Pride of Britain winner announces new and enormous trans-US solo run
Three years after the end of a 5,000-mile solo run across Canada, during which real-life superhero Jamie McDonald raised more than £250,000 for children’s charities, the fundraiser has announced that he will be running across the United States, again dressed as a superhero. Due to his year-long visa, he is in a race against time to complete the challenge, and will be running a marathon most days to complete it.
Here he is on Sky News’ Breakfast Show chatting about the next adventure:
31-year-old Jamie McDonald, from Gloucester, spent the first nine years of his life in and out of hospital with a rare spinal condition; syringomyelia. Combined with a very weak immune system and epilepsy, Jamie’s health was very poor – his family feared he might lose his mobility altogether. At nine years old, and against the odds, his symptoms eased, allowing Jamie to slowly become more active.
For the last four years, Jamie, now 31, has been working tirelessly to give back. He’s raised more than £500,000 for children’s charities, hospitals and causes around the world throughout his many adventures. He was named as the Pride of Britain ‘Fundraiser of the Year’ for the west for his effort, among many other accolades.
In the time since his last adventure, Jamie has co-founded Gloucestershire-based Superhero Foundation, a charity that grants money to families for treatment not otherwise available on the NHS. He has also written the best-selling book ‘Adventureman: Anyone Can Be a Superhero’, the story of his life to this point – no mean feat for somebody that struggles with dyslexia, and retook his GCSEs aged 23. All proceeds from the book go to charity.
What Jamie did next
On the 10th April 2018, following a book tour throughout Canada retracing his run (details here), Jamie will begin another 200 marathon adventure journey that will take him right the way across the United States. He’ll run through more than fifteen states, beginning at the westernmost point of the United States – Cape Alava in Washington. He’ll travel through many others, including California, Texas, Tennessee, Washington D.C. and New York, on his way to the easternmost point of mainland USA, West Quoddy Head Lighthouse in Maine.
He can be followed using this live tracker: https://www.jamiemcdonald.org/tracker. The page also includes a route map for the adventure.
Running by himself and without a support crew yet again, Jamie will battle through desolate and lonely deserts, sub-zero temperatures and the constant threat of wild animals, injuries and the uncertain elements. He will wild camp en route.
Whereas Jamie ran dressed as the superhero The Flash throughout Canada, he’ll be running as his alter ego Adventureman, in a custom-made costume designed by then-10-year-old, Conner Reddy.
In the UK, the fundraising target is £250,000, with 100% of donations going towards Superhero Foundation, a charity Jamie co-founded that grants money to families for treatment not otherwise available on the NHS. UK supporters can donate here.
In the US, the fundraising target is $1m, split 50/50 between Superhero Foundation and children’s hospitals in each state he runs through, enabling American supporters to donate directly to the hospitals in their state. Jamie will stop at children’s hospitals and schools along the way, delivering talks and meeting the children he hopes his donations will help. American’s can donate here.
“I’ve had an itch to get out again for the last few years, but was desperate to build something that could run alongside my adventures – and I massively underestimated the work that goes into something like that!
“I’m absolutely terrified, but also hugely excited at the same time to get back out and do what I love most all over again, challenging myself and meeting amazing people along the way. I do feel like there’s more of an expectation on my shoulders this time though, that of course I’ll complete this challenge, but being realistic, there’s a good chance I will fail. It’s a longer journey by a good thirty marathons and I’m not in the shape I was before Canada, after I’d done the cycling challenges. Add that to the fact I only have a year-long visa, and I’m really not sure that I can make it.”
“I just hope I can raise enough money and make a difference to the sick kids and their families that we will be trying to help. And to also make everyone proud who have supported my adventures in the past. I’ll just try my best I suppose.”
Superhero Foundation has helped many families, like these mentioned on this Superheroes page. All money donated to Superhero Foundation will go towards building a physical presence and bank of resources to help support even more families fundraising for treatment not available on the NHS. Rather than helping a couple of families at a time, the aim is to help ten or even one hundred times that!
In 2012 Jamie began an adventurous fundraising quest to give back to the hospitals that helped him as a child by cycling 14,000 miles from Bangkok to Gloucester. Using a second-hand bike bought for just £50, Jamie cycled through more than twenty countries on his way home. During the journey, he was shot at when caught in the middle of a military firefight, arrested by wary border police and slept rough.
Just weeks after returning to Gloucester, Jamie decided to attempt the world record for cycling non-stop on a static bike. Jamie stepped off the bike, as the Marathon Static Cycling – Guinness World Record holder. Cycling more than 12 days, he raised more than £20,000 during the two challenges.
In February 2013, two months after setting the new world record, Jamie used his continued savings to travel to Canada, where he continued his fundraising efforts, again for the children’s charities that helped him as a child. Jamie ran 5,000 miles (equivalent to 200 marathons), across Canada without a support crew – raising more than a £250,000.
His adventures have made news all over the world… (Including in early 2016 where, while traveling from John O’Groats to Land’s End, he and a team of charity cyclists found a woman trapped in the back of her van!).
For images, please take your pick of these high resolution shots here on Dropbox.
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This video tells you more about Jamie: