This weekend marks the inaugural EverWalk event, where participants walk all the way from Los Angeles to San Diego in seven days. (We’ll save you the math: That’s roughly 20 miles per day.) It’s part of a larger movement, with annual walks planned that will connect different cities — Boston to New York, Philadelphia to DC, Portland to Seattle and Orlando to Miami — culminating in a cross-country walk in 2020. After that, the sky’s the limit: Maybe Cuba. Maybe Spain.
Who else would be behind this other than lifelong athletes and big dreamers Diana Nyad, the only person to swim nonstop from Cuba to Florida, and her long-time expedition leader, Bonnie Stoll? Since it’s apparent that this big-dreaming duo routinely sets their sights on the seemingly impossible, it’s no surprise that they’re primed to make history yet again.
Make Swimming History, Then Make Walking History
Coming off the completion of Nyad’s 110.86-mile swim from Cuba to Florida — an epic feat for the history books — Nyad and Stoll were looking for another Herculean undertaking. Each of them has had their own successes in physical fitness. (Stoll was a champion racquetball player.) According to Nyad, “physical fitness has been the value that we cherished the most in the world. We’ve had our own successes in our lives, and now it’s time to do something for the masses.”
The women wanted something that would connect them with the public. With the U.S. being the Number 1 most sedentary country in the world, they decided to focus on walking — something that’s accessible to everyone. As Stoll puts it, you don’t have to be a professional athlete to walk.
That said, the walks they envision are not 5Ks. Think more like 50 5Ks, all in a row, all over the span of a week. Now that sounds more like an event planned by someone who swam for 53 hours straight.
Epic experiences define us, says Nyad.
This Weekend Is Just the Beginning
For the first walk — which kicks off this Sunday, October 23, and ends on Saturday, October 29 — several hundreds of participants will set out on foot from Los Angeles to San Diego. Nyad and Stoll plan to walk with everyone. They’ll slow down to walk with the novices who’ve never done distance walking, and they’ll speed up to pace with devoted walkers.
The EverWalk Los Angeles to San Diego Route
Day 1 (Sunday 10/23) – Start – Santa Monica to Redondo Beach (20 miles)
Day 2 (Monday 10/24) – Redondo Beach to Long Beach (19 miles)
Day 3 (Tuesday 10/25) – Long Beach to Costa Mesa (24 miles)
Day 4 (Wednesday 10/26) – Costa Mesa to Laguna Niguel (20 miles)
Day 5 (Thursday 10/27) – Laguna Niguel to San Clemente (19 miles)
Day 6 (Friday 10/28) – Oceanside to Del Mar (25 miles)
Day 7 (Saturday 10/29) – Finish – La Jolla to Point Loma (11 miles)
Participating in EverWalk can take many forms. Anyone can pledge to walk, whether you make it to one of the organized events or you walk on your own. Basically the EverWalk Nation pledge (“nation” standing for a movement, not a country) is to walk three times a week. The idea is to set manageable goals that will effectuate lasting change, and their goal is to amass a million pledges before the 2017 walk.
We asked Nyad and Stoll for some tips on everything from getting started to recovery.
Q. How should someone who barely walks get started?
A. Slowly. Maybe it’s a five-minute walk to the end of your driveway one day. Then you feel good about yourself and the next day you go a few steps further. Don’t be too ambitious. Start ridiculously easy, get a pep in your stride, then take off from there. The truth of the matter is that your feet really need to get accustomed to walking.
Q. It can take awhile to get a good workout walking. How do you keep walking fun?
A. Walking helps you appreciate things you’d usually just zip past. We’ve seen things in our hometowns that we never knew existed. It’s the minutiae that you encounter, the tiny little details in your neighborhood that you’d never notice in a car. We also listen to books on tape where appropriate, like on walking trails, but stay safe out there.
Q. After walking for hours, sometimes our backs ache. Do you have any technique tips?
A. When you walk up hills, you tend to lean forward, which puts pressure on your back. Instead, keep your back straight, lead with your feet and don’t lean forward. Also: Take a moment every hour or so to pull over and stretch.
Q. After walking for hours and hours, do you have any recovery secrets?
A. It’s not so secret: ICE. Ice, Compression, Elevation.