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How Long It Would Take to Walk 500 Miles, Plus How Long It Would Take to Walk 500 More?

By Declan Rowles | Miscellaneous | June 29, 2022 |

By Declan Rowles | Miscellaneous | June 29, 2022 |


(Publisher’s Note: Burned out by the calamities of the real world, we have decided to briefly hand over the site to the next generation of Pajiba writers to answer the important questions.)

The vast majority of you have probably heard the song “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” before and probably more than once. The song, first featured on the soundtrack to 1993’s Benny & Joon, is a pop-culture mainstay, appearing in movies like Pitch Perfect as well as recurring in How I Met Your Mother. If you haven’t heard it, or if you would like to hear it again, here’s the video:

I, as a very bored person, was curious as to exactly what 500 miles might look like, how long it would take to walk, and therefore just how invested The Proclaimers are in being the men who roll a thousand miles to fall down at your door. Thus began my research.

I started with Google Maps and tried finding a place that, according to the fastest possible route by foot, is exactly 500 miles away from where I live. I live in Portland, Maine, and roughly estimated after a few adjustments, 500 miles is on Shay Lane in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania. According to Google Maps, it would take around 6 days and 21 hours to walk to Bellefonte, PA, without breaks. After some research, I changed those numbers to account for what a human logically requires during the day to sustain a 500-mile walk (and 500 miles more).

“Untrained walkers can complete a two-hour, 6-mile walk at an easy pace, usually with no ill effects.”

Assuming The Proclaimers are invested enough in being the men who get drunk next to you, I estimated that a person this passionate would walk, on average, around 18 miles a day, after accounting for sleep, meal, and rest breaks. Therefore, we can determine that it would take around 27.7 days to arrive at the destination. If, as it says in the song, you were to walk an extra 500 miles, it would take around 56 days, all told, to be the man who gets drunk next to you. However, one should take these estimates with a grain of salt — not all walking paths are created equal. Some paths are at higher elevations, some are flatter, and weather obviously plays a factor, as well.

Or, you could skip the hassle and use the locations of Craig and Charlie Reid, the twin brothers who make up The Proclaimers, to determine the conditions and where they might end up.

Craig and Charlie Reid live in Edinburgh, UK (in separate homes). From there, exactly 500 miles away (on a path suitable for walking), at the near edge of the UK, is the small town of Blue Anchor. If you want to get technical, it’s actually a restaurant near the town called Two Smokin’ Barrels. The terrain along the path looks flat, with a number of fields and towns along the way once you get past Lanchester. Before then, there are some elevated hills, so I would conservatively add an extra day’s worth of time to get across, which accounts both for the rain in England and the number of pubs along the way.

Before I arrive at my conclusion, there is one issue we need to contend with. Though the 1,000 miles walked in this song are walked to show commitment toward a relationship — Da Da Da Dun Diddle Un Diddle Un Diddle Uh Da Da — from Edinburgh to the lowest tip of the UK, the farthest place one could travel by foot is only 542 miles. After one travels 500 miles to Blue Anchor, it is difficult to determine which way the person would go after reaching that point. I would assume — despite their dedication to being the men who are lonely without you — that it would be the easiest path possible. What love interest would ask for more? It’s another 500 miles, after all, so we should probably cut them a break.

Ergo, since the walk to Blue Anchor takes approximately 28.7 days and the walk to the final destination (assuming you go on the easiest route possible) takes an estimated 27.7 days, the time it would take The Proclaimers to walk the full 1,000 miles, according to my estimates, would be around 56.4 days. That’s less than two months, and in the grand scheme, that’s a blip in time compared to the lifetime spent waking up next to you. Da da da (da da da).