About

 

The Kennedy 50-Mile Walk is a unique annual reprise of an endurance feat accomplished by Attorney General, Robert F. Kennedy in February 1963. At the time, his brother, President, John F. Kennedy, who emphasized physical fitness’ importance, challenged the U.S. military to a 50-mile march. JFK was emulating President Theodore Roosevelt, who issued a similar directive in 1908. JFK made it known that his White House staff should lead this challenge by example. So, his brother, Attorney General, Robert F. Kennedy, no better prepared than the thousands who would later take up the challenge, was among the first to set the example. Many followed

The FreeWalkers began honoring the feat and the ideals 50 years later by creating the Kennedy 50-Mile Walk, a 1-day walk on the same ground, at approximately the same time of the year. JFK motivated us and RFK inspired us to do more than we thought we could by testing our limits

 
 
 Larkspur, CA high school students trying the 50-mile hike in 1963 - Source: NY Times

Larkspur, CA high school students trying the 50-mile hike in 1963 - Source: NY Times

 

Even by today's standards, it was an impressive feat. Walking 50 miles without any preparation, simply set an example for others to follow

Bobby walked for nearly 18 hours in a pair of dress shoes in 20 degree weather, perhaps under some of the worst conditions to attempt such a feat. Such personal heroics spawned a 50-mile walk fad, an eye-opening example of what was humanly possible if more of us used our imagination and pushed ourselves to the limit. This same New Frontier, can-do era would lead to several other impressive innovations like space travel.

50milehikephenom.jpg

The 50-Mile Hike 

Read all about the walking challenge that captured the imagination of the country and the world.


 
 
 Bobby on the C&O Canal with beloved pet Brumis. Photo: Life Magazine - February 22, 1963.

Bobby on the C&O Canal with beloved pet Brumis. Photo: Life Magazine - February 22, 1963.

 Bobby on the C&O Canal towpath.

Bobby on the C&O Canal towpath.

 Bobby and staff plotting our a route.

Bobby and staff plotting our a route.

 Minneapolis hiking club taking a customary trek inspired by the walking craze. 

Minneapolis hiking club taking a customary trek inspired by the walking craze. 

 

That memory of time past calls for us to test our limits and set an example for others to follow.

Yes, it was an odd challenge then. And, it may be that today too. It tests one's physical and mental capabilities. The event takes place in the middle of winter on the somewhat deserted C&O Canal towpath just as Bobby had walked it. Fortunately, you'll have first-rate support provided by FreeWalkers - from food, drink, and first-aid to ride support for those that make it and those that can't.


 
 At Camp David getting admiration and a foot rub from wife Ethel. Bobby remarked, "I'm a little stiff but that's natural having never walked 50 miles before." Photo: Life Magazine - February 22, 1963.

At Camp David getting admiration and a foot rub from wife Ethel. Bobby remarked, "I'm a little stiff but that's natural having never walked 50 miles before." Photo: Life Magazine - February 22, 1963.

 

Experience the history, hardship and glory of walking 50-miles in one day at our 5th annual reprise of the 50-Mile Hike.

Each year we begin our commemorative walk just as Bobby did in 1963. We select a Saturday in early February and take the route he was said to have walked.

We start by gathering together in the middle of the night. Our team provides the best in food, liquids, shelter, first-aid and mobile support, along with pre and post event meals and discount lodging options. Several transportation options to the start and from the finish are included with this event. We even provide pick-up relief if you reach your limit. And, all participants earn a commemorative long-sleeve shirt and dog tag.

Here's what last year's participants said about the event.


 
 Group photo at start of 50-Mile Kennedy Walk 2018.

Group photo at start of 50-Mile Kennedy Walk 2018.