Run, Izyaslav, run.
In May, Izyaslav Koza, a Moldova-born man living in New Jersey, was on a personal quest to impress his girlfriend. And, like Forrest Gump before him, he did it by running.
Starting in Müstair on the Italian border of Switzerland, Koza ran 500 kilometers (310 miles) across the country to Chancy in the canton of Geneva. The entire run took him from May 22 until May 31.
This wasn’t Koza’s first cross-country run to impress the love of his life. He told Travel + Leisure he also conquered Ireland, Cuba, the U.S., the U.K., and France. However, this run was a little more special, since it ended with a proposal.
He chose Switzerland because his Ukrainian-born girlfriend once hoped to live here before coming to the U.S. Koza told The Local: “All these runs were associated with winning her heart...It’s easy to say you care about someone when you are in a comfortable situation but when you are out of your comfort zone...[it's more difficult].”
Koza ran during the day, carrying his own food and belongings and staying at hotels at night. His run took him through incredible vistas and historic cities, including Swiss National Park, Davos, Zurich, Biel/Bienne, and Neuchâtel.
“It’s unquestionably the most beautiful country. Every day you have mountains or lakes,” he told The Local. Koza noted how much of the country and culture he soaked up, from its access to free water to the Swiss love of punctuality.
And apparently the Swiss are also keen on good hospitality and a good story. “Yesterday I came upon an Italian restaurant and as soon as I stepped in the owner heard my story and said I have to treat you lunch, it’s on me. I was really touched,” Koza said.
His girlfriend flew into Geneva to meet him on May 31. She said yes, according to The Local.