It's a quest to the 'End of the World'

MANCHESTER - His journey, in at least one way, is reminiscent of the academy-award winning film Forrest Gump. But instead of traversing the country from his home in fictional Greenbow County, Ala., Joseph Michael Liu Roqueni is on a two-year excursion that will take him from his home in Montreal, Quebec, Canada to Ushuaia, Argentina, the capital of Tierra del Fuego - often referred to as the southern most city in the world. Last Friday afternoon, Liu Roqueni was taking a brief rest in Manchester following his 30-mile run from Rutland, which he had completed the day before as part of his Running to the End of the World project.

"The town I'm going to they call it The End of the World town that's why the project is called Running to the End of the World," said Liu Roqueni. The trip, Liu Roqueni said, is to raise funds for educational foundations.

"The plan is to have one foundation in each country that I run across. Unfortunately I don't have one in the U.S. yet and I haven't found one so all the donations are going to the Canadian foundation called Pathways to Education," he said. "Hopefully we'll find one in the U.S. and all the donations [will] stay in the U.S. for education and that's the plan. When I go to Mexico I have another foundation there and so on."

The trip began on July 2 and Liu Roqueni said the plan is to average between 20 and 30 miles a day. A typical day begins by waking up around 7 a.m. and beginning the run about an hour later toting his 20 pound backpack.

"I try to start very early because it's not as hot," said Liu Roqueni. "The ideal would be to run about 15 miles then stop and rest [during] the hottest part of the day and then around 4 or 5 o'clock do the second run when it starts to cool down again, but I tend to just hang out for a couple of hours. I just want to continue running and it's still really hot."

Liu Roqueni said he has to stop and rehydrate and take a brief rest about every two hours before beginning to run again. Originally, he was planning to take the Appalaichian Trail when he got to Vermont and follow it down to Atlanta, Ga. However, due to the nature of the trail, he said he will remain on the roads.

When he reaches Panama - which he expects to be about a year from now - Liu Roqueni said he will take a boat from Panama City to northern Columbia. From there, the plan is to take the Inca Trail, but he said that could change.

A recent college graduate, Liu Roqueni said he chose to make the trip now while he has the opportunity.

"I don't have any jobs. This is my job I guess and I don't have any committments," Liu Roqueni said. "I don't have children, or a wife, or a mortgage, or a lease on an apartment. I have no attachments. So, I'm taking these two years to do this and then we'll see." To make a donation, go to Liu Roqueni's website

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