How Long Would It Take to Walk Around the Earth?

February 14, 2024

Amid the recent frenzy to stretch ultra-long footing distances ever farther, and raise the bar on what intrepid travelers will take in their stride, there's a wild idea lobbed around: How long would it take to walk around the earth?

Taking the average walking pace of one hour per day and assuming you could go around the globe without stopping, you'd need to walk about 25,000 miles. That's a lot of shoes and a ton of water, and it would take about 13 years at that pace, with the added challenge of finding places to sleep along the way.

The first thing to consider is that the Earth is not flat: It's a geoid, or oblate spheroid. That means that a straight line on a map doesn't always perfectly preserve the distance between two points, especially if you go through a polar region.

Another complicating factor is the rotation of the Earth, and how that affects your location at a given time. Fortunately, there are techniques for determining your latitude and longitude from a precise baseline, and some intrepid travelers have been working on it.

For instance, in 2004, US walker Polly Letofsky became the first woman to complete a circumnavigation, following the route of American Ffyona Campbell. Other circumnavigators have included Rosie Swale Pope, Jesper Olsen, and Tom Dennis. However, in May of 2018, US expat Savannah Blessitt, who is attempting to become the first person to run the circumference of the Earth, abandoned her effort after getting seriously sick in Scotland and was forced to return to the United States for treatment.


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