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.

In November 2015, Mario set off on his second proper walk, which was to be a casual stroll across the entire African continent, an expedition he named Crossing Africa. That’s 12,000 kilometers (7,456 miles) that would take him through South Africa, Mozambique, Malawi, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt.

He returned home in January 2018—two years, three months, and presumably several hundred blisters later—successful, inspired and empowered by his feat (and feet). So we gave him a call. Because we like people who do this kind of thing.

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