Iron Butt Olympiads

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5. 65 Pairs of Rented Bowling Shoes

Talk about sparing no expenses: Mike Walsh, a 27-year-old Chicago marketing manager, quit his job and borrowed his mom's car for a cross-country bowling adventure.

Maybe it wasn't a very good idea, but, as Walsh admits, he's not a very good bowler. Even after playing in all 50 states, logging 25,211 miles on his mother's 1994 Honda Accord, his bowling average is a modest 132.

Being on a limited budget, Walsh stayed in the homes of 53 people across the country, and rented 65 pairs of bowling shoes without ever developing a foot fungus.

A low point: Bowling with an ex-girlfriend and her current boyfriend in Virginia. "She asks, 'How it going?' " Walsh recalls. "What do I say? 'I quit my job, and I'm hanging out in bowling alleys. Want some nachos?' "

Yet Walsh somehow talked Miller Beer into underwriting the triumphant final leg of his journey on March 5, 2003, when he bowled in Anchorage, Alaska, and Hilo, Hawaii, on the same day.

Now, back at his old job, he boasts that he consumed about 840 beers and 63 orders of nachos in six months, while gaining seven pounds — and bragging rights.

"I'm almost certain that I'm the only person who's ever bowled in those two states on the same day," Walsh says. "I'll be crushed if I find out otherwise."

Buck Wolf is entertainment producer at The Wolf Files is published Tuesdays. If you want to receive weekly notice when a new column is published, join the e-mail list.