2013 New Albany Walking Classic

This morning is the ninth annual New Albany Walking Classic.  It’s the largest walking-only race in the United States and one of the signature events of Healthy New Albany.  You’ll see the intense, heel-toe, Olympic-style walkers bouncing along at breakneck pace, followed by the measured gait of dedicated walking club members, and finally the casual walkers out for a nice stroll past a golf course and through a pretty suburban neighborhood.

IMG_4855The course also goes right by our North of Woods neighborhood, which means we’re blocked in for the duration of the event.  On our walk this morning we saw that the signs were up, the orange directional cones were in place, and the guys scurrying around on golf carts were doing whatever it is they do.

This year — rather than runing the risk of another silly confrontation with overly officious Boy Scout leaders bent on preventing me from driving out of the neighborhood before the event even begins, as has happened in years past — I got up extra early, moved my car to a safe parking place away from the walking course, and walked back to feed the dogs and take them for our morning jaunt.

Let the Walking Classic begin!

Living With The Walking Classic

This morning is the New Albany Walking Classic.

That means that our neighborhood in the North of Woods section, which is right at the one-mile marker, will be blocked off and inaccessible to cars as thousands of walkers of different sizes, shapes, and capabilities walk past, take a tour around New Albany, and then come  back again.  We and our neighbors always wonder what would happen if someone had a medical issue or got an emergency call and had to leave during the Classic.  Fortunately, that hasn’t happened.  We just try to plan things so that we can hole up in our houses as the hordes power-walk past — and it does give us something to chat with the neighbors about.

There’s always lots of entertainment for the walkers:  the high school band, cheerleaders from nearby schools, a string quartet, and rock musicians all have their little performance areas set up.  Although it’s a bit inconvenient for some of us, it’s a good event for the community and brings a lot of people here.

The 2011 New Albany Walking Classic

Today was the seventh annual New Albany Walking Classic.  Billed as America’s largest walking only race, the event attracts thousands of entrants, from Olympic-caliber athletes to casual walkers looking to get some exercise.  This year, organizers added a half-marathon to the traditional 10K race distance.

This year, as always, the New Albany Walking Classic route went right past our neighborhood, which means trying to drive from our home to the New Albany Country Club to play golf is to be avoided — unless you want to be accosted by Boy Scout troop leaders in full uniform or New Albany Walking Classic officials.  Rather than run that risk, I donned my golf shoes and joined the walkers as I journeyed from our house over to the golf course.  Along the route, we were serenaded by some very fine chamber music from two members of the New Albany Symphony Orchestra and got to see an artist working on a painting.  Later on, members of a marching band provided the musical accompaniment.

Although the New Albany Walking Classic is an inconvenience for those of us who live in the North of Woods neighborhood, it is nice event for the community.  And this year, I even got in some walking of my own.

The New Albany Walking Classic

Today was the sixth annual New Albany Walking Classic.  It looked like the event had a big crowd.  I would know, because the course runs right past our neighborhood and winds around the golf course, where I spend my Sundays in futile desperation, hoping to get a favorable nod from the Golf Gods — and this year the Golf Gods have been filled with outright fury and harsh retribution about my pathetic excuse for a golf game.

The New Albany Walking Classic is a nice event that helps make New Albany a fine place to live.  I’m a walker, and I’m all for encouraging people to walk more.  Still, I think there are kinks to be worked out.  Our neighborhood, North of Woods, always is penned in by these events.  If you try to engage in some normal weekend suburban act — like driving your car — while the event is underway you are either blocked entirely or subjected to angry glances from participants as you try to navigate on what are supposed to be public roads.

Today the Classic started at 9 a.m., so I left home to drive to the New Albany Country Club at 8:50, even though my tee time wasn’t until 10:10.  I wanted to leave plenty of time to spare. Although I made it out of my neighborhood okay, I was blocked at one point by an earnest Boy Scout troop leader who tried to prevent me from driving to the golf club even though there was no walker within miles.  After I made it to the golf course they sent us off on the east nine, which required us to move through the teeth of the walkers and then play past some acid rock guitar group that was playing heavy metal at ear-splitting volume.  I’m sure the music helped motivate the walkers, but how about some consideration for the golfers — or for that matter, for the neighbors who would like to spend a quiet Sunday morning in their backyards?