A walk inspired by the London 2012 Games

With the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games coming to the UK and to London, perhaps for the only time in most people's walking lifetime, the LDWA has been keen to engage with the 2012 Games to build upon shared objectives and values. For the first time in history the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games has invited non-commercial organisations to be part of the 2012 Games through its Inspire programme. The 2012 Games Inspire programme looks for exceptional projects that are inspired by the 2012 Games to receive its Inspire mark.

In the words of Seb Coe, LOCOG Chair: 'In our bid to host the 2012 Games, our promise was and still is to make our Games accessible to everyone'. Through Inspire, London 2012 invites non-commercial organisations to be part of it: to reach new audiences, and inspire change in sport and recreation and volunteering. Inspire is open to non-commercial projects that are genuinely inspired and energised by the Games, well-planned and managed, fully funded, participative and accessible and free from commercial support and association.

Following assessment by the 2012 Games against Inspire criteria and alignment with Olympic and Paralympic values, the LDWA has been awarded the Inspire mark for its LDWA GAMES 100 project, with the aims of increasing participation in its grass-roots activity of recreational walking, helping to deliver a sustainable Games, providing community legacy benefits, and encouraging new volunteering. These aims are in line with LDWA objectives, its values and its non-competitive ethic set by its Founders, the latter appropriate in 2012, when the LDWA celebrates 40 years since its foundation. The project is included in the full list of Inspire projects here under the London projects and received the Inspire mark (use of this ends in July so the Inspire logo is no longer shown on this page).

The LDWA ethos, demonstrated through its endurance events such as the 100, is also consistent with the Olympic values of excellence, friendship and respect and the Paralympic values of courage, determination, inspiration and equality.

At the same time the LDWA GAMES 100 project will seek to help with achieving 2012 Games objectives in the 'green transport' area by promoting walking in the context of the Games venues to the wider public. In attending 2012 Games events, spectators and the large Games workforce will all need to walk, or use disabled access, often for significant distances, with the sizes of the Games venues and distances from public transport hubs.

The wider LDWA GAMES 100 project has four threads:

  • Firstly, its prime-moving element is the 100-mile endurance walk event itself, linking 2012 Games venues, using walkways that spectators will use, many of which are seeing improvements through the 2012 Games in the Games run up. The endurance walking event will be operated under normal LDWA rules with entries open publicly, and with the usual low event costs helping with accessibility across income groups. Perhaps uniquely the route includes a major city, starting in the London Olympic Host Boroughs.
  • Secondly, as part of a 2012 Games legacy and to provide a wide participation in the project to those not aspiring or able to complete the 100-mile walk in 2012 in a single walk, or too young to enter the 100, the LDWA Games 100 walk route will join the UK's family of promoted long distance footpaths that are open to anyone to walk free, in their own way at any time. The LDWA is establishing the route as an LDP with a free downloadable or low cost publication that will also inform about the many heritage sites and landscapes encountered along the route. This will provide a 2012 Games-linked legacy resource for walk leaders, ranging from walking clubs to health walks.
  • Thirdly a programme of publicly available free short walks, that include parts of the 100-mile route focused on the Games links, will be offered prior to the Games by members of the participating LDWA groups.  As well as other potential new members, some of whom may aspire to complete future 100s, these walks will seek to attract participation by LDWA members' friends and family who may be interested in volunteering in the LDWA, or just want to celebrate the LDWA's own 40th anniversary together. Some of these walks will be able to link in other Olympic venues that the 100-mile route cannot reach, and also sites with Olympic history from the past Olympic Games in the UK in 1908 and 1948. Participants will be helped in making recreational walking a continuing part of their lives in a way that is relevant and accessible to them, through suitable information, whether as LDWA walkers, trail walkers on the UK's extensive network that the LDWA already promotes to the public, or with other walking programmes or groups.
  • Finally, the project will aim to involve both LDWA members and others new to volunteering, not only in leading walks, but also in helping at checkpoints and in LDWA volunteer support roles where endurance and fitness is not a pre-requisite These include event marshalling and information provision for LDPs and events, where many members and families have long participated, and without which LDWA services would not be possible at the very low costs it can offer, or for free. Online volunteering links will help such new volunteers to connect, for example from communities en route.



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