Editor’s note: This article was published before the coronavirus pandemic, and may not reflect the current situation on the ground.

In January 2018, Mario Rigby returned home from a walk. But while most walks don’t warrant international media attention, Mario’s walk saw him navigate the length of the African continent, over the course of two years.

“I was an adventurous child,” says Mario Rigby over the phone from his home in Toronto, Canada. “My parents had to get me into sports or I would get in trouble.” So that’s what his parents did. And Mario, not one to do things by halves, went on to compete in track and field at a national level.

Now, Mario—who was born in Turks and Caicos and grew up in Germany before moving to Toronto—is one of the city’s leading fitness instructors, and coaches top-tier athletes across a range of sports. And when he’s not doing that, he likes nothing more than to head out for a stroll.

But we’re not talking a couple of laps around the block with the dog. Mario’s first proper walk was from Toronto to Montreal—500 kilometers (310 miles) on foot. He was averaging about 50-60 kilometers (31-37 miles) a day, he says. And that was just the warm-up.