London, October 17
The 70-year-old, who was born in Punjab and has lived in Ireland for more than 40 years, has applied for the Guinness World Record for completing what he calls his Earth Walk – more than 40,075 kilometers or equivalent to the circumference of the Earth in 1,500 days – without leaving his hometown of Limerick.
Vinod Bajaj started his journey in August 2016 with a humble goal of losing his weight and getting fitter.
As he shed kilograms, his enthusiasm for walking increased and led him to list various routes, including via indoor malls, to overcome weather obstacles.
“I lost 8 kilos seven days a week for the first three months of walking due to a lack of 700 calories a day. Over the next six months, I lost another 12 pounds. The weight loss was almost due to walking and I did not have to change my eating habits much, ”said Bajaj.
“Usually, I started walking early in the morning, often ending at two intervals, the first always for a long time. I did the whole attempt several times in a single attempt. It allowed me to start from start to finish in the afternoon, which gave me a lot of time to do shopping, banking, house and garden work, ”he said.
Growing up in Chennai as a retired engineer and business consultant, he moved from Glasgow to Scotland in 1975 for senior management. Before moving to the Republic of Ireland 43 years ago, he lived with his family in the suburbs of Castletroy. Limerick, for 36 years.
Only local Irish and world news kept him company during his long hike, which fell within 10 km of Castletroy.
He also downloaded the Pacer Activity Tracker app on his smartphone to fully track his steps, and its recordings flagged his major milestones along the way.
“At the end of the first year I walked 7,600 km. To my surprise, in fact, I walked from Ireland to India. By the end of the second year, I walked a total of 15,200 km, in fact I was more than the circumference of the moon (10,921 km). It made me even more excited and I decided to walk the circumference of Mars (21,344 km), ”he recalled.
“The difference between the Mars Walk and the Earth Walk is about 19,000 km. I know it’s not easy. I continued to pursue my ultimate goal,” he says of his Earth Walk, which he completed on September 21.
His application is currently in process with a Guinness World Record for estimating whether his gait equals 54,633,135 steps, equivalent to the circumference of the earth in 1,496 days.
Meanwhile, his walking continues despite the COVID-19 locking obstacles, which means he has to redo his tracks a few times a day to reach his daily walking goal.
He fills himself with almonds, cashews, walnuts and bananas to boost energy levels while walking. “My wife and siblings weren’t initially impressed because they all realized that I would walk more and my health would suffer. Eventually, they came around reluctantly, and now I hope I will slow down my walk and not try a second earth walk, clockwise,” he jokes.
As he waits for an answer to his potential world record, he is eager to spread the message that walking is the best exercise for all ages – “better than running or jogging, it’s free”.
During his earth hiking, he ran an average of three to 12 pairs of shoes a year, so his central advice was to invest in a good pair of walking shoes and socks.
Also, other advice to fellow walkers: “Loneliness can be a huge walking challenge and can be overcome to some extent by listening to music or podcasts. Make the umbrella your best friend so that no weather can upset your walk, self-motivation, discipline, consistency and time management are important ”. PTI