A 44-year-old German fitness enthusiast has set out on a long run from Hamburg to Shanghai to “break down prejudice” against China.
Kai Markus left Elbphilharmonie, Hamburg’s newly-opened concert hall, on March 12 to start his 12,000-kilometer (7,456-mile) journey. He believes it will take him 235 days to reach Shanghai.
Describing himself as “crazy,” Markus hopes that his run will strengthen the connection between Germany and China and encourage young people to realize their dreams.
He also wants to change people’s outdated perceptions about China. His arduous journey apparently takes cue from the country’s “One Belt, One Road” plan, as he wrote:
“China is trying to become better and better. Now the new ‘one road one belt’ and ‘made in China 2025’ policy really fit my way of thinking.”
To help change others’ views on China, Markus vows to use Chinese products in his journey to prove that they endure. He also credits traditional Chinese medicine for curing his shoulder pain — a problem “most European medicines” failed to solve.
The Bavaria-native attributes his interest in China to his grandparents, a former teacher and former Chancellor Helmut Schmidt. He had visited the country “so often.”
“There are plenty of similarities between Chinese culture and Bavarian, so I have a very close feeling to China, its culture, and society,” he says.
Markus, who just reached Warsaw, Poland, is scheduled to cross Belarus, Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan before finally reaching China, Deutsche Welle noted. He expects to wear over 50 pairs of shoes throughout the run.