“Walk away your ills, instead of taking pills.”
That was the motto of Pete Swensson, the founder of the Langley Walk.
A man before his time, Swensson was hired as Langley’s Recreation Director in 1962. He was a strong believer in the benefits of physical activity.
In the early 1960s, fitness first became a government concern, when American President John F. Kennedy established the President’s Council on Physical Fitness in 1963 and stated that, “Our growing softness, our increasing lack of physical fitness, is a menace to our security.”
In 1963, Swensson established the Langley Walk so that Langley citizens would participate in a fun community activity and have an attainable fitness goal. The first walk, held nearly half a century ago, covered a path from Aldergrove Park to River Road to Fort Langley, then on to City Park. It was 18 miles long — 28 kms, seven km longer than a half marathon.
The Langley Walk is a free community event that encourages families, businesses, schools, teams, and organizations to get outside for a walk through Langley. For the last 48 years, the Walk route has moved around the Langleys, alternating between Township and City locations.
The 2011 Langley Walk will take place on Sunday, May 1 and will start and end at the George Preston Recreation Centre, 20699 42 Ave. The route is 5 km long. To do a 10 km walk, complete the course twice.
The Langley Walk is absolutely free for everyone, and dogs are allowed, but must be on a leash.
Contact recreation offices in the Township and City to register. Those who pre-register at any Langley community recreation centre are entered for a chance to win a Township three-month facility pass, or a City family season pool pass.
The first 100 people to register will receive a gift from Walk sponsor, Sudden Impact.
The first 1,000 finishers of the Langley Walk will receive a commemorative crest to add to their collection or to start a collection.
Trophies will be given out in the following categories:
• most walkers from an elementary school;
• Most walkers from a secondary school;
• the oldest walker;
• most walkers from an organization;
• most walkers from a family, and
• most creatively dressed walker.
There will be family oriented entertainment and activities from noon to 3 p.m. and along the Walk route.