wimmer (AUT) 164.370 km (route 1.500m) 2006
4 Kari Heljasvaara (FIN) 156 km (route 9 km) 2006
5 Bernd Boigl (GER) 155.8 km (route) 2006

It is interesting that just one new 24-hour distance record has been set in 2009 (with only about seven weeks to go before New Year) o a 16-kilometer route. The runner-up Nordic Walked his way to second place on a 400-meter track. Nordic Walking for 24 hours is mind-boggling. Doing so on a 400-meter track is almost incomprehensible.


Nordic Walking Pull-Back in Portland

Fewer Nordic Walkers and less organizational support reported

I am killing time at a Mexican airport with squirrely Internet access. I’ve been catching up on Nordic Walking discussions on the NW eCommunity, including a rather dispiriting exchange about the 2009 Portland Marathon. It seems that only a dozen Nordic Walkers entered this walker-friendly footrace that not only was the first in North America to permit poles but also served as the U.S. Nordic Walking championships. Also, there doesn’t seem to have been any dedicated registration or schwag bag for Nordic Walkers. Much disappointment was expressed, especially since Nordic Walkers had come to expect so much from Portland. The discussion extended to whether a full marathon appeals to many Nordic Walkers, or whether a half-marathon is a more suitable distance for more people. To follow the discussion, go to the eCommunity site and find the Portland 2009 thread.

Marathon Training Schedule Available Online

Veteran coach lays out 10-week training from start to marathon distance

The next big pole-friendly marathon in North America is the Vancouver International Marathon, coming up on Sunday, May 3. If you haven’t started training yet, it’s too late now — except perhaps for the half-marathon. However, if you are considering events farther down the road, you might want to take a look at a guest post on’s walking site written recently by Pete Edwards. Edwards, developer of the SkiWalking system and a long-time skiing and running coach, outlined his approach to preparing for a Nordic Walking marathon. Click here for the entire post, which also summarizes the benefits of walking with poles from entry-level to elite marathoner.

The linchpin of Edwards’s race training advice and schedule, which includes cross-training, is:

“Long Slow Distance (LSD): The foundation for all endurance sports is LSD –
long slow distance. If you are focusing on a marathon, be sure to gradually
build up your miles and be sure to toss in less intense recovery days and a
recovery week once in a while. Please note that there is little you can do the
week or two prior to ‘crash course’ for a marathon. The foundation needs to be
thoughtfully planned out weeks in advance.”

Edwards goes on to outline “a simple 10-week road map for building up your mileage, without tearing you down.” He starts with walking three to four miles a day at the beginning of week one, peaking on one gruleing 10- to 15-mile Nordic Walking day and tapering off again as the marathon itself approaches. Click here for his full, day-by-day suggested training schedule.

For further reading on marathon training,’s Walking Guide, Wendy Baumgartner, assembled a list of books on that topic. Click here to see that list.

Joanie the Great on Nordic Walking

Joan Benoit Samuelson is one of running’s wonder women: first female Olympic gold medalist in the marathon (1984), two-time winner of the Boston Marathon once winner of the Chicago Marathon, founder of the Beach to Beacon 10K in her native Maine and now, at 51, she is training for the Olympic trials in August. She recently spoke at the Maine Running Company in Portland.

During a Q&A reported on the Run to Win blog, she was asked to compare walking and running. She replied, “When you are walking, you should walk for time and not for distance. The act of walking is more important than the speed of it. Nordic walking is a good introduction to nordic running, and is a great way to build some upper body strength that will equal your lower body strength and bring your body into balance. A body in balance is more efficient.”

There you have it — a voluntary acknowledgment of the role of Nordic Walking in training by one of America’s greatest runners.

21K Nordic Walk in the Marathon by the Sea

Coming right up (September 23) is the 13th annual Marathon by the Sea in scenic St. John, New Brunswick. Walkers — Nordic and otherwise — may enter the race’s customary distances, 5K, 10K, half-marathon and full marathon distances, and event organizers have scheduled the first 21K Nordic Walk. That, for those of us who live below the border and don’t automatically think metric, is a half-marathon. The entry fee for the marathon or half-marathon distances is CDN$75 until September 20 and $85 thereafter. For the shorter distances, it is CDN$45 and $55 for the 5K Run/Walk, and CDN $55 and CDN$65 for the 10K Run/Walk. There’s also a kids’ 2K race, a pasta party and a wellness expo. Register on line or contact the Marathon By The Sea, P O. Box 7001, Saint John, NB, Canada, E2L 4S4; 506-642-5555.

Most Marathon by the Sea participants registered long ago (early registration rates were in effect only until May 1, and the “standard” registration period ended on August 12. Therefore, T-shirts are not guaranteed for late registrants. I’ll try to find out how the dedicated Nordic Walking 21K went this year, post a report on that and also alert you earlier in ’08.

The Running Room, a chain of running, walking and fitness retailers across Canada (plus a few in the northern United States) is heavily involved in promoting the Marathon by the Sea and other running and walking races and fundraising events. Their website includes an extensive calendar of upcoming events, plus all sorts of photographs from past ones.