From Germany to China: A really long run

Kai Markus starts his epic journey from Hamburg to Shanghai! (©JuliaSchwendner)

With my marathon training kicking into high gear, I feel like the long run consumes my life. Scheduling is the number one concern. But once I’ve found a time where I can dash off and run for 3+ hours, I start thinking about every detail: food, fueling, sleep, recovery, physio, my Spotify playlist, my socks. Literally, every element of running is on my mind. If I space out in conversation, it’s probably because I’m thinking about some minor running detail, like whether or not I could fit a pack of nuts in the pocket of my running tights.

Every time, I get a bit overwhelmed about the long run, my mind wanders to Kai Markus, the incredible athlete who is currently running from Germany to China! I mentioned him in my recent post about 361°, as they are his shoe and gear sponsor. He’ll be covering about 12,000km over 235 days, spanning 8 countries, all in 361° clothes and shoes. In fact, organizers predict he may actually go through 30-40 pairs of shoes on his journey!

Kai kicked off his journey last week in Hamburg with a crowd of supporters and press. He’s already travelled about 132km! You can track his progress on his website here.

Kai being interviewed before he starts his run (©JuliaSchwendner)

Given the magnitude of his run, you’re probably thinking that Kai is one of those superhuman ultra runners. He’s actually just a self-proclaimed “crazy guy” and sports enthusiast trying to connect German and Chinese societies. He’s keen to encourage younger generations to pursue and fulfill their dreams. “Where there’s a will, there’s a way,” he says.

While my marathon training seems a short jaunt by comparison, his motivation for undertaking this challenge inspires me. I love a good story of accomplishment. I love tales of ordinary people taking on seemingly impossible feats. Kai is one of those stories.

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step (next to firefighters) (©JuliaSchwendner)

Due to a super packed week, I have determined that I will have to do my long run (27 km) on Friday morning before work. I’m anticipating that this will be terrible. BUT, I’m trying to find motivation and inspiration from Kai’s story. Running longer puts distance in perspective. Suddenly, 10K feels like a short run, whereas 3 months ago, that would have felt like quite a long distance.

So I’m channelling my inner adventurer. Maybe this long run will be fun and with Kai’s journey going on in the background, it helps make this seem more reasonable. After all, 27km is just 0.2% of Kai’s run.

You can read more about Kai’s run on the Run My Silk Road website, and follow his distance on the map. You can also find out more about his motivation and the team helping him accomplish his goal, and if you’re now feeling suitably inspired, you can also make a donation to the project.

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