The New Albany Walking Club was established in 2003 by Phil Heit. Phil had been running marathons for over thirty years. He also had been very active in the running community, having directed a number of major races throughout Central Ohio. After many years running took its toll on his knees, Phil began to walk. He noticed that he could derive the same benefits walking as he could through running. Among these benefits were endurance training, speed workouts, racing, and time goals. The physical, mental, and social benefits also became evident. Thus, the idea of a club for walkers was conceived.
To Promote Health
The New Albany Walking Club was founded on the idea that health and wellness can be achieved through a planned walking program. The health benefits of walking are well-documented. As the number of individuals who run competitively has peaked, the number of walkers has steadily risen. A major reason for this increase is the awareness that walking is easier on the skeletal joints than is running. Yet the cardiovascular benefits of walking can equal those of running. In addition, the mental and emotional benefits of walking such as the reduction of stress and the mental "high" are ever present.
To Encourage a Supportive Environment
With an increasing number of people participating in everything from recreational walking to competitive walking events, there needs to be a common ground for sharing ideas about workouts, equipment, training, and a host of other issues. Runners have had this opportunity for many years but the growing number of walkers have not had a commensurate venue. The New Albany Walking Club was founded to help address these deficiencies. Through the activities of the New Albany Walking Club, the many aspects of walking-related issues can be addressed in a cohesive, organized fashion resulting in a supporting and nurturing environment for the Central Ohio walking community.
To Elevate the Status of Walking
One fact is evident – the number of people starting to walk for recreation as well as for competition is on the increase. Yet the opportunities for walkers to have their own races or for walking to have a significant presence within divisions of running events such as in marathons is severely lacking. Many walkers will not enter running races because they may feel intimidated. Many races that have walking divisions do not provide results or awards for the walkers. Further, many individuals feel walking is not a highly thought of activity or it is perceived as an activity for older adults. The New Albany Walking Club seeks to address these actions and perceptions by improving the status of walking through walking only races (see the New Albany Walking Classic), group walks, organized training programs for those looking to participate in races such as the Columbus Marathon, and health and training seminars.