SHERMAN OAKS : Vietnam Vet to Mark Return on the Run
Thirty years ago, Michael Liscio was among the first U. S. sailors shipped off to fight in the Vietnam War.
Tuesday, as a celebration of peace 20 years after the United States withdrew its last troops from Saigon, the 51-year-old Sherman Oaks actor and theater owner returns to Hanoi for the run of his life.
Stationed first in Da Nang, then Saigon, Liscio was taken by the ironic beauty of Vietnam among what he calls the Angst and chaos of more than 400 years of war. He said he has always had in the back of his mind to go back to Vietnam.
Liscio, a lifelong athlete, will run in the second annual Hanoi marathon Sunday. Then, shortly after the Vietnamese New Year, celebrated Jan. 29, he will begin the solo trek he is calling the Han-to-Ho Run. Accompanied only by an all-terrain vehicle and its driver, Liscio will run more 1,300 miles from Hanoi to Saigon, now Ho Chi Minh City.
“My wounds have healed,” Liscio said, “but like all wounds, they leave scar tissue. I guess this run is my way of marking that it is time to get over it, leave it behind.”
There have been more than just figurative hurdles for Liscio. He has also had physical problems. Last month, while jogging on a Sherman Oaks street, Liscio tripped in a pothole and broke his leg. That evening, lying on his back, Liscio received the call that his papers had been cleared for entrance into the marathon.
Liscio remains in a foam cast, but has devised a method for running despite the injury; he puts another cast on the healthy leg. The weight balance allows him to run without crutches, although friends say he runs like Lurch, the humongous cadaver character from “The Addams Family” television show and movies.
Performing well is his best revenge, Liscio said, pointing out that he can still manage a 12-minute mile, broken leg, two casts and all.
Estimating that the 1,300-mile run will take more than 2 1/2 months, the former Mr. Teenage America will be spending his 52nd birthday on the way to Ho Chi Minh City. And running through China Beach, the approximate midpoint of his journey, sounds to Liscio like quite a celebration.
“Running has just always made me feel good about life,” he said.