Punjabi-Irish Octogenarian Aims for Guinness Record with “Double Earth Walk”

by Manjari Singh

In a remarkable feat of endurance and determination, 73-year-old Vinod Bajaj, originally hailing from Punjab, India, but a resident of Ireland for close to five decades, is poised to rewrite the record books with his audacious attempt at a double “Earth Walk.” Bajaj, a retired engineer and seasoned business consultant, is vying for a coveted spot in the Guinness World Records for covering an astounding cumulative distance of over 80,000 kilometers – an achievement equivalent to circumnavigating the Earth twice.

Bajaj recently submitted his application for the “greatest cumulative distance walked solo on foot,” surpassing his own record by completing the second Earth Walk in an impressive 1,114 days, a substantial 382 days less than his initial triumph in September 2020.

While Bajaj’s perseverance is undoubtedly awe-inspiring, it wasn’t without its fair share of skeptics, including his wife June. “My wife June was not very happy about my long walks every day as she felt I was doing too much and worried that it could be counter-productive to my health,” admits Bajaj from his residence in Limerick, Ireland.

Undeterred by concerns, Bajaj expresses his commitment to continue walking, albeit with a more measured approach. “I will continue to walk but reduce the distance and duration because walking has become my daily enjoyable routine,” he affirms.

Bajaj’s incredible journey commenced in August 2016 with a modest aim of shedding a few kilograms and improving his fitness. As the pounds melted away, his passion for walking intensified, prompting him to devise various routes, including navigating through indoor malls to overcome weather constraints.

Reflecting on his initial months of rigorous walking, Bajaj recounts, “During the first three months of my walking seven days a week, I lost 8 kg by having a deficit of 700 calories per day. Over the next six months, I lost a further 12 kg. The loss of weight was almost entirely due to walking, and I did not have to change much of my eating habits.”

Having spent his formative years in Chennai and pursued a Master’s in Management from Glasgow in 1975, Bajaj’s professional journey eventually led him to Ireland in 1984, where he has resided in Castletroy, a suburb of Limerick, for nearly four decades.

Currently awaiting approval from the Guinness World Record officials, Bajaj remains undeterred in his walking mission, eyeing an ambitious goal of covering 100,000 km. Having already worn out 21 pairs of shoes, he hopes to inspire individuals of all ages to embrace walking as a path to improved health.

Offering sage advice to fellow walking enthusiasts, Bajaj emphasizes the importance of discipline and self-motivation. “Make sure you walk continuously for at least 30 minutes at a time to be effective because discipline and self-motivation are very important,” he advises. “Set a daily goal and gradually improve it over a period of time; make sure you have the right clothes for the weather and invest in a good pair of runners and socks. Most importantly, listen to your body and seek advice if required.”

As Bajaj awaits confirmation of his Guinness World Record, his remarkable journey stands as a testament to the power of resilience and the boundless possibilities that can be achieved, even in the golden years of life.

Manjari Singh

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