Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Walking Distance

Question: How long will it take Julian to walk 15 miles?

To research, I ran a quick Google search for how fast the average human can walk and compared the various answers. An average of 2.5 miles per hour seemed to be the best answer. My own walking speed is about 2 miles per hour. So, 2 to 2.5 miles per hour.

I decided since young Julian was accustomed to riding horses or coaches everywhere, he was as much a slowpoke as me. So, how long would it take Julian to cross the island?

Answer: 15 miles divided by 2 (or 2.5 per hour) = 6 to 7.5 hours.

Almost half a day! Poor, spoiled, rich kid. Hee hee.

So, next time you need to know how long it will take your character to walk a distance, know that the average person can walk 2.5 miles per hour, decide whether your character is faster or slower than average, and then do the math. Of course, you'll also want to research what it's like to walk X miles, for Y hours, in Z conditions.

Image: Toward Los Angeles, California (LOC) by Dorothea Lange


  1. I see what you mean. When I think of something being within walking distance, I never imagine the person that's walking arriving disheveled, wheezing and about to pass out from the exertion. So I guess the distance would depend on the walker. It's funny how I almost never questioned things like this until I started writing.

    1. Indeed. I've got poor Julian soaked from a passing shower, hot from the reemerging sun, tired and grimy, and just generally suffering a very bad day. Needless to say, it was pretty obvious he wouldn't make it without a little help--which ought to reap some important lessons on character for him.

      Yes, sometimes we are mean to our characters, but we do it because we care. :)


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