Thousands walk the Langley Walk

More than 2,000 walkers marched under the balloon arch that marked the start of the 50th annual Langley Walk at McLeod Athletic Park on Sunday, May 6. - Miranda GATHERCOLE/Langley Times
More than 2,000 walkers marched under the balloon arch that marked the start of the 50th annual Langley Walk at McLeod Athletic Park on Sunday, May 6.
— image credit: Miranda GATHERCOLE/Langley Times

The streets and pathways of Langley were trod by thousands of walkers on Sunday, as residents celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Langley Walk.

Organizers far surpassed their goal of 2,012 walkers with more than 2,100 making either a five or seven km km trek from McLeod Athletic Park, through the Derek Doubleday Arboretum and Nicomekl Park, and back to McLeod Park.

“It was awesome.

“I’ve been helping out with the walk since 2003 and I’ve never seen so many people out before,” said Barbara Andersen, Langley Walk organizer and community health and fitness programmer at the Township.

“We worked with a great volunteer committee who put so much time and energy into getting the word out.

“That really made the difference this year.”

It would have been a proud moment  for Pete Swensson, the parks and recreation director of the Township of Langley in the 1960s, who 50 years ago came up with the idea to host a walk to promote healthy living and family fun. It was the first of its kind in North America, and remains one of the only free walks not attached to a fundraiser.

With record number crowds and sponsors this year, Swensson’s vision remains as strong today as it was during the first walk in 1963.

“Because this is a community walk the focus is not on time, but on getting involved in the community, getting to know new trails and having fun with family, not on racing. There are plenty of other walks like that, but that’s not what we’re about,” Andersen said.

According to Shefali Raja, Community Health Specialist for Fraser Health, walking is one of the easiest ways to maintain good health.

The latest Canadian Community Health Survey shows that one in two adults are either overweight or obese and one-third of children are in the same category.

“Walking is a great way to incorporate physical activity into your life and one of the best ways to improve your and your family’s health — especially since it is something that is free, low impact and can be enjoyed alone or with others,” she said.

“Going for regular, brisk walks, in combination with healthy eating, can help you to stay within a healthy weight range, and have you looking and feeling good.”

As always, top prizes were awarded to schools with the most participants, families with the most participants, families with the craziest costumes and more. This year’s winners are:

Most walkers from an elementary school — Langley Fundamental Elementary;

Most walkers from a secondary school — R.E. Mountain Secondary;

Most walkers from an organization — Fraser Valley Regional Library;

Oldest Walker — Jean Buchanan, at 92 years old;

Most creatively dressed — the pirate group, Janine Sellers, Rick Dubrevil, Mason Dwyer, Leah Bradshaw and Xavier Clark-Mastin; and,

Most walkers from a family — the Humberstone family.

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