I have to admit I did a better job walking than I did blogging.
My last update on my Amerithon Challenge was on July 17th. I started this walking challenge on August 1, 2019 – a challenge of walking the distance between San Francisco to Washington D.C. (3,521 miles). I hiked my miles mostly in Ohio, but I got a number of good hikes in West Virginia and some good vacation miles in Georgia. On my last blog post, I had accumulated 3,107 miles to ward the goal leaving 414 miles to the finish line.
I was anxious to see how far I was able to walk in a year (knowing that I would not be done). I took note of two specific dates: the end of 52 weeks and the end of 366 days (accounting for the leap year). At the end of 52 weeks, I was at 3,252.79 miles with just a little more than 268 miles left to go. Two days later, at the end of the day on July 31, I had added 18.4 more miles so I ended my full calendar year at 3,271.19 miles.
Week 53 (July 30- August 5) produced 58.98 miles. I began to see the end in sight and so I walked 61 miles in Week 54 (August 6-12), then 74.94 miles in Week 55, and completed my challenge in Week 56 with 73.29 miles. The breaking of the invisible tape was August 26, 2020. I was pretty excited. There was no crowd cheering, no confetti thrown in the air, no brass band blowing fanfares of victory, but I liked it better basking in the quietness of the day, in the outdoors with fresh air in my lungs and gratitude to God for giving me the health to accomplish the challenge. My wonderful daughter threw a family celebration party a few days later and I wore for medal and Amerithon shirt – great fun!
For those of you who like statistics, let me share some. If those who don’t like all the numbers, just skip to the last paragraph. Reviewing my walking distances, my longest daily walk was 18.4 miles on October 9. It was the only day I reached the 18-mile level. I had one 17-mile day (9/23); two 16-mile treks; five walks that were in the 15-mile range; nine hikes that were between 14 and 15 miles; and thirteen of my walks were in the 13-mile range. The rest of my walks were under 13. I had 20 zero days during the 56 weeks, averaged 9 miles a day and 63 miles a week. I averaged between 60 and 70 miles a week 23 times; I surpassed the 70-mile level during 13 weeks; and clipped the 80-mile marker once (80.6 miles) from March 26 to April 1. These are not great numbers and no records were broken, but for an old man with a receding, gray hairline. I was pleased.
For those who skipped the boring numbers, let me just conclude my thoughts with a brief reflection on the miles and hours spent during the last 56 weeks. I have seen each of the wonderful seasons of the year – the warm breezes of spring ushering in the new life after the biting winter temperatures and clouds often filled with snow; the hot summer suns demanding shorts and t-shirts and lots of drinking water while providing a glorious array of wild flowers and wild life; the coolness of fall with the kaleidoscope change of the leaves. I walked pre- and post-COVID. I listened to many audiobooks and listened to the sounds of the forest. I hiked alone, I walked with my family, I walked with my precious wife, and I even met a few folks along the way. I experienced the peace of God and was awed by His creation and grace.
Thanks for joining me on this challenge. What’s next? I am not sure yet, but I have some ideas. Maybe hiking 2,021 miles in 2021; maybe a 2,000 mile prayer walk; maybe a thru-hike of the Buckeye Trail; maybe finishing another book (or two); maybe all of the above plus some unknown adventures that God has planned for me.