At the age of 64, Diana Nyad became the first person to make the 110-mile swim from Havana to Key West without a shark cage. The swim took her 52 hours and 54 minutes to complete, a lifetime goal she had begun dreaming of in the late 1970s. She made her first attempt in 1978 at the age of 28. Then after decades of not swimming, she decided to try again in her 60s. After three unsuccessful attempts, she made it in 2013.
She talked about her epic swim at TEDWomen 2013. So far, more than 3.3 million people have watched her talk, titled “Never, Ever Give Up.”
Now, Diana is working on a new goal. Along with her Cuba swim expedition leader, Bonnie Stoll, Diana has founded EverWalk Nation, a bold movement to get people to pledge to walk three times a week. Research shows that Westerners’ sedentary lifestyle can be as damaging to our health as smoking, so Diana and Bonnie want to get us moving!
“We intend to amass over the next calendar year a million people pledging to walk three times a week. We are going to spark a tsunami of walking in this country, turning America into a rabid nation of walkers,” she writes in a recent email.
And as you might expect from someone like Diana, the launch of the initiative is no small affair. This Sunday, on the third anniversary of Diana’s historic Cuba swim, she will lead a gang of walkers on a 145-mile walk down the California coast from Los Angeles to San Diego. EverWalk will sponsor more long walks around the country over the next several years, including from Boston to New York City and from Chicago to St. Louis. Participants can sign on for different distances depending on their abilities.
Registration is closed for this weekend’s walk, but if you’re in LA, cheer the group on at their kick-off event from 7 to 8:30 AM at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium on Oct. 23.
Get Involved: To take the pledge, join the community and to find out about future walks, visit EverWalk.com and be a leader in the biggest walking initiative in American history.
We’ll be checking in on Diana and Bonnie’s progress with a live update from their LA-to–San Diego walk at this year’s TEDWomen, held next week, Oct. 26–28, in San Francisco.