Canadian ultra-marathoner starts 8,000 km run from Florida to Quebec next month

Jan 3 2023, 9:40 pm

What are your goals for the new year? Because an ultra-marathon runner in Quebec probably has you beat.

Joan Roch, a 49-year-old author and athlete from Quebec, is taking 2023 to unbelievable distances.

The ultra-marathoner is prepping for a nearly 8,000-kilometre run from Florida to Quebec’s GaspĂ© Penninsula.

Roch, a resident of Montreal’s Longueuil suburb, says he plans to leave for Key West on February 26 and will follow the Appalachian mountain range to Forillon National Park.

Once he departs from Florida, the ultra-athlete says it will take him five months to reach Gaspé, shortly before his 50th birthday.

According to his French website, Roch’s journey will begin at the southernmost point of the continental United States, ascend the Florida Trail, and travel through Alabama, Georgia, and Maine before continuing into Canada with the International Appalachian Trail in New Brunswick.

On average, Roch will travel about 50 kilometres per day (more than a marathon), a distance that will depend on elevation and terrain.

While parts of the GaspĂ© leg will be taxing, the 49-year-old Quebecer says he’s mostly worried about Florida — specifically the heat, humidity, swamps, and yes, alligators.

Alligators aside, Roch says food will also be a challenge as he plans to (obviously) travel lightly. He says he’ll have to eat about 6,000 calories a day to fuel his run, in the form of carbohydrate-rich snacks like gels, chews, and sports drinks.

The soon-to-be 50-year-old also cautions how difficult it will be for his body. He says adaptations will take place over several weeks as he’s running.

He says he’s primarily doing the run for his wife and three kids and to prove to people all over the world to take on “wild projects, no matter their age.”

The athlete — who’s a data scientist by day — says he believes that anyone can reach his ultra-marathon level, it’s all about the mindset and determination.

To support the god-like trek, visit Roch’s Ko-fi page to make a donation.

Ty JadahTy Jadah

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