Ambitious Jogger Is Running from Canada to Argentina Barefoot

Joseph Michael Liu Kai-Tsu Roqueni, a young engineer from Montreal, is planning to raise money for charity by running 19,000 kilometers, from Canada to Argentina, within 18 months, barefoot.

The self-described “Chexican” – because of his Chinese, Mexican and Canadian heritage – had been training for his epic barefoot run across the Americas for a year before he finally kicked off his official trek on July 2.  Joseph left from his hometown of Montreal and will cross 14 countries all the way down to Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, known as the southernmost city in the world. His feet will cover 19,000 kilometers (11,806 miles), a distance about 7,000 kilometers greater than the Earth’s diameter.  The 32-year-old engineer is not the first person in the world to run such a great distance, but he is the first who plans on doing it without proper running shoes. Roqueni has always tried to do things differently, and the biggest motivation for running to the end of the world barefoot was that “no one else had done it”. It’s also the cheaper alternative, because he won’t have to spend thousands of dollars on dozens of pairs, and he’ll be able to move faster without the extra baggage slowing him down.


Photo: Running to the End of the World/Facebook

The barefoot runner plans to run 25 kilometers (15.5 miles) or two and a half hours, whichever one comes first, twice a day. To prepare for this grueling challenge, Liu Kai-Tsu has practiced running on all the surfaces he is going to encounter on his journey, and aims to stay clear of paved roads because they are the most harmful surfaces for human feet. To make sure blisters don’t get in the way of his reaching his ultimate goal, the runner has packed four pairs of running sandals which he plans on wearing only when his feet become too sensitive. Unlike Jesper Olsen, the famous athlete who ran 42,000 kilometers around the globe escorted by a support team and wearing proper footwear, the ambitious Chexican doesn’t have anyone to help him if something bad happens. He is only carrying a first-aid kit and an emergency button which calls in an a rescue helicopter, although Joseph tries not think about a scenario in which he would need to use it. Even if something were to go horribly wrong, he says he would go back to Canada to get treated and resume his journey once he’s feeling better. “I will not give up easily,” he says.


Photo: Running to the End of the World/Facebook

A proper diet seems crucial during such a monumental physical challenge, but the barefoot runner says he will just eat whatever he finds along the way. He will try to consume chia seeds, which have about 21% more protein than grains such as wheat, corn, rice or oats, and his sponsors have also provided him with ample supplies of granola bars and vegetable supplements. Apart from physical hardships, Joseph Michael Liu Kai-Tsu Roqueni will also have to deal with the mental challenge of being isolated most of the time during his 18-month journey to the southernmost tip of Argentina.


Photo: Running to the End of the World/Facebook

The young Canadian told reporters he was inspired to embark on his barefoot journey by Ernesto “Che” Guevara’s famous motorcycle ride across South America, but also by the story of a Uruguayan rugby team stranded in the mountains for over two months after their plane crashed in the Chilean Andes and Italian mountaineer Reinhold Messner who has climbed all 14 of the world’s “eight-thousanders” (peaks over 8,000 meters above sea level) without oxygen.


To follow Joseph Michael Liu Kai-Tsu Roqueni progress as he runs across the Americas barefoot, check out Running to the End of the World.

Source: CNN