According to this article, a new study found that people in 32 countries are walking 10% faster than they did 10 years ago. Singaporeans walk the fastest, taking only 10.55 seconds to walk 60 feet of uncrowded sidewalk. (If my math is correct, which often isn't, that's under 15 minute pace, which is fast for an average speed.) New York is came in 8th, the 1st US city, in 12 seconds. Guangzhou, in China not far from Hong Kong, came in 4th. Yep, I cannot resist comparing. It's like a race no one knows they're competing in.
Earlier this morning, I overread in the Inquirer that Philly Mayor John Street is walking a marathon this weekend. I guess he's not going to be the starter for Broad Street this year, but hey, at least he made the paper this week. But really...woah! He plans to walk it in eight hours (18mm) but can do it in seven (16mm) if he didn't also sign up to walk a half marathon the next day. That's crazy to me. When I think about what intimidates me about running the marathon, it's not so much the distance of 26.2 miles, but rather the time spent doing it, be it three or five hours. And boredom. I can not imagine being on my feet for 7-8 hours and being away from people for that long every weekend just to train.
So, I did some googling on this whole long distance walking thing and found that there is a whole culture out there --- special walker equipment and gadgets, shoes, nutrition, training plans, regimen, and "races" and events, lots of websites devoted to this topic. According to www.marathonwalking.com, "70% of walkers surveryed stated a desire to train for and participate in a marathon or distance walking event." It turns out that this is a well established thing, with its own advocates and die-hards. I think it's great that anyone can do a marathon now, with so much support out there. I just had no idea before.