March 3, 2024

People Marsh comes to Runnels County

People Marsh comes to Runnels County

Runnels County, Texas. – Popular sports are coming to Runnels County! The word march of the people means “the march of the peoples”. It’s a fun outing for people of all ages, not a picnic.

If you’ve traveled or lived in Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein, or Switzerland, you’ve likely heard of the People’s March. Churches across Europe host local events on Saturday mornings. Usually the road is a leisurely 5 km or 10 km. Some people choose to walk down the street. In Europe, there is a small entrance fee which is used to purchase medals or ceramic plates for participants while participants have the choice they want.

The sport began in the mid-sixties. By 1968, the marches had gained momentum, leading to the formation of an umbrella organization, the International Federation of Popular Sports (IVV). IVV is based in Altötting, Germany (Bavaria). You currently have 10,000,000 participants in 7,500 events across Europe. As of 2019, IVV members include 29 National Societies (Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Korea and Luxembourg). Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland/Liechtenstein, South Tyrol, Taiwan and USA) plus 12 other “Direct Members” from Andorra, Cape Verde, Croatia, Ireland, Indonesia, Lithuania, New Zealand, Russia, Serbia, Slovenia and Spain – 40 countries out of 4,000 local national athletes across the world. Members are loosely divided into three geographic groups: IVV-Europe, IVV-Asia, and IVV-America.

A group in the United States established the American Volkswagen Association (AVA) many years ago. The events grew in popularity, with some rallies attracting thousands of people. This includes everyone from the elderly to people who push their kids into the strollers to the joggers mentioned above. It’s as competitive or as leisurely as you want it to be.

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There are currently plans to hold rallies in every community around Runnels County. The branch elected officials and did the paperwork to formally establish the chapter under the AVA Act. The deputy head of the branch is Dr. Bradley Bondrant. Not only did he help find the AVA branch, but he also led the Health and Wellness Alliance for Runnels Count (HAWC). HAWC sees grassroots rallies as a natural progression to help the health of the community.

Hiking Club of America

The American Volkssport Association (AVA) is a non-competitive sports organization committed to fun, fitness and friendship.

Health is one aspect that AVA strives for:

Mission Statement: To promote and organize non-competitive fitness activities that promote lifelong fun, fitness and friendship for all ages and abilities.

Vision statement: Increasingly involving Americans in lifelong walking and other non-competitive fitness activities.

Statement of Values: 1) Health and Safety: 2) Volunteering and Public Service: 3) Non-competitive: Inclusive: 4) Adventure and camaraderie: 5) Environmental responsibility: 6) Transparency and accountability.

There are currently 198 active clubs in the United States, running 2,232 events annually, according to the AVA website (

HAWC, AVA’s Partnership with the Community

HAWC works with many local companies and groups to help with health screenings, diabetes testing supplies, women’s mammograms, and more. The HAWC Board of Directors has applied to the United Way for funding for a full-time management position.

HAWC would like to find a company or organization that sponsors local events with popular rallies. This enables HAWC to award medals to every Volksmarch participant. The medals will be designed by the HAWC Board of Directors and the sponsor’s name will be on each medal. You plan to host events in a different town/town in Runnels County every Saturday morning.

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For more information on HAWC, folk rallies, or sponsoring an event/parade, you can contact Candi Pfluger at [email protected] Or Bill Hancock under [email protected] Send an email.