Share this story
The Langley Walk turns 50 this year, and organizers have worked very hard to make this a special commemoration.
The walk is planned for Sunday, starting at McLeod Athletic Park. It gets underway at 1:30 p.m., and unlike the early days, the “long course” is just seven kilometres.
Pre-registration will save time on walk day, and can be done at recreation centres or online through the City and Township’s recreation departments.
Back in 1963, recreation director Pete Swensson envisioned a community walk that would get people out of their homes and into various parts of Langley. It wasn’t designed to promote any specific cause, other than fitness and the natural beauty of Langley.
In those days, such a concept was novel. Many people thought that they would stay fit through their day-to-day activities, not fully realizing that a more sedentary lifestyle had health consequences. Others had little interest in fitness.
The early walks were all-day affairs, as a story by Times reporter Miranda Gathercole indicates. There were lots of sore feet and Band-aids were available at way stations.
But the walk had staying power. Some friendly competitions between schools and families developed, and many Langley residents couldn’t wait to collect the annual badge saying that he or she had completed the walk.
The fact that a walk to promote fitness and Langly has lasted for 50 years is a monument to both the idea and to the community. The fact that both City and Township co-operate in staging this event is remarkable, and much-appreciated.
Langley is a community that doesn’t let go of its traditions easily, and it is legendary for the participation rate of citizens in volunteer and non-profit activities. It is also a fit community. Many people move here because they value recreation and open spaces, and there are plenty of trails, hiking routes, paths, bike routes and other areas to enjoy.
Fifty years ago, there were very few of them. The much-vaunted regional parks that Langley residents enjoy didn’t exist, and there were few trails, even within existiong parks.
The Langley Walk is a celebration of a fit community, living in one of the most beautiful parts of the country. Being part of the 50th anniversary on Sunday is a way to celebrate that.