Saanich man conquers round-the-world odyssey

64-year-old walked more than 40,000 kilometres over past eight years

John Campbell laces up his runners to head out on another walk. Campbell recently achieved his goal of walking 40

For the past eight years, John Campbell has found the world waiting at his doorstep. Last week the wait was over and Campbell stepped over a hard-earned threshold.

The Saanich man conquered the goal he set for himself on New Year’s Day 2008, walking the 40,075 kilometres equivalent to a trip around the world.

“I always did it as a kid, since I was five years old I was always running or walking,” said the 64-year-old.

“I was kind of bugged by my relatives and friends saying why don’t you keep track of all this, you’re doing this every day. So on Jan. 1, 2008 I decided to keep track and I wrote it down every day.”

Campbell reached his goal Aug. 23 without any fanfare.

“People always say when you set a goal in life it’s the getting there that it’s all about, and then when you finally get there you go, ‘Hmmm, I’ve done it’.”

Campbell was planning to go out for a Sunday brunch with his family to celebrate his achievement (no word on whether he planned on walking there).

Campbell has been out, rain or shine, almost every day for the past eight years, most days walking about 16 to 18 kilometres.

“I did 367 miles (590 km) in July, which is the most I did in a month. The most I did in a day is 30 miles (48 km), I walked to all eight rec centres, in eight hours and four minutes. I give myself little challenges.”

One of his favourite walks is around Elk and Beaver Lake, and his mission followed him on holidays to Mexico and San Diego. He said his wife and family have been mainly supportive of his walk, although at times thought he was crazy.

“The wife says you can’t keep doing this everyday, you have to take a break every now and then.” He just shrugs. “It’s good for you.”

Campbell said he finds his walks relaxing and gives him time to think.

“The funny thing is the whole time I never got hobbled, and I play ball on two different teams, and I go to the gym everyday. I’ve had some minor things, but never stopped walking.”

Campbell says all that walking seems to have paid off, he never complains of aches and pains. “I’m very seldom tired and that’s what bugs people, they say you should be tired.”

His running shoes haven’t been so lucky.

“This is my 50th pair (of runners) I just put on today. I should have got a deal with a shoe company. After trying out all these different running shoes, I can safely say that some are better than the others.”

Now that he’s achieved his goal, the question is what comes next. “Just start again,” he says with a laugh.

By the end of last week he had gone about 50 kilometres. Only 40,000 and change to go.

 

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