Opinion

Langley Walk a chance for politicians to 'walk the walk'

It took 50 years, but I finally got a chance to take part in the Langley Walk.

It’s been something I have wanted to do for more than 40 years. In my younger days, I had friends who took part and finished the 18-mile route with what appeared to be a minimum of problems. In those days, that seemed like an awfully long walk — and it is.

That didn’t bother me. In fact, in 1970 I did get to take part in a longer walk, one of the “Miles For Millions” walks that were a popular way to raise funds for world relief.

These walks were among the first of their type and were an outgrowth of 1960s idealism. But they weren’t the first organized long walk — the Langley Walk was definitely one of the first, and perhaps even the very first.

It didn’t raise money for any causes — its sole purpose was to get people out in the fresh air, get some exercise, enjoy a long walk, and get to know their community.

There are many events involving walking and running which raise funds for good causes. Relay For Life, which takes place in a few weeks at McLeod Athletic Park, is one of them. Miles For Millions is long gone, but the Langley Walk endures.

As the 1970s and 1980s went by, I was busy with many other things and didn’t think about taking part in the walk. But in the past 15 years or so, as each walk approached, I thought about taking part.

For various reasons, I didn’t. Usually it was because of some other engagement on the same day.

But on Sunday, there was no such excuse. I had pre-registered a few days earlier at the Timms Centre, and was ready and raring to go. The sunscreen was applied, good walking shoes were worn, and the water bottle was full.

It was a beautiful day.The sun was shining in the morning, and as walk time approached, some clouds were on the horizon. A portion of the walk was under cloud cover, which kept temperatures down and made for good walking conditions.

It wasn’t cold, but it wasn’t overly hot either. Temperatures were just right.

The seven-kilometre walk route started at McLeod, went along 56 Avenue to the Derek Doubleday Arboretum, with walkers then going across the field to the new Fraser Highway underpass. From there, walkers walked along the new separated walking and cycling path on the south side of the highway to Old Yale Road, then along it to 208 Street, and south on 208 to the Nicomekl walking trail. That trail was the most scenic and enjoyable part. Being in a wooded area with birds singing, and no noise from traffic, made it idyllic — much like it is in many rural corners of Langley.

Walkers then headed back to 208 Street via Douglas Crescent, and retraced their steps to McLeod.

It was great to see such co-operation between the City and Township in staging this event, and in actively taking part. Volunteers came from both municipalities, and many elected officials were on hand, with a number of them “walking the walk” instead of just “talking the talk.”

Isn’t that exactly what we want politicians to do more of?

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