Fall in Portland is a beautiful thing. The air is crisp, the trees are blushing, the returning rain is momentarily regarded as pleasant and the sun, while setting a little earlier each night, still lingers long enough for an after-dinner stroll. In order to take advantage of this seasonal magic hour, the Academic and Student Rec Center is once again hosting Walktober, its month-long pedestrian promotional event that celebrates October as National Walking Month.
From Oct. 1–31, the Rec Center will invite the PSU community to saunter, stroll, hike and explore Portland on foot. “Walktober is a program designed to get people outdoors during the fall and meeting other PSU students interested in getting outdoors,” said Amy Cashman, the Rec Center’s Walktober intern. The challenge also encourages people to embrace healthy living by adding walking to their daily routines.
By registering for Walktober, participants can log hours spent walking for the entire month. It’s free to join, and people can operate as individuals or as a competitive team of four or more. Past competitions have seen whole residence halls pitted against one another and department faculty trying to out-walk an opposing department. Prizes are awarded based on the average number of hours logged by a team on the Walktober website.
Walktober will also include guided tours throughout the city, with stops at some of Portland’s most beautiful fall destinations. Every Monday will feature a “Walk of the Week,” starting at 11 a.m. in front of the Rec Center. This year’s tours will include strolling to the Farmers Market on the South Park Blocks, wandering along the waterfront and walking to Terwilliger Park.
A new walk that the Rec Center’s Fitness and Health Promotions Coordinator Erin Bransford is particularly excited about is the Starbucks walk. Created by Cashman, this walk will include stops at a multitude of Starbucks locations around campus, where participants will be served free samples of Starbucks’ fall items.
“We’ve got a lot of fun walks planned,” Cashman said. This also includes a trek designed by the Rec Center’s adventurous Outdoor Program staff.
To encourage participants to stay on track, the Walktober organizers will be offering incentives throughout the month, including several mini-competitions. For example, Walktober participants can post pictures taken while on their walks on the website’s “Walking Wall.”
“Each week we’ll have campus rec staff vote on which photo they like and they will win a prize,” Bransford said. “We want to keep people engaged.” Prizes include walk-centric gear like socks, pedometers and strobe lights, something that every Portland pedestrian should own for those early winter nights.
The Walktober kickoff party will be held at 8 a.m. and/or 11 a.m. on Oct. 1. The first 30 participants to arrive at the upper entrance of the Rec Center (by Café Yumm) will win free socks. And if you can’t make any of the guided walks, don’t worry; maps and information regarding all Walktober happenings will be emailed to participants, so you can explore the city at your leisure.
Registration is open now and closes Oct. 8. Participation is limited to 250 people, so register soon!
To register and view the event schedule, visit pdx.walktober.com. If you are interested in leading a guided walk, have suggestions for routes or would like more information, email Amy Cashman at firstname.lastname@example.org.