Thursday, August 11, 2005


First Nordic Walking Category in a U.S. Marathon (26.2 miles)

As someone who has 'run' the classic marathon distance (26.2 miles) on four occasions, including 3 Londons, I always say that taking part in a classic marathon is something that everyone should have the opportunity to try at least once in their life.

It's a very special feeling to cross that finish line and be able to say you have completed the classic distance. The good news is that Marathons are no longer the exclusive domain of runners and joggers. Over recent years a growing number of entries have come from people who have no intention of running or jogging, their intention is to simply 'walk' the distance.

On Oct 9th 2005, in Portland, Oregan, USA, Nordic Walkers have the opportunity to take part in a classic marathon event (26.2 miles) that includes (for the first time in the US) an 'official' Nordic Walking catogory !

My thanks to Gene Verel from 'Leki USA' for the following information:

Nordic Walking will make its marathon debut Oct. 9, 2005 at the Portland Marathon in Portland, Oregan with Nordic Walking pole manufacturer Leki (USA) an official sponsor of the new category.

The Portland Marathon already ranks among the most walker-friendly marathons in the United States with 28 percent of last year's finishers being walkers.

The 7 a.m. starting gun of the 34th running of the Portland Marathon will kick off the first event in the country to support walkers using Nordic Walking poles.

"Our company is honored to partner with a high-profile event like the Portland Marathon, which attracts a high concentration of dedicated walkers," said LEKI USA vice president Greg Wozer. "This is the perfect venue to introduce Nordic Walking to a large number of people."

The Portland Marathon, consistently ranked among the country's top marathons, prides itself on being a people's event, which does not pay prize or appearance money to elite competitors. Last year, the Portland Marathon raised more then $2 million for charity.

Walkers make up a growing segment of the Portland entrants. In 1989, only about 5 percent of participants - 300 of 5,700 were walkers. Last year, 2,412 of 8,530 finishers were walkers.

"Walkers are the future," Les Smith, race director of the Portland Marathon, told Runner's World magazine in Nov. 2004. "It's not a marathon anymore; it's a multifaceted event. And the people who do our races are not just runners. They're participants. We welcome them."

Nordic Walking News Editor - David Downer says...

"Your current level of fitness and the distances you are able to walk right now will dictate whether you have enough preparation time left to take part in this years event.

Having an exercise goal to aim for is an excellent thing to have. Even if this years event (just over 8 weeks away) does not give you enough time to properly prepare and train, a great goal would be to set your heart on taking part in the 2006 event.

Remember - If you can walk you can Nordic Walk and if you can walk 1 mile with enough practice and proper training a goal of walking a 26.2 mile marathon in over a years time is an achievable goal for so many people".

Note: If you are not used to exercising you are advised to consult with your Physician before you start. If you are planning to take part in a marathon you should follow a suitable training program.

For more details of the Portland Marathon contact:
Gene Elizabeth Verel
800-255-9982 x17

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