UTICA, N.Y. (WUTR) — While the rest of us have spent the last few days complaining about the intense heat, Wai Law has been running 55 miles a day in it.
Wai is running the Empire State Trail, in honor of a friend’s father, who died in 2017 after a battle with Parkinson’s Disease. Wai’s ruin is raising money for the Thomas Hartman Center for Parkinson’s Research at Stony Brook University and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
Originally, Wai had hoped to reach New York City by July 4. Now, it looks like he’ll be there by Monday, July 5, instead. “I didn’t choose to do it in this type of condition, but at the same time, I feel that, you know… Life is life. Sometimes you just don’t have a choice,” Law explained. “You just push on.”
Beginning in Buffalo on Friday, Wai has hit a few setbacks on his run so far. One night, he had to sleep under a bridge as he struggled to find a good place to set up camp, and the extreme heat and unpredictable weather have put him behind his original schedule. Wai also had issues with a new trail near lock 20 in Marcy due to ongoing construction and the lack of signs indicating the correct route.
Still, his optimism and people’s encouraging words and generosity have kept him going. “Riding by, coming by and as soon as they pass me they realize that it’s me they turn back and said, ‘Good Luck,'” Law explained. “And I said, ‘Oh, that cheered me up!’”
His 555-mile trek has taken him through parts of New York he’s never been to and brought him in contact with people who showed him the far-reaching impact that Parkinson’s has on people and their families. “It turned out a lot of them are having the connection to Parkinson’s Disease,” Law said. “Which is what I want to learn about it. tThat is the mission of my journey, basically.”