The Fat Man Walking:
Steve Vaught began a walk across the United States on April 10, 2005 and ended in Manhattan on May 9, 2006 as he crossed the George Washington Bridge. His goal was to lose weight and regain his life. Steve Vaught was married with two children. During the course of the walk he and his wife decided to divorce, which he reports to be an amicable decision.
How Fat was Steve Vaught?:
Steve Vaught estimates he weighed 410 pounds when he began his walk. He was not always obese. He says he was a "lanky" teenager and a physically fit and muscular Marine. His weight gain began 15 years ago, following an accident in which he struck and killed two elderly pedestrians. His intervention was to walk from Oceanside, California to New York City in 5-6 months. It took him over a year.
What Route Did Steve Vaught Take Across the USA?:
Steve Vaught began his The Fat Man Walking route in Oceanside, California with a goal of reaching New York City. The route goes from California through Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York.
What Was His Support?:
Steve Vaught began the journey camping in a tent each night. He carries food and water with him in a backpack. He started the journey without any support vehicle assistance. He began the walk with a few sponsors, but in general this is a journey for his own health and not a charity publicity walk. At times he stayed in a hotel. Film crews have joined him from time to time as his story became known.
Steve Vaught posts updates on TheFatManWalking.com web site. By early November, 2005 he had reached the halfway mark across the USA, over 1400 miles. After taking a break over the holidays, he was back walking in January, 2006 and had reached the 2000 mile mark. By March, 2006, he had reached Ohio and took a break to work with a physical trainer on diet and toning. Back on the road, he had 600 miles to go to NYC. He finished May 9, 2006 and appeared on the "Today Show" May 10.
Did The Fat Man Walking Lose Weight?:
Yes. Before his journey, he says he could hardly walk through a store. His physical condition improved steadily, he had a good health ticket with a strong EKG. By March, 2006 he had lost 114 pounds and was under 300 pounds. By January, 2006 he was averaging 15 miles per day in all kinds of weather and carrying a pack. He was diagnosed with stress fractures in his feet in March, but continued to walk.
A Day of Walking with Steve Vaught:
Canada.com has an excellent slide show of a day of walking with Steve Vaught as he walks through Ohio, 11 months into his journey across America.
Quotes from "The Today Show" May 10, 2006:
"I think everybody needs to take a long walk sometimes." "It was a brutal walk." He was impressed with the kindness of people along the way and said he learned to live in the present and learn what you have to enjoy right now.
Next for Steve Vaught: Wandering Around the World:
In August, 2006, Steve Vaught announced his next adventure. He will begin wandering east from San Diego "relying on the kindness of strangers." His goal will be to circle the earth, with a combination of accepting rides and walking. He will journal his journeys. As of 2011, this has not been realized.