A 70-year-old man who was born in Punjab and has lived in Ireland for over 40 years has applied for a Guinness World Record after completing his so-called Earth Walk, 40,075 kilometers, or the equivalent of the earth’s circumference in 1,500 days without leaving his hometown of Limerick.
Vinod Bajaj began his journey in August 2016 with the humble goal of shedding some weight and getting fitter.
As he lost the pounds, his enthusiasm for walking only multiplied and led him to plan various routes, including through shopping malls, to overcome weather restrictions.
During the first three months of walking seven days a week, I lost 8 kg from a deficit of 700 calories a day. In the next six months I lost another 12 kg. The weight loss was almost entirely due to walking and I didn’t have to make a lot of changes to my eating habits, said Mr. Bajaj.
I usually started running early in the morning and usually completed two intervals, the first always taking longer. There have been many times that I’ve done the entire walk in a single attempt. If I started early I could finish in the early afternoon, which gave me plenty of time to do things like shopping, banking, housework, and gardening, he said.
The retired engineer and business consultant grew up in Chennai and moved from Glasgow to Scotland for a Masters in Management in 1975 before moving to the Republic of Ireland 43 years ago where he lived with his family in Castletroy, a suburb of Limerick, for 36 years.
He also downloaded the Pacer Activity Tracker app on his smartphone to fully track his steps, and its records marked his key milestones along the way.
At the end of the first year I ran 7,600 km and to my surprise I found that I actually walked from Ireland to India. I kept walking and by the end of the second year I walked a total of 15,200 km and found that I was actually walking more than the circumference of the moon (10,921 km). That further motivated me and I decided to step on the circumference of Mars (21,344 km), he recalls.
The difference between the Mars Walk and the Earth Walk was about 19,000 km and I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. I kept going with the goal of reaching my final destination, he says, referring to his earth walk, which he completed on September 21st.
His application for the Guinness World Record is currently being processed as it is being checked whether his walk, which covers the equivalent of the earth’s circumference in 1,496 days and 54,633,135 steps, will make the cut.
In the meantime, his running mission continues despite the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, which just means he will have to repeat his routes a few times a day to reach his daily running goal.
It also fills up with almonds, cashews, walnuts, and bananas to help maintain energy levels during walks.
My wife and siblings were initially unimpressed as they all felt that I was walking too much and that it was affecting my health. Finally they came over reluctantly and are now hoping that I will reduce my gait and not try a second counter-clockwise earth walk, he jokes.
While waiting for an answer to his potential world record, Mr. Bajaj wants to get the message across that walking is the best form of exercise for all ages, “better than running or jogging and it’s free”.
After hitting 12 pairs of shoes on his Earth Walk, an average of three a year, his key advice is to invest in a good pair of walking shoes and socks.
His other advice for fellow hikers: loneliness will be the biggest challenge while walking and can be partially overcome by listening to music or podcasts. Make the umbrella your best friend so that no weather disturbs your hiking plan and self-motivation, discipline, consistency and time management are crucial.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and published from a syndicated feed.)