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Man breaks Grand Canyon hiking record at 92 years old

Alfredo Aliaga Burdio said he only began his healthy lifestyle when he was 76, and 16 years later, he's accomplished a hiking feat no one has before.
Man breaks Grand Canyon hiking record at 92 years old
Posted at 9:38 PM, Jan 09, 2024

It's never too late to accomplish your goals, whether that be in terms of your health or items on your bucket list, and one 92-year-old just proved it.

Alfredo Aliaga Burdio became the oldest person to cross the Grand Canyon rim-to-rim on foot when he trekked the geological wonder in October, Guinness World Records confirmed last week.

The Berlin, Germany, resident said he had hiked the site many times in his life, including crossing it rim-to-rim with his wife, Ingrid, a few times. But it was after Ingrid died of ALS in 2006 that he decided to return to the spots they traveled, including the Arizona Canyon. 

During his October 2022 journey there, he sparked another mission: to break the record 91-year-old John Jepkema set in 2019.

"I had read about the previous record holder, Mr. John Jepkema, whom I admired immensely," Burdio told Guinness World Records. "I knew that I was only a few months younger than Mr. Jepkema had been and thought that I had a great shot at setting a new record the following year."

Burdio began his training in January 2023 by walking eight miles every day. Then, after some changes in initial plans, he kicked off his Grand Canyon hike in October.

Starting at 6 a.m., the 92-year-old walked slowly but steadily through, taking breaks nearly every hour to keep up his stamina along the strenuous route, including one stop to see the sun rising.

"What surprised me is that after about a 15-minute break, some food, and electrolytes, I recovered and felt strong again," he told the record organization. "I think of the next step and the next, and not how far I still have to go. Then it is not so overwhelming and very doable."

Though many would say the views kept them going, Burdio says it's the supportive people he met along the trail that pushed him to the finish line, including his two witnesses who kept pace until the end.

"Can you believe that two people who would usually cross the Canyon in eight hours agreed to be witnesses, walked at my speed, and were unwavering in their support?" Burdio told Guinness World Records.

Burdio ended up taking 21 hours and 15 minutes to complete the goal. And even though it may seem like a long journey for some, it's invigorated him to make the journey again in May — but without the pressure of breaking a world record. He also hopes to break another record by hiking other peaks and canyons, like the Aconcagua or the Chimborazo in the Andes.

He says he hopes the stories of his travels at 92 years old will show other people to never give up on a goal even if you think it's too late, as he says he only began living a healthy lifestyle at the age of 76.

And if you want to be strutting the trails when you're his age, he told Guinness World Records his three healthy-life secrets: Eat healthy and drink water, walk for 30 minutes a day and get eight hours of sleep in the darkest times of the night.

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