London, 17 October
The 70-year-old, who was born in Punjab and has been based in Ireland for more than 40 years, applied for a Guinness World Record after completing what he called his Earth walk – more than 40,075 kilometers or the equivalent of a circumference in less than 1,500 days – without leaving from his hometown of Limerick.
Vinod Bajai began his journey in August 2016 with the modest goal of losing some weight and preparing.
As he lost weight, his enthusiasm for walking only multiplied and forced him to plan various routes, including through indoor shopping malls, to overcome weather restrictions.
“During the first three months of my walk seven days a week, I lost 8 kg due to a deficit of 700 calories a day. Over the next six months, I lost another 12 kg. Losing weight was almost entirely related to walking, and I didn’t have to change many of my eating habits, ”said Bajaj.
“As a rule, I started walking early in the morning and finished mostly at two intervals, the first was always longer. Many times I did the whole walk in one try. The early start allowed me to finish early in the day, which gave me enough time for classes such as shopping, working in the bank, working at home and in the garden, ”he said.
A retired engineer and business consultant, he grew up in Chennai and moved to Scotland in 1975 for a master’s degree in management from Glasgow before the job moved him to Ireland 43 years ago, where he lives with his family in the suburbs of Castleroy. Limerick, for 36 years.
Local Irish and world news kept him company during his long walks, which fell within a radius of 10 km from Castleroy.
He also downloaded Pacer activity tracking software to his smartphone to fully track his progress, and his recordings marked his major milestones along the way.
“By the end of the first year, I had covered 7,600 km and, to my surprise, found that I had actually gone to India from Ireland. I kept walking, and by the end of the second year I had covered a total of 15,200 km and found that I had actually walked more than the circumference of the Moon (10,921 km). This motivated me further, and I decided to go around Mars (21,344 km), ”he recalls.
“The difference between a walk on Mars and Earth was about 19,000 km, and I knew it would not be easy. I kept walking to achieve my ultimate goal, ”he said, referring to his Earth, which he completed on September 21.
His application for the Guinness Book of Records is currently being considered as they assess whether he is doing a walk that covers the equivalent of the circumference of the Earth in 1496 days and 54,633,135 steps.
Meanwhile, his walking mission continues, despite the limitations of COVID-19, which means only that he has to repeat his routes several times a day to reach his daily walking goal.
It also fills itself with almonds, cashews, walnuts and bananas to maintain energy levels during walks. “My wife and brothers and sisters were not impressed at first, because they all felt that I was walking too much and it would worsen my health. Eventually, they were reluctant to come around, and now they hope that I will reduce my walk and will not try the second Earth walk counterclockwise, – he jokes.
While he waits for an answer to his potential world record, Bajaj seeks to spread the message that walking is the best form of exercise for any age – “better than running or jogging, and it’s free.”
After running 12 pairs of shoes, an average of three a year, during his Earth walk, his main advice is to invest in a good pair of walking shoes and socks.
And another piece of advice for like-minded people: “Loneliness will be the biggest challenge to walk, and it can be partially overcome by listening to music or podcasts. Make an umbrella your best friend so that no weather disrupts your walking plan, and self-motivation, discipline, consistency and time management are key. ” PTI