What Is the Longest Walk Ever Carried Out?
Walking is a big part of our lives, whether it is as a hobby at the weekends, crossing fields and moorlands or walking around factories following safety zoning and making use of aluminium walkways as part of our jobs. But what are the longest walks that people have ever carried out?
The Longest Group Walk: A Pilgrimage for Life
Titled A Walk of the People – A Pilgrim for Life, this massive effort was carried out between March 1984 and November of the following year. Peace activists organised this event, as a way of protesting the Cold War and calling for an end to it.
They started out in California and crossed the USA. Eight of the walkers then flew to Europe and walked Hungary before travelling to Moscow by train. The total length of their effort was 7,000 miles and it gained worldwide attention as well as attracting support from numerous celebrities and politicians.
It was followed by a Russian walk from St Petersburg to Moscow and has been credited with helping to ease the ending of the Cold War. The Great Peace March for Global Nuclear Disarmament was one of the similar events carried out in the years after the success of the Pilgrimage for Life.
The Longest Solo Walk: Jean Béliveau
Canadian businessman Jean Béliveau left Montreal in August 2000 with only a three-wheeled stroller for company. The stroller carried some first aid materials, food, a tent and a sleeping bag. For the next 11 years, he walked around the planet to show his support for the UN’s proclamation of peace and non-violence.
He covered over 46,000 miles at a rate of almost 350 miles a month, and had to replace his worn-out shoes 49 times as he crossed into 64 different countries across the continents. Along the way, he met Nelson Mandela while in South Africa, as well as three other winners of the Nobel Peace Prize.
Second place on this list goes to Mildred Norman, who walked about 43,500 miles under the name of Peace Pilgrim. This titanic effort was carried out between 1953 and 1981, initially as a way of speaking out against the Korean War. Her exact mileage isn’t recorded, but she calculated the total based on the fact that she wore out 29 pairs of walking shoes.
The Walk Across the Americas: George Meegan
This British adventurer did something incredible between 1977 and 1983, when he walked from the southernmost point of South America all the way up to the top of Alaska. The whole journey was over 19,000 miles and led to a book called The Longest Walk.
Along the way, he interacted with numerous indigenous communities and then become a bit of a celebrity upon his return, featuring on several TV guest shows.
The Longest Walk in Fiction
There have been some incredibly long walks in books and movies over the years. In the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Frodo and Sam walked 1,350 miles to destroy the ring, which has been calculated akin to going from London to Serbia.
Perhaps the least realistic trip was made by Forrest Gump, who ran rather than walking as he crossed the US five times to rack up 15,248 miles.