TIM SMITH/BRANDON SUN
Briton Jamie McDonald — dressed as “The Flash” superhero — runs west toward Brandon along the Trans-Canada Highway on Thursday as part of his unassisted run across Canada to raise money for children’s hospitals.
He has just 60 days to complete the remaining 1,500 miles of his historic cross-country run, but 27-year-old Jamie McDonald is running nearly a marathon every day on a potentially broken foot.
McDonald, who was born in Gloucester, England, started his 5,000-mile adventure across Canada in March in St. John’s, N.L., dressed as "The Flash" superhero to raise money for children’s hospitals in each Canadian province and the U.K.
The Terry Fox-inspired runner was in Brandon yesterday, after spending a week in Winnipeg nursing his ailing foot, to help raise money for the Children’s Hospital Foundation of Manitoba.
As a child, Jamie suffered from a debilitating immune deficiency and a rare spinal condition called syringomyelia that kept him in a hospital until he was nine, and now he wants to give back to the hospitals that treated him while also supporting Canadian hospitals.
With nothing but a stroller filled with survival gear, which he jokingly refers to as his house, McDonald set out to run to Vancouver before Dec. 18, when his Canadian visa expires.
Running on five hours of sleep per night, a sparse high-protein paleo diet and a badly injured foot, McDonald is now going to face the harsh headwinds of the Prairies followed by the Canadian Rockies.
"The weather was always been my biggest fear ... I’m really struggling with it as it is, I’m really feeling it," he said. "I’m fearing setting my tent up every single night so I’m trying to find anything."
Last night, McDonald said he knocked on the door of a stranger’s house near Carberry who let him sleep in their trailer.
His journey is well-documented. Each day he spends a few hours updating his Twitter feed, checking on his Facebook page and editing the hours of footage he has shot with a video camera. The British Broadcasting Corporation plans to weave a documentary out of the diary footage, which includes some of his most emotional moments.
"The end is in sight, but it’s getting harder every day. I’m a positive person by nature," he said. "It’s absolute hell what I’m doing."
He also has to rehabilitate his foot with yoga and stress exercises while he breaks.
During McDonald’s stop, which included a presentation to employees of Investors Group, eight-year-old Carson Burr stopped in with his mother and brother to donate money he had in his savings account, along with a Tim Hortons gift card.
"Carson spent the first two months of his life in the hospital for heart surgery," said an emotional Richele Burr, Carson’s mother. "We know what it means to have that hospital there."
McDonald is about halfway to his goal to raise $100,000 for children’s hospitals. He has raised more than $7,000 during his stay in Manitoba.
Described as a "fundraising adventurer," McDonald is no stranger to tremendous feats of endurance.
Last year, he cycled 14,000 miles from Bangkok to his hometown in England, passing through dozens of countries. Just two days after he finished the journey from Bangkok, McDonald attempted — and broke — the world static cycling record, which stood at 224 hours and 24 minutes. Jamie pedalled for 265 hours (more than 11 days) to break the record.
Follow McDonald’s journey on Twitter @MrJaimeMcdonald.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition October 25, 2013