For reasons I do not completely understand, I have signed up to walk 32 miles around the rim of Manhattan.

There were probably worse things I could have signed up for, including running 32 miles around the rim of Manhattan while waving a chicken around my head and reciting the Gettysburg Address in Serbo-Croat. Still, I do feel an explanation for my decision is nevertheless in order.

The 32-mile walk is called The Great Saunter, which is a synonym for stroll, amble, promenade, meander or death wish. The saunter, which takes around 12 hours to complete, begins, next May, at 7 a.m. and essentially continues until your feet wear out. Organizers of this annual event advise you to bring several additional pairs of socks, bandages, food and drink, blister cream, toilet paper and contact information for next of kin.

Last year, around 1,000 people attempted The Great Saunter, which I believe is officially sponsored by the Podiatrist Association of America. A few hundred finished; the rest became insurance agents.

I recently read about the saunter and immediately decided this was something I wanted to do. It would be a challenge that would prove I was still as physically fit and mentally stupid as I was when I was younger.

Most important, this was something I felt I actually could do.

As I have gotten older, I have finally come to grips with the realization that I will never become a major league baseball player, which was my childhood career plan, and where I did my graduate work. I’m finally aware I’m not going to win a gold medal throwing the javelin in the Olympics, probably because I’ve never thrown a javelin.

It’s unlikely that I will be awarded an Oscar. Or an Emmy. Not even a Tony or a Grammy or a Willy or a Mammy. The Nobel Peace Prize, while still remaining a goal, does seem far off, particularly because I refuse to fight for something with peace in the title.

But walking, I thought, this is something I’m not bad at. Heck, I’ve been walking for a number of years now and doing it quite well, thank you. I have a deep understanding of the skill involved, and frequently am able to go three steps without stumbling.

Also, for walking, I don’t need additional high-tech equipment, and don’t have to go to a sporting goods store and be embarrassed by someone younger than my sneakers who throws the word pronate around.

Nevertheless, I know it won’t be easy because I do have flat feet. At the beach, I leave full frontal foot prints. It’s likely, during 32 miles, that my feet will get so flat they will be near my knees. Yet I refuse to let this dissuade me, and have already begun training for The Great Saunter.

Last week, I meandered. This week, I’m working on ambling. Next week, I think I’m going to attempt to mosey. Once that’s out of the way, I’ll work on that peace prize.

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