This time, Karen Ayres (far right) had company when she went on the virtual version of the Langley Walk. She took a selfie with (from left) Simon Ayres, Laura Ayres and Colin Ayres. “I usually do solo walks but this year, due to Covid, everyone needed to get out of the house so they joined me with the walk,” she explained. (Courtesy Karen Ayres)

Virtual Langley Walk was a family affair for Brookswood resident

Usually, Karen Ayres goes it alone, but this year, thanks to COVID-induced boredom, she had company

After Brookswood resident Karen Ayres met a personal goal by completing her 10th annual Langley Walk last year, she decided to keep going.

“I walk a lot,” she told the Langley Advance Times.

But this year, Ayres’ 11th Langley Walk was a different kind of experience, the result of a COVID-19 ban on large groups that led organizers of the annual event to stage a virtual version.

People were encouraged to take to treadmills, do laps around the yard, or walk their neighbourhood or local park trails to participate and post photos with the hashtag #LangleyWalk.

READ MORE: 5K challenge launched for physically distant Langley Walk

Over the previous 10 years of participating, Ayres has done the walk by herself, she confided.

“I’ve always done it alone because my family won’t come with me,” she laughed.

“I just put my headset on and go.”

But this year, her whole family joined her.

“I usually do solo walks, but this year, due to Covid, everyone needed to get out of the house so they joined me with the walk,” Ayres explained.

Participants could walk on their own, or with members of their own household to complete the 5K, either in one go, or broken up into several sessions.

Ayres opted to split her 5K into two walks on different days.

“It was kind of nice,” as far as Ayres was concerned.

“It’s good to get back to nature.”

READ ALSO: Playgrounds, parkour site, and Langley City hall will partially reopen

Langley City recreation supervisor Tera Edell said more than 150 people signed up for the virtual walk, about a quarter of the usual number.

“That’s not too bad, under the circumstances,” Edell commented.

Edell said every neighborhood in the City and Township was represented, and some participants who normally would drive in from other communities did the walk near the homes.

“People from Pitt Meadows, Chilliwack and Salmon Arm,” Edell related.

Based on photos submitted, Edell said many walked with immediate family, in small groups.

She said the virtual walk might continue to be an option once large gatherings are allowed again.

Residents had until Sunday, May 31 to complete the walk.

The first walkers to email with their contact information, mailing address, and participant list will be sent a 2020 Langley Walk commemorative crest in the mail.

Langley Walk was started in 1963 by Pete Swensson, Langley Township’s first recreation director, who was passionate about getting people involved in fitness.

His first walk drew about 500 people.

It hit a peak in the 1970s, attracting more than 5,000 people.

More recently, the walk was attracting between 750 to 1,000 people a year.

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