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First Woman to Walk Around the World Says She Cheated

November 3, 1996

LONDON (AP) _ The first woman to walk around the world says she cheated by accepting rides across a 1,000-mile stretch of the United States after becoming pregnant.

Ffyona Campbell, who finished her 19,586-mile, 11-year trek across five continents in 1994, said she wants her name removed from the Guinness Book of Records.

``I shouldn’t be remembered as the first woman to walk around the world when I cheated,″ Campbell, 29, told Independent Television on Sunday.

There was no immediate comment from the Guinness Book of Records.

In her newly published autobiography, ``The Whole Story,″ she says the shame of having cheated on the walk made her dabble with drugs and she considered suicide.

``The truth is hard enough to live with but deceit is even harder,″ she wrote. ``Once you’ve lied about your achievements, you’ve created a burden for yourself which you can never, never put down. My lie almost destroyed me.″

Campbell, who returned to Britain between stretches of her walk, wore out 100 pairs of running shoes. In Australia, she walked from Sydney to Perth, in the United States from New York to Los Angeles, and in Europe she crossed the French Pyrenees.

She was nearly raped in Morocco during the grueling two-year trek through Africa and was rescued by the French Foreign Legion from riots in Zaire.

Campbell had said earlier she sometimes felt like a prisoner, spending 10 hours a day with no one to talk to and without mental stimulation.

She told Independent Television that while crossing the United States in 1985, she got rides on her support truck from Indianapolis, Ind., to Fort Summer, N.M., a distance of some 1,000 miles.

``I got into the back of the vehicle and drove ahead and didn’t drive back to continue walking properly,″ she told ITN, saying she felt weak after becoming pregnant by her back-up driver. She later had an abortion.

More than a year later, she completed the walk from Indianapolis to Fort Summer, alone and in secret, she said.

Cheering fans greeted her in October 1994 when she marched into John o’Groat’s at the northern tip of Scotland at the end of her journey.

``They were walking beside me as a role model. They were respecting me. To them I owe the biggest apology,″ Campbell told ITN.

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