Jamie McDonald is really tired today.
The 27-year-old British man, who is currently running across Canada to raise money for sick kids, ran 60 kilometres Sunday. “I really pushed it,” he said with a laugh.
His inspiration for the longer run came from a family he met months ago in Thunder Bay, Ont. Their little boy, Samuel, is battling cancer and is out of treatment options. His mom told McDonald that what he is doing is helping change the outcome for kids like Samuel.
McDonald said he was devastated by the news, but decided the least he could do was dedicate a long run to the little boy.
“It’s really heart wrenching,” he said. “I thought the best thing I could do was dedicate a run to him, to inspire him because that’s what you have left at the end of the day.”
McDonald started his journey on March 9, 2013 in St. John’s, Newfoundland. Today he left Merritt and is expected to end his journey in Vancouver in early February.
So far, he has run the equivalent of about 183 marathons.
He aims to run at least a marathon a day, but he never plots out his route or looks at a map.
“I can’t do it, it scares me so much because you start to think ‘I have to run such a long way’,” said McDonald.
His journey so far has involved running in -40 degree weather in the Prairies, getting frostbite on his nose, running downtown Toronto to visit children at SickKids hospital, and visiting the Terry Fox monument in Thunder Bay.
Fox is McDonald’s inspiration. “It meant a lot to me, being there,” said McDonald. He will finish his journey at the Terry Fox memorial in Vancouver.
The journey has not been without dangerous moments.
When McDonald ran through Rogers Pass in B.C. staff from Parks Canada came out to meet him and attached an avalanche beacon to him. “Parks Canada really didn’t want me to run the Rockies,” said McDonald. “They wanted me to stop and come back next year.”
He said the snow banks were 12 feet high and he was terrified the entire time. “Everyone you meet along the way tells you you’re going to die,” said McDonald.
But he made it.
He has developed chronic tendonitis in one of his feet however, and because he hasn’t rested it the bone in his foot has started to calcify. “It was agony every single step,” said McDonald when the condition first started. Due to the calcification the pain has now subsided a little, but McDonald said his foot has started to change shape. But even that is not slowing him down. “I’m trying to show people that we can do anything,” he said.
Now he has about one week left of his cross-Canada journey and he hopes this is just the beginning. There will be a documentary of his run and he might write a book, but he isn’t sure of what his future holds.
“I want the inspiration and fundraising to continue,” said McDonald.