An Unlikely Adventurer
“I just can’t believe it’s over,” Jamie said, summing up his latest epic adventure. Jamie is the first person ever to complete an unsupported, cross-Canada run. The coast-to-coast run included a total of 200+ marathons; covering more than 5,000 miles in 11 months and raising more than $200,000 for children’s charities in the UK and Canada in the process.
Not bad for a 27-year old from Gloucester, England who spent most of his childhood in hospital with epilepsy, a debilitating immune deficiency and a life threatening condition called syringomyelia.
Jamie’s cross-Canada run for charity was inspired by Canadian fundraiser and amputee Terry Fox, who unfortunately lost his leg to cancer but decided to run across Canada to prove anything was possible. Sadly after 143 days, the cancer returned and Fox tragically died at 22 years old. He wanted to raise $1 for every person in Canada and after his death, his dreams were met; he raised over $500 million.
Starting the run across Canada with an injury, and enduring
Setting off with 66 pounds of gear on his back in an obese bag called ‘Barry,’ Jamie completely destroyed his quads, knees and feet. So in the ultimate tale of running despite injury, Jamie piled his gear into a baby stroller called ‘Caesar,’ and ended up pushing 132 pounds to ensure he could continue.
Think about how you feel after a marathon or even after a short run. Now imagine doing that over and over again. Now, imagine doing that pushing 132 pounds of gear. In his run across Canada, Jamie ran over 200 marathons. You can’t even imagine the toll that takes on your body. No wonder he kept getting aches, pains and injuries. He even ran 2,000 miles with chronic tendonitis and went through 13 pairs of running shoes.
Running through a Canadian winter
There’s not much that compares to a good Canadian winter – when it comes to cold, wind and snow. Jamie was running through the Rockies and more in temperatures of -40 degrees Fahrenheit. He slept rough and battled with 40 mile per hour winds. He said "the Canadians must think I’m some kind of nut job," and he couldn’t be more right. But he was running for charity, and the people he met inspired him to continue his run across Canada.
The support of the Canadians made the weather, injuries and wrong turns much easier to bear. He met young girls who shaved their heads in support of friends with cancer. He was given bubble baths, free salads, hotel rooms, hot meals, donations and so much more.
Reflections on running for charity 5,000+ miles and $200,000 later
“I have worked for so long and given this run everything I have, physically and mentally, that to finally dip my hand into the Pacific Ocean eleven months and more than 200 marathons after doing the same thing in the Atlantic Ocean is just incredible. I feel a real mix of emotions. I’m ecstatic that I have finished. I’m honored to have met so many amazing people in what is truly a beautiful country. I’m humbled by the support people in the UK and Canada have given me. I’m hopeful that my run has and will inspire people to know that we can do whatever we put our mind to. And, of course, I’m sad that it’s over as it’s been such a big part of my life and I’m uncertain about what happens next.”
Jamie McDonald has done Terry Fox proud. He has come back with a little bit missing from his nose (from frostbite), some pretty impressive tales and a thirst for more. Some people just need adventure and I get exactly where he is coming from, “I felt like there’s something missing in my life. I think most people feel that. I found something that fulfils everything I wanted to achieve in life. Now I just want more.”
That’s definitely not the last we will be hearing from Jamie McDonald - the superhero who ran across Canada.
You can learn more about Jamie at jamiemcdonald.org