Adventurer, Fundraiser, Speaker, Part-time Superhero
Jamie McDonald, against all odds, has become something of an adventurer.
Jamie spent the first nine years of his life in and out of hospital with a rare spinal condition known as syringomyelia. Combined with a very weak immune system and epilepsy, Jamie’s health was very poor. He was treated at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital and Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital in London. At nine years old, the symptoms eased, something Jamie attributes to an effort to become more active.
After working as a tennis instructor to save up for a deposit on a house that he did not buy – Jamie then began a quest, with his own money, to give back to the hospitals that supported him.
In 2012, he bought a second hand bike and decided to cycle the 14,000 miles from Bangkok to his hometown Gloucester, passing through dozens of countries. Along the way he was shot at, arrested and slept rough. He documented his journey in a series of YouTube clips, including a highlight video of the entire journey.
Just two days after he finished the journey back from Bangkok; he made the decision to attempt the world static cycling record, which stood at 224 hours and 24 minutes. It was a challenge he’d conceived whilst cycling from Bangkok.
He finally stepped off the exercise bike set up within a marquee in Gloucester after pedalling for a world record breaking 268 hours – more than eleven days. Throughout both challenges, Jamie raised tens of thousands of pounds for a charity that benefits the children’s ward of Gloucester Royal Hospital.
These feats sparked a thought in Jamie’s mind – if he was never a cyclist before these two challenges, but he could go on to break one of the toughest official world cycling records – what else could he achieve?
In February 2014, Jamie finished an historic journey across Canada, becoming the first person in history to run the 5,000 miles from the Atlantic coast to the Pacific coast without the aid of a support crew. Starting in March 2013, his run raised more than £250,000 for sick children in Canada and the UK. He battled -40°C temperatures, the Rockies, a frostbitten nose, numerous potentially challenge-stopping injuries (including the permanent misshaping of his right foot) and more to finish in Vancouver, running the equivalent of a marathon most days – whilst wearing a Superhero costume The Flash. Yup, one costume the entire time – mental. He filmed his journey all the way across to create a short, BBC documentary.
His adventures have made news (feel free to have a gander at some of his interviews) all over the world!
After the adventures, Jamie cites current and future generations to achieve, as a huge motivation. Since he has created a new Superhero, Adventureman, inspires people through Motivational Speaking, and hopes to continue to inspire and empower people through his new charity: Superhero Foundation. And of course, it goes without saying, that he’ll be taking on other challenges and adventures for the near future.
What people say….
“Love your appetite for pain” ~ Prince Harry
“An inspiring individual” ~ Sir Steve Redgrave (Five consecutive Olympic Gold Medals)
“You’re a true hero” ~ Rebecca Adlington (Double Olympic Gold Medalist)
“Nuts” ~ Chris Evans (TV and Radio Presenter)
“I’ve done some pretty hair raising things in my time, but even I’m not daft enough to take on some of the challenges you’ve completed” ~ Eddie ‘The Eagle’ Edwards (Living legend – British Olympic Ski Jumper)
“The Incredible Hulk has nothing on you” ~ Eamon Holmes (TV Presenter)
“You are everything the world needs” ~ Rick Hansen (Canadian hero for a two year around the world trip in a wheelchair)
“Jamie, you’re a testament, that you can always achieve your dreams” ~ Colin Jackson (Double World Champion)
“You are proof, that with grit and determination are what you need to succeed” ~ Paula Radcliffe (World Record Holder Marathoner)
“I could never do what you do, mad” ~ Dame Kelly Holmes (Double Olympic Gold Medalist)
“You make such a difference in the world” ~ Holly Willoughby (TV Presenter)
Honours and Awards…
Guinness World Record for ‘Marathon Static Cycling’, pedalling for 268 hours (more than 12 days) ~ 2013.
White Hatted in Calgary (in previous years the likes of Prince William, Kate Middleton, Arnold Schwarznegger and many more have also been White Hatted) ~ 2013.
Voted ‘Male Runner Of The Year’ and awarded the ‘Golden Shoe’ from Canadian Running magazine ~ 2013.
Medal of the City of Gloucester – the highest accolade the Mayor of Gloucester can bestow ~ 2013.
Independent’s ‘Happy List’ – the top 100 happiest people in the UK ~ 2014.
Ambassador of the Year at the Believe in Gloucester Awards ~ 2014.
Named West Countries Pride of Britain ‘Fundraiser of the Year’ ~ 2014.
Sat on the Surprise Surprise sofa with Holly Willoughby (not quite an award, but Jamie’s cheekiest honour yet!) ~ 2014.
National Adventure Award Winner for ‘Fundraiser of the Year’ ~ 2014.
Honorary Fellowship (one of the most prestigious awards that the School can bestow) from the University of Gloucestershire ~ 2015.