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Looking for an extreme winter adventure? Join us for our 3rd annual reprise of Robert F. Kennedy's 50-Mile walk along the C&O Canal Saturday February 7, 2015 from Great Falls, Maryland to Harpers Ferry, West Virginia.

This year we are offering a fully supported walk with van service, sag stations and options to walk less than the 50. We have several great support plans for you to choose from if you wish to participate - including a full support package with overnight stay near the start and at the end of the walk in Harpers Ferry to just sag support and van service returning either Saturday night or Sunday morning. 

For the most part, the event will be similar to last year's. About 35-40 individuals participated last year. Weather conditions were somewhat challenging with temperatures between the low 20's to mid 30's and a bit of snow and ice on the ground in the northern trail section. Still, An impressive 60% complete the entire 50 mile walk. 

Background on the 50-Mile Walk

On February 9, 1963, Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy walked from Great Falls, Maryland to Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. The journey was initialized by his brother, President John F. Kennedy, who had reiterated an earlier 50 mile military walking challenge of President Teddy Roosevelt.

Now, we've recreated the same walk at the same place and roughly the same time each year. This event is organized by the FreeWalkers, a social network of long distance walkers, that hosts spectacularly challenging national and international walking events. This event is a special one since it commemorates the significance of the "50-mile hike" started in 1963. 

Bobby, ever the spark plug in an active administration, decided to take the challenge himself, long before the troops. So, three days after the initial idea was set in motion, the Attorney General set out with his staff on the most natural long trail in the area, the C&O Canal Towpath, and headed north to Harper's Ferry. It was more than they bargained for, and only one would make the distance. In dress Oxford shoes, no less. Guess who?

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Celebrating the Can-do Spirit of 1963 in 2013

We welcomed a group of 30+ long distance walkers and recreated this historic walk on Saturday, February 9, 2013 - exactly 50 years to the day when Bobby walked his famous 50 miles. There were Oxford dress shoes, office attire and many carrying "big sticks". It's fair to say the Kennedy spirit was palpably in the air!

That walk and a thirst for physical challenge led to a popular, short-lived U.S. fad walking extreme distances of up to 50 miles in 1963. 80 kilometer marches also resulted then in Europe and continue today. The "50-mile Walk" is yet a testament to fitness, endurance and determination. You may choose to join us next time, walk your own long distance walk elsewhere, or just follow along on this website as we get ready to again fulfill the challenge here and in Europe this spring and summer. 

park map of 50-mile walk

 

50-MKW Summary - Walking with Bobby

Distant Thoughts | Walking with Bobby Kennedy - Here's a post-event wrap up of the experience of creating the 2013 walk and how it rolled out. Its a story of inspiration, perspiration and a little luck from the spirit of the Kennedy's.

 

My first 100K or the value of training

on Sun, 12/01/2013 - 05:00

by Imants P.

Here's one walker's opinion on walking long distance events, including the 50-Mile Kennedy Walk 2013. Practice and conditioning are the key to a successful outcome, but results may vary...

The first time I heard about the Sierra Club One-Day-Hike (ODH) was in March of 2012 when I bumped into the organizer Mike Darzi on the Northwest Branch trail near Silver Spring, MD. In one minute Mike was able to convince me to try one of the ODH events. With relatively short training on top of my already decent shape I finished the 50K in good time.

The Summer of 62

on Thu, 01/17/2013 - 02:01

This is a post from John Brennan that appeared in 50Milehikers.ning.com - was originally posted as the "Summer of 62'" on Jan 5, 2010, Not sure the dating here because the 50-mile hike took off in 1963, but the article sure demonstrates the spirit of the times. Did California lead the way?

The Summer of '62?

What made the year especially memorable for me was a hike I took with two fellow thirteen-year old school friends. Mind you, this was no ordinary jaunt, and no ordinary event.

Walking 50 Miles: Tucson 1963

on Wed, 01/16/2013 - 22:36

Jim Magner, author of A Haunting Beauty: Vietnam Through the Eyes of an Artist (ahauntingbeauty.com), relives his 1963 experience walking 50 miles in Arizona during the 50-mile Hike craze. HIs  journey, told in 5 parts follows:

 Part One, the stage is set.

It was a Friday night in early February, 1963. My buddies Gene and Richard, and I, along with a couple of other guys who walked the dogs between races at “Greyhound Park,” drove to a canyon 20 miles northeast of Tucson in my 55 Ford convertible.