Korrika is the Basque name of a countrywide race organised by AEK, an organisation which teaches Basque and Basque literacy to adults.The objective of the event is to enhance awareness of Basque and raise funds to carry out this work on a daily basis in AEK study centres.
The first Korrika took place in 1980 and the course ran from Oñati (Gipuzkoa) to Bilbao (Bizkaia). Since then, the race has become one of the Basque Country’s major events in terms of number of participants. Over the past 32 years 17 Korrikas have been held.
This year the Korrika will begin on March 14th in Andoain and will last 11 days non-stop, covering 2000 km throughout the Basque Country. As in previous editions, hundreds of thousands of people of all ages and fitness levels will be taking part. A hollow baton is carried during the race and exchanges hands at each change of kilometre. Inside there is a message which will not be made public until the Korrika ends on March 24th in Baiona, when a well-known Basque personality will read it out loud.
Who organises Korrika?
AEK, Coordinator for Adult Literacy and Basque Promotion, is in charge of organising this event, with the objective of promoting and reviving the Basque language. To this end, the Coordinator works in the field of adult literacy in the Basque language. In addition to Basque classes in its academies or euskaltegis, AEK conducts research and teacher education courses, creates didactic materials, and organises cultural events and awareness campaigns in favour of the Basque language.
How has AEK evolved?
The first literacy courses for Basque-speaking adults were formed around 1965, the year of the first campaign to promote the recovery of Basque. Since then, AEK has continued in this field conducting many more such courses, but at the same time it has also promoted Basque classes for general public. Spreading the use of Basque has always been AEK’s objective and this led to the creation of its night schools or gau-eskolak. This whole movement was created with the support and encouragement of Euskaltzaindia, the Academy of the Basque Language.
Today AEK is one of the Basque Country’s most important organisations in the field of adult literacy and teaching in Basque, with some 100 academies and more than 500 teachers.