Interview with Suzhou Striders star: Booker Liu
After storming the first place at Guangfu trail race on 22 November, I had the privilege of interviewing the star: Booker Liu
1/ How long have you been running?
I started running in 2012, I ran a marathon and trained for 3 months. Before that, I was doing other sports but not running. My first marathon time was 3 hours, 30 minutes.
2/ How has Suzhou Striders helped your running and what attracted you to Suzhou Striders?
I moved to Suzhou in 2018, no other friends were running with me, I just ran by myself. I was alone. Some local runners did train with me but it was hard to join a local group of runners, there were less runners in Suzhou at that time. Fortunately, I met Michael in a race in September 2018. He said ‘it would be great if we could train together’ and we started training together every Tuesday and Sunday. So, I began to run more regularly, it was more fun and I was more motivated.
3/How did Suzhou Striders start?
In the beginning Michael and I did training every Tuesday. Parkrun started on Saturdays, the first one was 13th October 2018. I was a volunteer. At first I wasn’t too keen, I thought 5 km was too short and I had to travel 1 hour to the start line. But I discovered the concept of Parkrun and realized there was a social aspect, it’s not just about the running. After that, more people joined the Tuesday sessions. At that stage there were ten regular people who trained together. As a team we discussed the schedule and designed the logo. Chris hand painted it and then we found a digital designer. Sunday long runs started up.
4/What is your biggest running achievement?
Completing my first marathon. It was in my hometown, Langzhou, when I was a university student.
5/As an experienced runner, what would your advice be to new runners?
Be patient, enjoy running and build distance. Before you join a half or full marathon. Study the theory behind running, for example, injury prevention and make sure you train with friends for more motivation
6/What is your favourite running shoe brand?
For trail running; Xstep, it’s a Chinese brand. My favourite trail shoes are Hokka.
7/Why did you move to Suzhou?
For my job, I wanted to try a new environment in my work. Suzhou is more open and international.
8/What are your top three restaurants in Suzhou?
1- Bashenjie for dumplings
2- Yanyyang for Chinese food
3- Il Milione for Italian.