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Walkers pound the pavement on National Walking Week

April 1-7 is National Walking Week. Several local walking groups converged on Oregon City on Thursday for some fun, fitness, and friendship.

OREGON CITY, Ore. — This week's Let's Get Out There takes us to Oregon City, where several walking groups congregated to mark National Walking Day — although they're in it for the long-haul, not just the holiday.

April 1-7 is the American Volkssporting Association’s (AVA) National Walking Week. There were a few dozen walkers at the Oregon City gathering on Wednesday, determined to get some steps in.

“We sponsor non-competitive sports, mainly walking. We tend to do a five and a 10k walk and we'd like to do it at least twice a week. I lead one every Wednesday somewhere in the Portland-Vancouver area,” said 78-year-old Dick Baker, president of the Rose City Roamers.

Credit: Jon Goodwin, KGW

Wednesday’s meetup was at the Pioneer Community Center. Several local walking clubs had representatives at the meet-up — and they say fun, fitness, and friendship are at the “sole” of what they do.

“Anyone can come and join us … rain doesn't stop us. We have a lot of umbrellas inside-out,” said Baker, smiling.

Participants in Oregon City signed a registration waiver and split into groups to walk different distances. Walkers could choose from pre-mapped routes of five & 10-kilometer distances. For those who couldn’t make the full distance, the route came back by the community center, kind of like the ninth hole of a golf course.

“Today we're seeing Oregon City, going through the historic area first. Then now to the End of the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center and then the downtown area,” Baker said. “It's basically fun to walk in a group together and that's why people are doing this.”

Baker had both knees replaced about 15 years ago. Impressively, he said his longest comfortable distance these days is about a half-marathon.

Tom Baltus is the club president of the Vancouver Walking Club. He and his wife Louise moved to Camas, WA 11 years ago from New Mexico.

“Our best friends are from our walking program,” Baltus said. “We walk every day. But one of our motivations on this day is to create community visibility to encourage more to join us, and to enjoy the sport of walking and seeing our community on foot.”

Credit: Vancouver USA Walking Club

The combination of community and health benefits appeal to just about everyone involved. No matter your age or ability level, they would love to have you.

Richard and Rebecca Sandell walk every Wednesday with the group. Richard is nine months post-cardiac bypass. That’s motivation enough to keep it moving.

“It's been really good to be able to walk with people that enjoy doing the same thing. Get outside and know that we're doing something unhealthy for us and our bodies,” said Rebecca.

Baker echoed those sentiments: “Even if you're only out there for 15 minutes, it'll help your health.”

Let's Get Out there airs once a week on KGW's 4 p.m. newscast and The Good Stuff, which airs Monday-Thursday at 7 p.m. We're including viewer photos for this series. You can text your photos to 503-226-5088 or post them on the KGW Facebook page.

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