Walk a family tradition for Langley mom and daughter

A Sunday afternoon dousing didn’t keep Debbie Girard, her mom Dorothy Johnston, and several hundred others away from the Langley Walk.

The 52nd annual community event, which offered both a five-and a 10-kilometre route, started and finished from the Fort Langley National Historic Site.

It was organized jointly by the Township and City of Langley.

Despite the steady drizzle, this year’s walk had 520 people registered, including the mom and daughter who have made the walk a family tradition.

Girard said she and her mom are “addicted to getting out to it every year.”   

“She got my two sisters and I started in 1977, when I was 13 years old,” Girard recalled. “We make our spring plans around the walk.”  

Last year Girard was in New Brunswick, and she flew home for the walk, then back again to New Brunswick a few days afterwards.   

“In a previous year we had plans to go to Turks and Caicos, and we flew out the day after the walk, as I couldn’t miss it,” Girard added.

Since 1977, Girard only missed two walks, in 1985 and ’86.

“I am pretty sure my mom made it to them without me, but quite a tradition we have gotten ourselves in,” she said.

This Girard attended with her partner, Norm Richard, her mom, and her dad, Doug Johnston, who participated in the very first Langley Walk,

“In fact he ran it,” Girard said.

That was quite an undertaking, especially considering that the very first walk, held in 1963, was an 18-mile (29-kilometre) route through the countryside from Aldergrove to Fort Langley.

In its formative years, the walk exploded in popularity. By 1970, the annual event was drawing 5,000 participants, although the routes had shrunk to more modest proportions of 20 km or less.

Winners from the 2014 walk were:

Most Walkers from an Elementary School – Belmont Elementary;

Most Walkers from a Secondary School – Aldergrove Community Secondary;

Most Walkers from an Organization – Stepping Stones;

Most Walkers from a Family – Humberstone Family; and

Oldest Walkers – A. Myers (87 years old).

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