Belfast Telegraph

Charity runner gets stolen bag back

A British adventurer attacked and robbed on New Year's Eve while attempting a gruelling charity run across Canada has got his belongings back.

Jamie McDonald had appealed for the return of his "man bag" containing a hard drive holding priceless footage of his trip, his camera and wallet.

They were stolen when the 27-year-old was assaulted in the ski resort of Banff, Alberta, and he immediately launched an appeal on social networking sites for their return.

His plea on Facebook and Twitter got an immediate response from both sides of the Atlantic, with well-wishers pledging donations to the children's charities Mr McDonald is supporting.

The Briton, who suffered blows to the head in the incident, said the bag was found close to the scene of the attack.

Writing on his blog, he said: "Having spent a crazy day speaking to the police, I wanted to update everybody who's been kind enough to read, share and care.

"My bag, including my possessions, priceless hours of footage of my journey across Canada and my wallet, amongst other things, has been found.

"Some of you may know that I was attacked in the early hours of New Year's Day in Banff and that I left quickly after the unprovoked attack, leaving my bag. I was told it had been taken.

"I reported the incident to the police today, including what I remembered of the three attackers. The police have been phenomenally supportive."

Mr McDonald had spent part of New Year's Eve in Earls restaurant in Banff and stressed that the attack happened after he had moved on to another place.

"I have been amazed at the response, from friends and strangers and from the British and Canadian media, both of which have helped spread my story," Mr McDonald said.

"I wish the story didn't have to have an unfortunate incident in order to reach people, but I'm glad in a way because the more people that know about my journey, the more children it might be able to help.

"As the saying goes, every cloud has a silver lining, and the additional donations as a result of people hearing about this are hugely appreciated.

"As I mentioned earlier, I'm physically fine and was obviously very shaken up, but the support has been incredible.

"Although I'd been told my bag had been taken, it appears that whoever did so had a change of mind, as the bag was found at/near the place I left after the attack.

"I would like to thank you all again, especially the people of Banff, who've shown me the most incredible hospitality.

"I'd like to say that this doesn't affect my thoughts about Canada one bit - I've had the best experiences here and the world-famous Canadian hospitality has been proved to be anything but a stereotype."

Mr McDonald, from Gloucester, is less than 600 miles (966km) from becoming the first person to run across Canada without a support team but is on the toughest leg of his route as he makes his way across the Rocky Mountains.

The 5,000-mile (8,047km) coast-to-coast run is the equivalent of more than 200 marathons in 275 days, and involves Mr McDonald sleeping by the side of the road, or relying on strangers' generosity as he undertakes the challenge.

Mr McDonald's coast-to-coast challenge began in St John's, Labrador, in March and will finish in Vancouver after passing through mountain ranges, national parks and along highways.

Originally billed as the "British Forrest Gump", he is running dressed as comic superhero The Flash after a public vote on Twitter and Facebook chose a costume for him.

Mr McDonald, who suffered from a debilitating immune deficiency and potentially fatal spinal condition syringomyelia as a child, spent the first nine years of his life in and out of children's hospitals and is running to raise funds for SickKids Foundation, Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity and the Pied Piper Appeal.

He has also recently won two major awards, being voted male runner of the year and winning the Golden Shoe from Running Magazine.

Mr McDonald plans to be back in the UK ahead of the Adventure Travel Show in London at which he is due to speak on January 26.

He already holds a world record for static cycling after he pedalled for 265 hours straight - the equivalent of 11 days - last year.

He accomplished the feat just two weeks after cycling 14,000 miles (22,531km) from Bangkok in Thailand to Gloucester, his home town. During that trip he said he was shot at, arrested and slept rough.

He has been inspired by Canadian fundraiser and amputee Terry Fox, 22, who lost his battle against cancer in 1981 before completing the cross-country run after 3,339 miles (5,374km). His foundation has since raised more than 500 million Canadian dollars (£284.4 million) for cancer research.

Throughout his attempt, he is keeping supporters updated on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, where he posts videos documenting his efforts.


From Belfast Telegraph