Montrealer breaks Tai-Chi marathon world record in Victoria Square
Scott Prouse, CTV News Montreal
Published Friday, September 20, 2019 3:54PM EDT
Samuel Michaud is surprisingly lucid after being awake and moving for 29 consecutive hours in Victoria Square.
Considering he has been practising the ancient Chinese mind and body discipline of Tai-Chi for the entire time, maybe it’s not so surprising.
“I feel great actually. I’m filled with energy. I’m in a little bit of physical pain but I’m good to go,” he said.
Michaud broke the world record for longest Tai-Chi marathon Sept. 20 at noon and was still moving and grooving as the downtown lunch crowd filled the square.
His goal is to make it to the 36-hour mark.
“I thought it would be the perfect place to do such a challenge. Being surrounded by buildings, traffic and stressed people. To have that contrast between the Tai-Chi slow movement and downtown Montreal,” he said.
Michaud has been practising Tai-Chi for 15 years and decided to undertake the challenge to make it into the Guinness World Records. He also started a Gofundme campaign to raise money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Michaud asked some in the crowd to join him and shadow his movements as he broke the record.
Lise Groleau was one of about a dozen who joined in. She has been practising Tai-Chi for five years and says she is inspired by Michaud’s efforts.
“I cannot imagine it - it’s too much," she said. "That guy is amazing. You have to have a strong mind and a special spirit because your body is going to go through a lot of obstacles.”
Ricardo Nyam also joined in for the short Tai-Chi session. He said Michaud’s training discipline is what most impressed him.
“This guy is next level. He had to train for months and months like you would do for a marathon,” he said.
Michaud spent much of the past three months preparing himself for the record-breaking feat. He is only allowed to rest for five minutes every hour, so he trained with a hypnotherapist to find a ‘trigger’ that allows him to reach a deep state of sleep within a very short amount of time. He has also altered his diet and eating habits and began micro-dosing food so that his digestive system has a memory of his diet and eating habits and he won’t feel tired or hungry during his Tai-Chi challenge.
He also spent 30 out of 36 hours walking around Montreal one night, from Victoria Square to the airport, to Rosemont and then back again to Victoria Square.
Michaud credits the mental lessons Tai-Chi has taught him, as well as his friends and family, to get him through the endeavour, but he says the record is not necessarily what’s driving him.
“It’s more about the challenge and what I can learn from it,” he said.