For many runners a 26-mile marathon is the ultimate distance goal. But for a Canadian man who’s running through Vermont on his way to Argentina, 26 miles is all in a day’s work.
Joseph Michael Kai-tsu Liu Roqueni (his dual last names reflect his Chinese and Mexican heritage) is running south through Vermont. Running south is what the 32-year-old will be doing for most of the next two years as he journeys through 14 countries and covers nearly 12,000 miles, much of it barefoot.
“Sometimes I go fast, sometimes I go really, really slow,” says Liu Roqueni, “depending on how tired I am or how my body feels.”
The Canadian left Montreal July 2nd and admits he’s still finding his rhythm. Because of the hot pavement, he’s wearing lightweight running sandals. They make a rhythmic clickity-clack on the pavement.
“When I start the runs in the morning,” he says, “it’s kind of hard.” But it’s getting easier and he says he’s nearing his goal of 30 miles a day. He says he breaks every few days to let his body rest and stops to savor air conditioning when possible - this time at the Pittsford library.
“I’m feeling more confident,” says Liu Roqueni. “My brother is helping me to get to the next two or three days ahead of me and I don’t want to think beyond that, because if I do, it’s just too overwhelming.”
Liu Roqueni says he wanted to do something life changing and began thinking of what last year while finishing college.
“It wasn’t just one day that I said, I’m going to run to Argentina. It was a process. I thought of doing it driving,” says Liu Roqueni , “but then I’d need a car and I don’t have one. I thought of doing it with a bicycle, but it’s been done. So, I wanted to do something original, something different - something that nobody has done yet.”
He also wants his run to raise money for education and has tried to partner with education foundations in each of the 14 countries he’s traveling through. He admits he hasn’t found a partner in the U.S. yet but hopes that will change now that he’s begun.
In the meantime, sponsors have donated most of his gear and hotels have provided free lodging. He also carries a 20-pound backpack with a tent, sleeping bag and other equipment.
The running, he says will test his limits while the days of rest will give him time to think and blog about his travels.
“Throughout this whole two year process I’m going to learn so much,” says Liu Roqueni, “I’m going to see so much and meet so many people and places. And become a better person and hopefully inspire other people.” One step at a time.