A German and a Guatemalan yesterday set out on a month-long “running” journey around Taiwan, carrying the national flag to express their love for the country.
“We’re really excited and really looking forward to this,” said Sebastian Ang of Germany, adding that the excitement was so overwhelming that he did not go to bed until midnight the previous night.
Ang, 34, and 32-year-old David Vega had originally planned to embark on the 1,100km trip to raise funds for their mobile application development start-up, but later decided to do the run without financial aid.
Throughout the 30-day trip, one of their employees will accompany them on a bicycle carrying basic necessities.
The two men set off at 7:15am from their office in Taipei, heading to Tamsui District (淡水), New Taipei City (新北市), on a clockwise run around the nation to promote the beauty of Taiwan, and are scheduled to return to Taipei on July 30, their Web site said.
Due to the heat, they will only run in the early mornings and late afternoons, Ang said, adding that they will use the rest of the time to update photographs, videos and anecdotes from each day of their run on their Web site, taiwanrun.com, which is available in Chinese, English, Spanish and German.
Over the month-long trip, the three plan to spend as little money as they can, and to see if Taiwanese will provide them with accommodation. They are also carrying a tent.
Any help is welcome, Ang said, adding that running along with them would be a great way to show public support.
“This is definitely a challenge for all of us, but it will bring us close together at the same time,” Ang said, adding that “the extreme hardship” will also serve as a great opportunity for team building.
It will be a tough journey as the first leg of the trip, to Tamsui, which is about 24km from their starting point, already exceeds the longest distance they had run before, the German said.
“The excitement will lead us through,” said Vega, who is not used to running and only began training two weeks ago.
Some of their friends also showed up in the early morning to cheer for them.
“I’m sure they’ll be much more tanned and slimmer when they return,” said Yannick Schwab of Germany, who has known the two since 2010, when they were studying for their MBAs at National Chengchi University.
Schwab called them crazy, but praised their courage, saying that it will be a great life experience for them and will create a shared memory.