Physical Challenges

Walking 250k Steps in 24 Hours to Raise Support for ME/CFS

On October 30th, I’m going to attempt to break a record in Google’s annual Walktober competition by walking 250,000 steps in a single day. Not only that, but I’m using this event to raise awareness and support for ME/CFS (myalgic encephalomyelitis and chronic fatigue syndrome).

What Is Walktober?

Every year Google has a walking competition for employees where over 20k people form teams and see how much they can walk. It is mainly a fun event that gives us all some motivation to stay moving as fall weather sets in. There are various categories to compete in for individuals and teams. My eyes are set on the record for most steps in a day.

I actually held this record for about a week last year. I had done some research to find out the most anyone had ever recorded in a single day of Walktober (134k) and I realized I could break it if I walked and ran for 24 hours straight. I blogged about my attempt last year. Not only did I beat the old record, but I blew it out of the water, getting 187k steps – an increase of more than 50k. But just a week later, a few other runners challenged my record and eventually it fell to someone that walked 200,609 steps. Now I’m back and seeing if I can do even more. I’m hoping to, again, raise the bar by 50k steps.

What Cause Am I Supporting?

I am no stranger to silly endurance events, but for this year’s challenge I am going to do something new, I am going to use the event as a fundraiser. The cause I’ve selected is ME/CFS (myalgic encephalomyelitis and chronic fatigue syndrome) a debilitating condition that results in fatigue and often hindered cognitive and physical function. It impacts millions of people around the world but is not widely known about.
I became aware of ME/CFS when a family member struggled for years to receive a diagnosis and treatment plan. I want to help raise awareness of the condition, one that is widely unfamiliar to most, and also gather funding to support research in hopes that others do not have to suffer the same. I put some more info lower down on the page along with links to some videos, articles and books if you’d like to learn more.

How to Get Involved

1) Learn About ME/CFS

I’ve put some info at the bottom of this page with some links to articles, videos, a book and documentaries that we will be a great way to learn about this condition that impacts millions of people around the world – but that many people do not know about.

2) Join in on the Encouragement and Excitement

  • Follow our Facebook Page to hear more as we approach the 24 hour challenge and for live updates the day of
  • Follow Live Updates in the Google Doc
  • Spread the word about our team and point others to this blog post
  • Come out and run with Greg on Oct 30th at the West Seattle Stadium
  • Comment and post encouragement on Facebook posts, live doc, etc. during the big day. Both to encourage Greg and those who suffer from ME/CFS that are watching the fundraiser along with you.

3) Donate to #MEActionNetwork

Funds we raise during Walktober will go to #MEAction, a not-for-profit advocacy and research group that works to fund medical research, secure research funding from governments, provide medical education, and gain public recognition of myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME). The vision is that, one day, people with ME will have support and access to compassionate and effective care.

What is ME/CFS?

Myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) or chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), is a complex and disabling illness that results in an overwhelming fatigue that is not improved by rest.

According to an Institute of Medicine (IOM) report, an estimated 836,000 to 2.5 million Americans (other sources state 15-30 million people worldwide) suffer from ME/CFS.

People with ME/CFS are often not able to do their usual activities and at times, or with severe cases, ME/CFS may confine them to bed. Fatigue may get worse after any activity, whether it’s physical or mental – a symptom known as post-exertional malaise (PEM). Other symptoms can include problems with sleep, thinking and concentrating, pain, and dizziness.

People with ME may also experience a substantial loss of physical and/or cognitive function. The average person with ME scores as more disabled on quality of life surveys than those with multiple sclerosis, stroke, diabetes, renal failure, lung disease, heart failure, and cancer.

Despite the severity of the symptoms and breath of those suffering, the medical community is a long way from being able to understand, diagnose and treat ME/CFS. Unfortunately funding and research for ME/CFS has been extremely low compared to other, especially funding from the United States National Institutes of Health.

Where to Learn More About ME/CFS

Interested in learning more, here are some resources of different formats that we recommend: