No matter where you are in Australia or New Zealand, block out the last weekend in March 2021 and bring your entire family to Canberra, ACT, to take part in the Centenary Walking Festival for Peace.
You may even like to use the Rotary Aussie Peace Walk to garner patronage for your favourite Rotary program? Why not enter as an End Polio Now team or an Australian Rotary Health team? Perhaps a club team or a community team?
The event is a community service project for our centenary year. The organising committee comprises representatives from five Rotary clubs, one Rotaract club, and a Canberra walking club. A dozen Rotary clubs and a handful of Rotaract clubs will provide course marshalling and entertainment over the weekend.
“We aim to promote peace, while simultaneously encouraging people of all ages to take part in an activity that will help improve their physical and mental health,” said Peace Walk representative Chris Edwards, of the Rotary Club of Hall. “But we also want this to be a celebration of Rotary and our youth projects.”
His Excellency General the Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Retd), Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia, will officially open the walking festival on the evening of Friday, March 26, 2021, at the Canberra Rotary World Peace Bell. A black-tie Peace Dinner will follow, with guest speaker The Honourable Dr Brendan Nelson.
The walks begin on Saturday morning and conclude with a small closing ceremony on Sunday afternoon.
“We wanted to create an event that people of all ages can take part in together,” said Chris. “At its heart, community-building is about helping to create memorable shared experiences. We’ve planned this as an event a grandparent can equally take part in with a grandchild and leave a lasting memory. Ideally, we’d love to see whole families participating together.
“Peace grows out of understanding and understanding comes from compassionate communication. We want to encourage people of all nationalities and all generations to walk along together, to chat, make new friends and gain a greater understanding of each other.”
Although walking is easy for most people, it gets more challenging the further you go. So, to create an element of challenge for all ages and fitness levels, there are 7km, 12km, 21km, 24km and 42km options on offer. To earn the commemorative medal, participants must complete one walk on each day – one on Saturday and one on Sunday.
Old and young might decide that two 7km events are enough of a challenge, but the fittest can opt for a 42km walk on the Saturday followed by a 24km on Sunday. There is something for everyone, with paths around the lake for the shorter distances so that people in wheelchairs can also join the fun.
“We’d like to see participants of all ages and ethnic groups from around Australia and the world,” Chris said. “Unfortunately, because of COVID-19, we will have to settle for an Australia/New Zealand centenary celebration.”
The aim is to make the Rotary Aussie Peace Walk an annual event that focuses awareness on the importance of peace and community engagement, as well as mental and physical health.
Participants are encouraged to donate to the Rotary Give Every Child a Future project, with any profits from the Peace Walk distributed to those Rotary clubs that help make the event a success.
To get in touch or find out more information, visit AussiePeaceWalk.com.au