I am Joe Walker aka Joseph Beyanga, a road safety enthusiast raising awareness about saving lives on the road.

+256 782 602061


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Joe Walker at 2000km

On 29th September, 2021 I made the first step to walk to save my life. 365 days later, my “walkometer” has clocked 2,000km and I have been a part of several campaigns to save lives. 

One year ago I started walking exercises as recommended by an orthopedist as a remedy to persistent nagging pain in my shoulder blade. I apparently had a lot of potassium in my body and so exercise which caused me to perspire would enable me to sweat it out and reduce the pain. He advised me to do a brisk walk for at least for 30 minutes thrice a week. In the beginning 10 minutes felt impossible but the pain was too much compared to the discomfort of a 30 minutes’ walk. I pressed on. On the 3rd day, I had pushed the 30 minutes to one hour. After that I was doing 8kms. Then social media led me to Robert Kabushenga (HM)’s running school on Twitter. I peeped into his school, and got enrolled. I was challenged to push 8km to 10km. 10km became 15km and then 18km in the 3rd month. 

The longer I spent on the road walking, the more I witnessed the impact of road crashes, and the more I felt the urgent need to do something to stop the madness and save lives. The more time I spent on Kampala roads, the clearer it was what the causes of mayhem on our roads are – careless and reckless driving plus impunity. I witnessed some of these gruesome incidents on the roads and the more I saw, the more I felt the urgent need to do something and do it now. 

Along the thousands of kilometres walked, we’ve been able to raise awareness on road safety; done a 340km Kampala-to-Bushenyi walk to save lives; and continued with #StayInYourLane media campaigns. I believe step by step we’re moving the needle and we’ll eat the elephant. 

For some people who walk or run thousands of kilometres every year, clocking 2000km is nothing. To Joe Walker who is just taking baby steps, this is a huge milestone and full of many lessons. Walk with me and let me tell you more. 

1. Team work wins

From HM’s running school to the #JoeWalker team, it’s been amazing to see the power of a great team. Teams have built concepts, and then turned the concepts into action. They have managed the logistics around the action, and told the story of the action. Many friends, giving many gifts have all worked together to create great impact. HM’s school is amazing; the guys will challenge you to do better, give you tips on how to improve your performance and then cheer you on every milestone. The #JoeWalker team are a certain breed of magicians. They will use whatever little they can get to make something big. Thank you guys…you made a crawling man walk. 

Joe Walker and Brian Mulondo in September 2021.

2. The right gear

During the early days of walking, I thought any pair of comfortable canvas shoes aka sneakers was great for walking. I was so wrong. Those first 2-3 months, especially when the walking distances got longer, I suffered numerous injuries, got many blisters and lost toe nails. Then the conversation about the right shoes popped up on my Timeline. I discovered the need for the right gear for walking. I also discovered the truth about shirts and shorts; not every comfortable outfit is fit for the job. For better performance the right equipment is paramount. To be safe, don’t just talk to your “friend”, talk to knowledgeable people. It will save you injuries, wasted energies and make the whole experience fun and more enjoyable.

3. There is power in goal setting 

There have been so many times and days I have had every reason not to step out for my walking exercises. But the bigger goal of staying fit and ready for another walk to raise awareness and save lives has pushed me on to step out and walk. Whether it’s walking against the rain or when hungry, or when running late after a very busy schedule, that goal to stay healthy and save lives keeps pushing me on and now here we are 2,000km and walking on. 

4. Consistency pays

You won’t achieve anything without discipline and consistency. And I am not talking big things but simple stuff like staying true to a simple schedule such as stepping out for walks at least three times a week. That may sound simple but in the long run, it makes a big difference and will lead you to 2,000km in a year. 

5. Focus is everything

On 9th September, I had 90kms to hit 2,000km before 26th September 2022. Walking 90km in 15 days I thought, was no big deal for #JoeWalker. Little did I know what laid in wait for me. I was traveling out of town to northern hemisphere where the temperatures were quickly dropping below 9 degrees Celcius. The area also had rain. Plus my purpose of travel tied me to a busy schedule. My focus on knocking off at least 40 – 50km before I returned to Kampala on September 24th was not going according to plan. Day one after arriving in Sweden, it was 14 degrees Celsius in the evening; I stepped out for a walk in a simple sports shirt and shorts. After 2 hours outdoor, I came back excited about the great roads, walkways and public parks but also almost frozen too. However the excitement at being able to walk in a different setting and circumstances excited me and kept me focused on the goal. 

Days later, the temperature had dropped fast and the sun was not coming out. I still stepped out and clocked in some mileage. The hardest bit was when it was 9 degrees Celsius and I had not been able to walk for 4 days. I couldn’t afford to fall back; I stepped out. I thought I had figured out how to stay warm. I was wrong. The rest of the body was okay but my hands were exposed. I thought I could easily find my way around the city, until it became dark and I lost the key landmarks. With no internet connection on my phone, I lost my way and started walking in the opposite direction as the temperatures dipped. Well it was a great end; I did a longer distance, learnt new routes and also a better way to beat the cold. That evening I showered with cold water as a punishment for losing my way but I ended up feeling much better than when I would after a warm shower. By staying true to my focus I was able to brave the weather changes and hit my target. 

Joe Walker takes a break.

With 55km cleared off my target, I returned home with two and half days and 35km to clock before #JoeWalker anniversary. That day, I was too fatigued to do anything sensible. The next day, I woke up late, feeling lazy and hungry. After crawling out of bed, it hit me that I had 35km to knock off. I immediately changed into my walking outfit and hit the road. Two kilometres into the walk, it started to drizzle. I continued to walk but the rain increased. I increased the pace, and the rain became a downpour. I however pressed on in order to hit my target of 15km. When I was done, I was left with only 20km remaining and I was excited figuring that I would simply tick it off in a simple walk after work. Little did I know the body was worn out. The next day, an hour into the walk, my body wasn’t responding well. I tried to increasing the pace but the body slowed down. At that point I said a little prayer, and asked my mind to speak to the body to hold on and carry us for another two hours or so. The more I stepped on the gas, the slower I got, the heavier the legs became. Everything in my body except the mind wanted out but I was determined to press on. I pressed on and we made it. The moment my timer buzzed 2,000km, I was as excited as a young adolescent boy who has just discovered that the young girl he has a crush on, has a crush on him too. I was elated. I just cruised the rest of the journey to meet my wife who was driving me back home. I was grateful to God who has seen me this far. Keep the focus; God will see you through.

6. A supportive spouse takes you far

At the beginning of my walking journey, after the second day, I was truly done and had given up. I started thinking of trying other remedies for the pain. But Carol, my best friend and sweet loving wife for 16 years urged me to keep on, to give it another try. When my toes got damaged/injured we worked together to get a remedy. When my eating habits became Golola-ish, she prepared the right foods. She never complained about my sweat-drenched shirts but worked out a formula to ensure I had a clean set of workout clothes every time I stepped out to walk. When I couldn’t easily find a good pair of walking shoes before embarking on the 340km walk, she worked the networks to get me a pair on time. 

If you’re passionate about something, it won’t be achieved in one day. It’s done with many small consistent steps taken over a long period of time, and the right equipment, working with a tireless multi-skilled team and a very supportive friend or spouse if you’re married. These 2,000km truly started with one step and I pray they’re just the beginning of thousands more but more importantly for a good cause; to save lives.