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Fatman to Fitman: Update 4 – The 52 Hike Challenge

So back in April I started this little journey of mine and it turned out to be not so little after all. Two things have happened in the last 10 days that I thought were important milestones and something I wanted to share.

I learned Logistics

Well not exactly but I learned that the Proclaimers were either the most dedicated people in the world or did not have Google maps when they sang this:

Five hundred miles is an awfully long way to walk and I know because I did it! (I will say the most accurate part of the song is “fall down at your door” because I sure felt like collapsing after some of these hikes!) My last hike to Pitkin Lake has officially put me over 500 miles hiked since April of this year.

These are my lifetime stats for Alltrails for how I have done this year.

My Cumulative stats for hiking this year from my Alltrails app has me at 503 miles and over 93,000 feet of elevation gain.

My first recording on Alltrails was on March 18th of 2020 at Mount Falcon. I had done some hikes before that so the number is a little bit higher but I recorded 72 hikes so I averaged just under 7 miles per hike.

Up, Up and Up Some More

The next stat that I was surprised and proud of was the 93,726 feet of elevation gain that I have completed this year. That is the equivalent of:

  • 7,810.5 Flights of stairs (12 feet)
  • 154.9 Space Needles in Seattle (605 feet)
  • 54.2 Sears/Willis Tower in Chicago (1729 feet to tip)
  • 15.6 Grand Canyons at deepest point (6000 feet)
  • 3.2 Mount Everests (29,029 feet)

Wow, I am so tired just looking at that list but at the same time I have a little bit of pride in myself. Not as much as I would have had if I had made it an even 100,000 feet at this writing but I guess that gives me my next goal.

There were definitly times that I didn’t want to continue though and that is where my friends at the 52 Hike Challenge comes in.

52 Hike Challenge

I found the 52 Hike Challenge about 20 hikes into my journey this year. They are basically a larger version of what I was trying to accomplish on my own so it was a great organization to partner with. Their goal is to get people to be active and outdoors and to do 52 hikes in a year.

When you think about 52 hikes in a year it is just one hike a week. Now, not everyone will be able to do the challenge like I did with 52 separate hikes in the Colorado mountains. That’s Ok. A hike is a hike and if you make it to the local park by your home and hike for a mile that counts!

After selecting which package you are looking for you will recieve a packet from the 52 Hike folks. I signed up for the “standard” and it comes with a patch, 2 stickers, a log journal and an envelope with instructions to not open until the 52nd hike. Of course the medal comes in the envelope but please don’t open it.

The reason to not open the envelope is this. I hike alone a lot. When I started this journey I had lost my job and the Covid restrictions had planted me firmly on the couch for weeks. Each news story of the job market and the fear of the virus were slowly breaking me. Then one day I decided to get out and hike. There were mornings towards the middle and end that were a real struggle both physically and mentally to stay motivated on my own and I would hit the wall.

The mental health benefits are just as important as the physical ones. The woods and mountains heal the mind and body but when I hit that wall I would remember that little yellow envelope. It said “Don’t open until 52nd Hike” and that is what got me through the wall. That medal waiting for me was enough to push me to the end!

Here is that moment. After finishing the Twin Sisters trail in Rocky Mountain National Park I finished and had my buddy and hiking mentor, Scott, there to share the moment with me.

Of course the winds would kick up and try to steal my moment but wow, what a feeling it was. I am so glad I joined the 52 Hike Challenge and was able to finish it. It was such a good motivating tool for me.

For those of you who are looking to put 2020 behind you and start fresh in 2021 this might be a perfect way to remind yourself to get out in nature once a week. Maybe it can work at the same time as a New Years resolution and help motivate you as it did me. If you would like to sign up for the 52 Hike Challenge you can click here. Bit of a disclaimer here, I have partnered with them and receive a small referral payment if you sign up through this website.


As far as monthly updates I don’t really have much more to add. The scale has me at the same weight as I was the last time I shared with you. I think the difference is that my last 6 hikes over the last 2 weeks all were over 2500 feet of elevation gain and averaged out to about 10 miles.

So again we ignore the scale and focus on our bodies. 3 months ago a single hike of 10 miles and 2500 feet would have required a week of recovery time. Now I can do 2 and 3 of those hikes a week and while still a bit sore, I can do it.

As far as the resting heart rate I was mentioning in update #3 I have 6 straight days with a 64 bpm resting rate on my Fitbit. I even moved from Fair to Average in the Fitbit Cardio fitness scale.

I think the important thing for me to remember is the feeling that I get on those hills. I look at hills I was struggling on the first few months and just drive by them and smile now. It seems like such a small step towards improvement sometimes and sometimes it feels like those 500 miles took me a million miles away. Well Screw it, I’m Trying!

If you are interested in any more of my updates you can check out my Thoughts Page with updates, product reviews, and a Getting Started guide. If you have any comments feel free to email me at or you can follow me at any of the below social media platforms. Happy Hiking!

2 thoughts on “Fatman to Fitman: Update 4 – The 52 Hike Challenge”

  1. Greg, Congratulations! The smile on your face says it all! By the way, with my heart condition, I still struggle to just do a mile or 2 a day. You have been a huge inspiration to me to keep on keeping on! I look forward to continuing posts and news of your progress

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