The competition was off-the-charts! Not in a good way, either. At least not in any healthy sense. Wherever the line in the sand separating common sense from ludicrous insanity was, they had crossed that line about 100,000 steps ago.
Jack wiped the newly formed sweat from his brow as he reached the steps leading up to the front door. It was only a casual neighborhood walk, but it was summer and the mid-morning sun had begun to take its toll. He was happy to have reached home before it had gotten any hotter.
He began doing some light stretches, particularly for his hip that had started to feel a little stiff in the last part of his walk. He looked at his sleek new Fitbit Charge and prompted it to give him a report on his morning walk: 7,000 steps, 5.6km.
7,000?! He couldn’t believe it. He had been expecting at least double that number. In an instant it dawned on him how ridiculous a proposition it would be for him to compete with his peers, some of who had reached 70,000 steps (or 50km walked) in a single day.
In the competition spanning the working week, the top 3 contenders had clocked up more than 200,000 steps. Only two weeks ago 80,000 steps would have won the very same competition. Then again, Jack had also received a message earlier that the top contender, Emily, a housewife (with two hyper-active kids), had to pull out owing to chest pains in her herculean effort to keep up with the pack.
In querying the group’s ringleader, Quinland, a regular gym-goer with a self-confessed phobia of losing (or more accurately, a phobia of not winning), about joining the competition he was both surprised, and then not so surprised at the response: “We’re probably going to take a break next week… my body is suffering.”
“Just stop. This is an intervention. You’re binge stepping and its becoming a problem. Think of your children,” Jack replied. He was only being semi-serious.
EPILOGUE: Quinland ignored Jack’s pleas, but won the weekly competition with 267,898 steps ahead of Emily’s husband, Jean-Pierre, with 243,072 steps. Emily, who retired hurt with one day of competition left finished third on 196,092. The stepping continues.