Imagine running a marathon; 42 kilometres of sweat, exhaustion and aching joints. Now imagine running a marathon every day for eight months. This is what one man is doing in an effort to raise money for sick children.
Jamie McDonald, a 26 year-old from Gloucester, England is attempting to run across Canada. Jamie is seeking to make history by doing this roughly 8,000-km journey with no support crew.
To achieve this, he is pushing all of his worldly belongings in a three-wheeled chariot. The self-proclaimed “Crazy Brit” originally intended on running the entire journey with nothing but a backpack but had to improvise after injuring his foot early in his run. To add to his wacky persona, for almost the entire duration of his run, Jamie has been wearing the costume of superhero “The Flash”. This character was selected by his online fans and has been a big hit at many of the children’s hospitals he has visited along the way.
The goal of Jamie’s run is to raise $100,000 to be donated to SickKids Hospital in Toronto along with Great Ormond Street Hospital and the Pied Piper Appeal, two children’s hospitals in his home country. In addition to the three children’s hospitals, Jamie is also running for children’s hospital foundations in Nova Scotia, Quebec, Manitoba and Saskatchewan. He has achieved almost $60,000 to date.
As a child, Jamie was diagnosed with syringomyelia which had him in and out of hospitals for the first nine years of his life. This rare spinal condition kept him in bed for weeks at a time and he would often wake up in the middle of the night unable to move.
At the age of nine, his symptoms suddenly ceased and he found himself able to move and eventually walk again. Since then, he has not stopped and has devoted his life to fundraising, and breaking world records in the process. In 2012, he set the world record for longest bike ride as he rode over 22,000 kilometres from Bangkok, Thailand to his home town in England. Upon returning home, he then broke the world record for number of days spent on a stationary bike pedaling for 11 consecutive days. This fundraising adventurer now has his sights set on making his way across Canada to raise money in hopes of helping other children affected by critical conditions such as he experienced early on in his life.
Jamie began his cross-country journey departing from Newfoundland in March. He is aiming to arrive in Vancouver by December. As Jamie will tell you, the road has been kind at times and perilous at others. Running through the Maritimes and Eastern Canada along the Trans-Canada highway, he has faced a full range of Canadian weather and the unpredictable terrain. Rain, shine, or snow he has managed to overcome the elements and on Halloween he passed into Saskatchewan beginning the final leg of his tour.
Running a marathon a day leaves Jamie little time to eat, sleep and most importantly, engage with his fans. He averages roughly five hours of sleep each day and his diet consists of canned tuna and vegetables which he eats on the go. He has had to pitch his tent on the sides of roads and occasionally people’s front lawns. Although running with no support crew, he has not been without the assistance of kind people along the way. As more and more Canadians hear about his story, residents have stepped in to offer food, clothing and even accommodation for the night. While in Ontario, he was often joined by avid runners who geared up to jog with him for a few kilometres as he passed through their town.
Despite his significant progress, Jamie is running against the clock. His Canadian visa is set to expire in mid-December and he is hoping to be entering Vancouver at this time to mark the end of his record-setting run. In order to achieve this, he must average over a full marathon each day, a distance he has become accustomed to running. Although many challenges lay ahead for Jamie as he makes his way through Western Canada, his adventurous spirit and unrelenting attitude will help him as he attempts to make history and raise money for a cause so close to his heart. He has raised $60,000 to date and is hoping more Canadians will donate as he enters the home stretch of his journey.