Walktober Profile: @BobV

You may have heard that Walktober 2017 gets underway October 1st, 2017. We encourage you to sign up (see our homepage for instructions).

If you participated in Walktober 2016, you may have noticed that one participant in particular walked an especially impressive number of steps. @BobV won the “High-Stepper” prize for walking a total of 839,419 steps throughout the month.

We interviewed him, hoping to learn his secrets.

WOV: What is your main motivation for walking?

@BobV: The simple answer is that I enjoy walking but that may be a result of knowing that walking is a great way to keep fit.  We gave up our car when we moved to Victoria 9 years ago so almost all our every day trips are on foot.

WOV: What walkability improvements would you most like to see in your neighbourhood or in Greater Victoria more generally?

@BobV: We are lucky to live in James Bay, perhaps one of the most walkable neighbourhoods in Canada.  A recent survey undertaken by the James Bay Neighbourhood Association found that 74% of trips within the neighbourhood are made on foot.  With this high number of walkers we need to have as much commitment to pedestrian safety as there currently is to cyclist safety. Top of my list would be a 30 km/h speed limit within residential neighbourhoods followed by additional and safer (and well maintained!) pedestrian crossings.

WOV: Last year you walked from Sidney to James Bay in one day! What’s your advice for people who want to start walking long distances?

@BobV: Actually, my walk started at Swartz Bay, something I had planned to do for some time – it was always to be next week, or when the weather improved or was not too hot; Walktober provided the incentive to do it now!  So, my advice would be: start the journey today, get a pedometer and gradually build up to a weekly average of at least 10,000 steps a day; don’t use the car for short distances and walk all or at least part of the way to work. Join a walking group, Victoria has several for all levels.

Walkers at all levels walk the Victoria half marathon in October so there’s absolutely no need to be concerned about your ability, sign up today!  And, of course, participation in Walktober is a great motivator.

WOV: What’s a walking highlight for you? Have you ever done a pilgrimage trail or other long-distance walking trip? A really scenic walk you would recommend to others?

@BobV: My longest recent one-day walk was the 55km Saints’ Way in Cornwall, UK. We have family in the UK and often visit Cornwall in the South West corner of England.  We love to walk the coastal path – a 630-mile path which hugs the rugged landscape.  We complete several sections on each visit with the long term aim of walking the whole of the Cornwall section.  Closer to home our favourites include East Sooke Park, Juan de Fuca trail, Gowlland Tod and Thetis Lake.

And if you’re looking to beat @BobV, you may be in luck this year. He’s set his sights a little bit lower:

“Last year I set myself a challenge to achieve a high daily step count – this year I’ll be happy with a 12-15,000 step average!”

Looks like there’s some hope for the rest of us!