Running through Canada coast to coast

Jamie McDonald

racing 300x225 Running through Canada coast to coast My name’s Jamie McDonald and against all odds, I guess you could say I’ve become something of an adventurer. I’m about to embark upon a huge charity challenge and wanted to write a few words.

Last year, I cycled 14,000 miles from Bangkok to my hometown Gloucester, passing through dozens of countries. Along the way I was shot at, arrested and slept rough but I met some of the kindest, most genuine people the world has to offer. One of my highlights was cycling through a city called Batman in Turkey with my cousin Kev dressed as Batman and Robin!

Just two days after I finished the journey back from Bangkok; I made the decision to attempt the world static cycling record, which stood at 224 hours and 24 minutes. It was a challenge I’d conceived whilst I was cycling from Bangkok and one I wasn’t sure I’d be able to complete but the longer I cycled the more I began to believe in myself.

I finally stepped off the exercise bike set up within a marquee in Gloucester after pedalling for a world record breaking 265 hours – more than eleven days! I was so grateful to everybody who helped me raise tens of thousands of pounds during both challenges for the Pied Piper appeal.

As a child, I was in and out of Gloucester Royal hospital for nine years with a rare spinal condition known as syringomyelia, as well as a very weak immune system, and the Pied Piper’s help was invaluable. I also spent a great deal of time at Great Ormond Street.

I’m not the fittest man in the world. I’m certainly no athlete. But what I have learned about myself is that I have a mental toughness I didn’t know I had and, having been told I’ve inspired others after raising more than £20,000, I realise it would be a waste to do anything other than continue raising money through experiencing adventure and tackling adversity.

With that in mind, from March to December this year I’ll be attempting to run Canada coast to coast, more than 5,000 miles unaided, jointly raising money in aid of Great Ormond Street Children’s Charity and the Pied Piper Appeal. I’ll be the first person in history to run it alone if I complete it. I’ll face snow storms, -30°C temperatures, hundreds of miles without food and water and grizzly bears, all whilst carrying a 15kg backpack – the weight of a small child.

I’ll be trying to keep my Twitter and Facebook profiles updated, as well as recording videos I’ll upload throughout the challenge as I did throughout my cycle home from Bangkok. I’m hoping to raise £60,000. With their £30,000 share, presuming I reach my target, Great Ormond Street Children’s Charity will be able to fund members of the play hospital team.

Starting in March, I’ll begin my run from St John’s, Labrador and aim to complete my journey in Vancouver, through mountain ranges, national parks and dangerous terrain. This will without doubt be my toughest challenge yet. Some days I may only make it a few miles given the harshness of the terrain but I’ll persevere no matter what.

The support throughout my last two challenges was phenomenal and I really want to show people that you can do anything you put your mind to. I can’t say I’m not nervous being the first person to do it unaided, because there’ll be danger in every step, food will be scarce and there’ll be nothing for hundreds of miles at times. I’m in no doubt that my life is in serious danger doing it unaided, but I’m confident in my ability and will be spurred on by the thought I’m raising money for charities close to my heart. Thank you to each and every person who reads about, shares or donates to my challenge. Every penny counts and I couldn’t be more grateful!

Click here to visit my YouTube channel, including twelve videos chronicling the journey back from Bangkok

This short video shows my experiences cycling from Bangkok to Gloucester

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