The Great Saunter


On Saturday, my friend Drew and I walked 28 miles around the perimeter of Manhattan. Why? Because we’re idiots.

It’s called The Great Saunter. Every year a bunch of people get together, raise money for charity, and circumnavigate Manhattan. Drew and I had been talking about doing this for some time, but we didn’t want to wait until next year, so we just did it ourselves.

We met at East 34th Street. 7am sharp. There’s an underpass there that gets you on the other side of the FDR Drive. And then we walked downtown, clockwise, along the East River. The sun rose and delivered a magnificent orange hue over this great big city.

It was a chilly fall morning, but people were out jogging, walking their dogs, eating their bagel in the park. It was nice.

We reached the southern tip of Manhattan by 9 and walked through Battery Park. Lots of stuff going on down there – 5k’s, walks for cancer, just people standing there for no reason. Who knew this city had so many people?

And then we began the long walk up the West Side, over 200 blocks and 10 miles. The wind was howling off the Hudson. Somewhere around West 100th, the blisters started. OH GOD THE BLISTERS. Somewhere around West 150th, my knees started barking. By West 200th, I was having trouble walking. By that point it was 1 in the afternoon, and we had been walking for six hours, just shy of 20 miles.

We reached Inwood Park, at the tippy top of Manhattan, around 1:30. It was there we found a dead end. We then walked east, through some hiking trails, and it was hard to believe we were still in Manhattan.  It offered a brief glimpse of what life was like on this island a few hundred years ago. The trails deposited us around East 207th St. By that point, the blisters were seriously painful. My feet hated me. The human body is not supposed to walk this far, this long.

We made it to Harlem River Park, but there wasn’t exactly a clear path to the water. So we walked through Harlem for a bit. And we must have looked like we were dying, because as we’re limping through the streets, a young woman looked at us and out of the blue said:

Wow, you guys look baaaaaaad.

I’m sure we did.

At East 150th St, we had been walking for almost 27 miles. I could barely lift my feet off the ground. All I wanted to do was sit, anywhere, even in the middle of the street.

We had to call it quits at East 125th St. It was almost 4 in the afternoon, and we had been walking for nine hours and 28 miles. We “only” had 90 blocks to go to complete the full loop, but both of us knew we weren’t going to make it. I managed to get myself home in one piece and then slept for the next two days.

Was it a good experience? Sure. Was it cool to see the city from so many different angles? Yeah, I guess. But, I’m not going to sit here and claim that despite the pain, the whole thing was worth it. It wasn’t! It really wasn’t!

Don’t ever do this. Your body will hate you. Your feet will want to secede from your legs. Your spirit will be drained. You will probably get lost. STAY AWAY AND DON’T EVER THINK ABOUT DOING THIS. Manahattan is a big, biiiiig island, and we’re not supposed to walk around it.

6 thoughts on “The Great Saunter

  1. Ha! That first image KILLED me. Speaking of feeling like you’re dying, I just did this year’s Great Saunter on Saturday for the first time. Holy hell. I’ve done marathons, triathlons, and everything in between, and I’ve never been as sore as I am right now.

    1. Congratulations! Unlike me, you successfully did it! And I know the pain. I’ve also run a marathon, but the Saunter was worse. You should be fully recovered by July.

      Also, might I say, you have an excellent weblog. I’ve added it to my RSS feed. I think we’re on the same page … writing about random crap is fun.

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