51-year-old dog walker Adrian Pagliaro from York hit a staggering 7000 miles in 2017 – after pounding out 5000 the year before. He walks for a living so we don't expect to match up, and we feel great after 1000 miles, but what does SEVEN TIMES that do to you Adrian?
How the heck are your knees?
Ah pretty good, although in May I suffered a badly torn ligament to my left knee whilst out in the Dales. A brilliant sports physio quickly got me back on my feet but it has taken 6 months to fully recover. In fact my knees are now stronger than ever before, although I now wear knee supports on strenuous hikes as a precaution. My toes however, are currently a bit bruised after the extraordinary recent weeks' walking.
When we spoke to you last year you said you needed 5000 miles to earn a good living, so with 7000+ you must be living the high life, right?
Haha you would think so. However not all my mileage is work related...what does a dog walker do in his free time? Take his own dog for a walk of course! Bonfire weekend saw Ruby & I head to the North Yorkshire Moors each evening on firework escape for some night time hiking – that clocked up an extra 36 miles J And that’s after a full day so it’s a good job I like to walk!
How many clients and dogs do you have to cover so many miles?
32 active clients and 39 dogs – not as many as you may think although as I don’t do group walks it takes less to fill up my day, plus I do multiple days for each client each week – some 7 days a week.
Do any of them know you're doing these incredible distances?
I produce a quarterly newsletter for my extended dog family which tells them how busy I am, although I only detail my mileage in the New Year edition, so only longer term clients would be aware of that.
What drew you to the challenge when most of its other participants' mile target is a fraction of your own?
Firstly 1000 miles is no small feat, especially if you have a full time job with commute to eat into the best part of your day. So I knew that a group of like minded people would give me much needed support and praise when I needed it. Actually I love the group – reading the posts and seeing the wonderful photos, as well as some touches of humour just when it’s needed. There are some truly inspirational stories out there and it is testament to our walking fraternity that they can be shared. By comparison my mileage isn’t so exceptional.
How do you feel now?
Elated, weary, excited, aching, ready for a day off.....and much more! It’s fantastic the business is going so well, but also exhausting being ‘at work’ 7 days a week, never mind the physical output. It is a good job York is flat!
When will this end??
15 years til retirement! No seriously I think I will not be able to top the mileages from this year – I’m at my limit plus there’s not enough hours in the day!
What are your stats for the year in terms of dogs walked, hours a week on average etc?
Phew – well business has grown through the year but taking my last couple of months my week averages out like this – 11 hour days Monday to Friday with about 12 bookings for 16 dogs. Weekends come in around 10 hours and 7 bookings with 11 dogs. My working hours haven’t increased significantly this year however I have been able to pack in my walks by organising each day’s bookings carefully to keep travel time to a minimum. It helps that 50% of my clients all live in the same village!
Tell us about your favourite dogs.
My client dogs? Ah, that would be telling! I walk a range of dogs – lots of Labradors (all varieties – golden, black and brown), Springer and Cocker spaniels, Golden Retrievers, Cavalier King Charles, Yorkies, several pairs of Miniature Schnauzers, Bearded Collie, Lurcher, German Shepherd, Standard Poodle, British Bulldog, Greyhound, Pug, Weimaraner, and a pair of rarely seen Glen of Imaal terriers. They are all special and I have great fun with them. In fact most of my clients complain that their dogs are always more pleased to see me than them! However my favourite dog is of course my own, Ruby – an 8 year old cockerXlab. She is my constant hiking companion and over the years has completed her own awesome mileage whilst undertaking our exploits from backpacking National Trails to bouncing across the top of Striding Edge to scrambling to mountain summits in sun, rain and snow. She is a hard task master though, as I am never allowed to stop for long – even lunch is on the hoof, such is her eagerness to carry on walking.
How do you stand your own company when I'm bored of mine after about 3 miles?
Well I’m never really on my own as I always have the dogs for company. And yes I do chat away to them (Mad Dog Man i know!). But honestly there is always so much to see, even on walks that I do every day I always find something of interest, all year round as the seasons change. We live in a beautiful world – you just have to open your eyes to see it!
Anything you'd like to say as the King of the Milers?
King of the Milers? Hmm not sure I deserve that title. I’m lucky I walk for my living so clocking up miles is easy. The real Kings and Queens are those who manage to achieve 1000 miles outside of their work time – now that is impressive! Isn’t walking just great?