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Adventurer nearing end of epic trek

A British adventurer dressed as a superhero is days away from completing a gruelling charity run across Canada.

Jamie McDonald, 27, will become the first person to run across Canada without a support team and is doing so has raised £150,000 for charity.

The 5,000 mile 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, from Gloucester, is due to finish his mammoth challenge on Monday evening when he reaches Vancouver and has been joined by his father Donald and friends to celebrate the feat.

"Before I started, I was asked how I'd prepare for the more than 5,000 miles that lay ahead of me," said Mr McDonald, who funded the trip by using money he had saved for a mortgage.

"I answered truthfully and said that I wouldn't - no amount of training or planning could have prepared me for this journey.

"Some said I wouldn't make it and at times it's looked that way, but with my final few marathons to go, I can only think about the finish line and dipping my hand into the Pacific Ocean, just as I did more than 200 marathons ago in the Atlantic.

"The support I've had here in Canada and from back home has just been phenomenal.

"I always say that I'm doing the easy bit, all I have to do is put one foot in front of the other and stay motivated enough to reach the end, which when I think about the money being raised for sick kids comes easily enough.

"The messages, donations and reaction to what I'm doing has made this adventure what it is and I'm just very humbled by it all and thankful that I've been able to show people that we can do whatever we put our minds to.

"I still have a job to do, though, and with the wind at my back, my dad coming out to run with me and the Rockies and -40 degrees Celsius temperatures behind me, I'm really going to enjoy the last few days."

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

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

The adventurer has battled temperatures of -40 degree Celsius, ran through the Rockies during a harsh Canadian winter, slept rough, been attacked and given motivational talks at dozens of schools.

Mr McDonald has run for more than 2,000 miles with chronic tendonitis, gone through more than 10 pairs of trainers, became one of few British people to have been 'White Hatted' in Calgary - joining the likes of Prince William and Kate Middleton - and also permanently injured and misshapen his foot.

He also pushed his 60kg (132lb) baby stroller Caesar, which contained all his possessions, for more than 4,500 miles. He began the journey by carrying a 30kg (66lb) backpack, but had to change tack when the weight caused an injury.

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 having been voted male runner of the year and won the Golden Shoe from Running Magazine. He already holds a world record for static cycling after he pedalled for 265 hours straight - the equivalent of 11 days - in 2012.

Mr McDonald accomplished the feat just two weeks after cycling 14,000 miles from Bangkok to Gloucester. During that trip he says 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. His foundation has since raised more than 500 million Canadian dollars for cancer research.

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


From Belfast Telegraph