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Ian's circumnavigating the globe - in Middlesbrough

Health and wellbeing

Thursday, 16 May 2024
Ian Mawson and faithful companion Ollie in Linthorpe Cemetery

To circumnavigate the globe is a mammoth task, but local man Ian Mawson has nearly done just that.

And with just 300 miles to go, he’s urging others to take up the challenge in support of good causes join him for the final mile next month.

Ian is on target to complete his goal of walking a staggering 24,901 miles – the equivalent of the Earth’s circumference – in Middlesbrough’s Albert Park on Wednesday, June 12.

The epic undertaking over a ten-year period was born of a love of walking and a desire to keep fit as the years ticked by.

And now he’s looking for individuals, local businesses and organisations to back him on the final leg and help raise money to help Middlesbrough’s children – and he’s urging others to take on the challenge for themselves.

Ian started recording his daily walks in 2015 with the aid of a smartwatch and the popular goal of 10,000 steps – roughly five miles – every day.

That fitness drive became Walking the World  in 2021, with an initial finish target of December, 2026 and the aim of raising funds to combat child poverty in Middlesbrough and across the region.

The 75-year-old, who has worked in education since 1970s and is currently a governor at two Middlesbrough primary schools, said: “As a school governor, I am well aware of the financial struggles some families endure on a daily basis, just to meet their and their children’s basic needs.

“Every child has an absolute right to a secure and joyful childhood with the essential building blocks in place for them to flourish, and together we can help make that happen.

“The funds we raise through Walking the World will be distributed to schools and community organisations to provide financial assistance and daily essential for children.”

Ian’s daily hikes – averaging seven miles a day over nine years and peaking at more than 23 and more than 51,000 steps in a single day last September – start with an early hours stroll with canine pal Ollie followed by an hour’s walk through Linthorpe Cemetery.

He’s roamed across Middlesbrough, North Yorkshire and the Dales, and as far afield as Scotland, France, Germany and Spain.

And it’s not just been a walk in the park – riverside rambles have taken Ian to the source of the rivers Wear Tees Swale, Ure, Nidd, Wharfe, Aire and Calder.

Councillor Philippa Storey, Middlesbrough Deputy Mayor and Executive member for Culture & Education, said: “What an amazing, inspirational achievement, and all for a cause that touches every one of us.

“The challenge was daunting, but Ian has shown that perseverance and determination can overcome any obstacle he has encountered along the way.

“Now it’s up to others to follow – literally – in his footsteps and Walk the World.

“It’s a fantastic way to stay fit and healthy for free, and has the potential to change lives forever.”

For more information on Ian Mawson’s Walking the World challenge, or to make a donation, visit his GoFundMe page, email Ian or call 07879 990257.