George Doi tends to go through several walking shoes a year, wearing them out in as little as three or four months.
“I enjoy brisk walking,” the 88-year-old Langley, BC, resident, a father of two and grandfather of four, explained.
“Not slow walking, brisk walking.”
That may be an understatement.
Doi just celebrated a singular accomplishment by completing a virtual walk around the world.
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His affection for long walks probably all began when he was 15, and working at a logging camp.
When an impatient Doi heard the Greyhound bus was going to be several hours late, he set out, on foot.
“I wanted to be home before the bus arrived,” he recalled.
He achieved his goal, “even with all my blisters.”
After that, long, quick walks became a habit.
Recently, when Doi dropped his van off at a shop in Surrey, he made the trip home on foot.
“The guy [shop manager] told me, ‘we have a courtesy car.” I said, ‘I’d rather walk home.’ He thought that was crazy.”
After Doi wound up a career with what was then known as the B.C. Forest Service he began making long, brisk strolls through his community.
“I didn’t have a goal when I retired,” Doi recalled, reasoning that setting targets might take the fun out of it.
But he did keep track of his mileage, and one day, realized he was nearing an interesting milestone.
If he kept it up, he would have walked a distance equivalent to the circumference of the earth – 24,901 miles or 40,075 kilometres.
“In 2018, I decided that would be my goal,” Doi related.
He upped his pace, walking twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening, four miles each time.
On Sept. 17, about 21 years after he began, he achieved his goal.
“I was thinking about having some champagne, [but] I’m a low-key fellow,” Doi confided.
He has scaled back his walking since he achieved his goal, to a single 3.2 round-trip from his townhouse.
“I’m not going to do it again,” he laughed.