TAMPA — If your New Year’s resolve to get in shape already is flagging, stop by the corner of Rome Avenue and Bayshore Boulevard between 5 a.m. and 5:30 a.m.
It doesn't matter which day.
You’ll find 42-year-old Adam Brown beginning his walk, as he has — according to the journal he keeps — for nearly 3,200 days in a row. That’s nearly nine years.
Brown walks five to 10 miles per day at a pace of 5 mph. Unless he is out of town, where he keeps up the routine, his daily stroll runs back and forth along the scenic Tampa waterfront route popular with walkers and runners.
He has lost around 150 pounds.
"I want to inspire people because if I can do it, anyone can," Brown said on day 3,192 of a streak that began April 12, 2010. "Being overweight for most of my life, I didn't think this was physically possible. I thought there was no way it could ever happen. But it did."
Many people call him "The Bayshore Walker," but Brown is open to other nicknames, too.
He answers to "Half Brown," because he cut his weight from over 300 pounds to 155 pounds.
Or "The Postman of the Promenade," because he’s out there whatever the weather.
"I've walked in hurricane storms, with a 104 fever, with neck pain, with back pain.”
Or maybe “The Cal Ripken of Roaming," after the iron man of Major League Baseball.
"I want to get to 4,000 but I know then I will want get to 5,000," Brown said. "At this point, I just love the streak."
Brown's weight loss technique is unusual. He doesn't believe in dieting. He eats pizza, fast food and desserts, and not just on a cheat day.
He doesn’t go anywhere near a gym. He lifts weights, for about 40 minutes every few days.
His advice for others: "Don't wait for the perfect day. Don't do it because of a resolution. Just go. Start right now."
Confidence increases, he insists, as weight comes off.
"I remembered I was worth something, and that I could accomplish anything,” said Brown, who is single and works as office manager and attorney with the Chiropractic Care Centre.
Years after dropping out of the University of Florida, he earned a degree in psychology from the University of South Florida and graduated from the South Texas College of Law.
His handwritten journal is the only proof of Brown’s claims, but some people who travel Bayshore believe him.
"He's legit," said radio show host and political consultant Chris Ingram, who lives three blocks from Bayshore and estimates he drives the boulevard 10 to 12 times a week. Ingram typically sees Brown in the morning.
Lance Williams, a former television reporter who sells real estate in the Bayshore area, said that when his mother visits from Tallahassee, she asks if Brown is still at it.
"Even she who is rarely here knows about him," Williams said. "He is that icon of Bayshore."
Brown even walks on vacation, said his friend Mark Page.
When the two were in Nashville for three days in September, Brown mapped out a route and had Page drive him there every morning.
"It is amazing how strict he is with it," Page said.
Brown said he had been overweight as far back as he can remember.
"I was a big little kid, huge kid in high school and enormous in college."
At the University of Florida, he embraced his role as the jolly overweight guy. At parties, he served as "keg master” pouring beers.
But he also suffered mockery for his weight, making it a point to arrive first or skip class so other students wouldn’t see him squeezing between desks.
His grade suffered and he dropped out in January 1999.
Then, with little else to do, he picked up weights from time to time. He moved back to Tampa a few months later, and soon realized that with minimal effort he had lost 13 pounds.
"I'd never lost weight in my life. I liked it."
His walking regimen began in May 2000 with a streak of 67 straight days. A severe storm broke the string and he started a new one that lasted 45 days.
From then on, he’s never taken off two days of in a row, he said.
His current streak began when he was topping his previous best of 132, hit the 150-day mark, and decided to make it 180 — six months.
"Then it became a year and it kept growing and growing. At this point, I just hope to end the streak on my terms, whenever that may be."
Contact Paul Guzzo at [email protected] or follow @PGuzzoTimes.