For his 75th birthday, Seth Bradley wants people to get outside and go walking.
Starting on the night of Oct. 1, Bradley will walk 75,000 steps in 24 hours around Cheesman Park for his birthday. The step count equals about 38 miles, or just over 25 1.5-mile laps around the park.
“Every half hour or so you can find me coming around,” Bradley said of his hopes to have people joining him during the day.
The idea started when Bradley was still working as a commercial banker for UMB Bank. The company offered $100 a month toward health insurance if people made and kept certain fitness goals. Bradley decided to walk 10,000 steps a day consistently, and with dieting hoped to lose 60 pounds. After making that goal, he continued walking, even getting into friendly competitions to see who could walk more steps a day.
Bradley is a third-generation Denver native. He grew up around the park and had trained there before for marathons he ran in the 1970s and 1980s. Although he lives in Lakewood now, Bradley spends a lot of time in the park because he likes walking the trail.
In addition to walking and running marathons, Bradley is an avid hiker. “I’ve always been interested in running, walking, hiking,” he said. He’s done all of the 14ers in Colorado, and has even done 40 of them twice.
By the time his 70th birthday rolled around, Bradley decided he wanted to walk 70,000 steps around the park. He chose Cheesman because there’s parking nearby for people who wanted to join him. He also liked that the path was a soft gravel, which is easier to walk on. Add in the trees and nearby Denver Botanic Gardens, and Bradley said the route is ideal.
After telling co-workers about the plan for his 70th, a flyer was sent out to 3,200 employees at the bank. “I said, ‘Uh oh, well, I better do it,’” he said, adding “I started training and (people) said they wanted to join.”
During his 70th birthday walk, a total of 50 people walked the park with him during different times of the day. If they couldn’t make it to the actual park, Bradley asked that they walk wherever they were. He said that someone was walking in every state west of the Mississippi River, including Hawaii. He also had walkers in New York City and Atlanta.
People joined on the walk internationally, including Paris, Italy, Hong Kong and the Australian Outback.
He’s hopeful that people will join him again for his 75th birthday this year. Bradley will do a short walking shift from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Oct. 1. He will start walking again the next day. He hopes to finish all 75,000 steps in 24 hours.
“The whole idea of walking and going out in a nice place is just to get out and walk and get as many other people as possible,” he said. “You can meet a lot of other people and just have conversations.”
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