Sandi and Bill Spielman have stepped out in Lincoln many times since they started volkswalking at the Cornhusker State Games in 1986. They laced up their walking shoes that first year because their son Scott was participating in the games, and he convinced them to find an event and join in. They kept walking after the games concluded.
“Every time we go on vacation, we volkswalk along the way,” said Sandi. That’s what makes volkswalking easy. “We don’t have to plan it around when (a club) is having an event.”
When they’re not on the road, the Spielmans take a walk through their neighborhood every morning.
They have managed to avoid injuries during their many walks. “We typically stumble but we never get hurt,” said Sandi. They’re both 71.
They go through two pairs of walking shoes per year.
When they go on trips to volkswalk, they’re together all the time. “We get along pretty good,” said Bill.
Sandi said when they’re walking together, they talk. Sandi admits, “I talk all the time.”
She likes to use the written directions for guidance, while her husband prefers the map. That caused a problem once when the text said to go one way, and the map said to go the other way.
“We have had discussions,” said Bill.
Sandi joked that they walk “for the wealth of it,” picking up cash they find along the way. It’s mostly pennies, but they did find a $10 bill once.
They usually walk without stopping. Sometimes they critique what they see, such as the local buildings. Bill said some walks are scenic, and others are historic. “It’s educational,” he said of volkswalking. They get to observe sites and interact with interesting people.
Sandi said Bill was dubious about the value of cellphones, smartphones and GPS to help on their walks, but Bill now admits they’ve helped quite a bit.
He also noted digital cameras have come in handy. But they don’t spend much time on photography. “We remember it,” explained Sandi.
They also skip the souvenirs, for the most part, although they do have many medals from past volkswalks.
They continue to plan volkswalks and love to promote the activity. Sandi said the number of clubs and participants is declining. She’d like to see more people take up the activity. She compared the 5K volkswalk to walking around the mall.