British Adventure Runner Jamie Ramsay is running c.17,000km from Vancouver to Buenos Aires, averaging a marathon per day to raise money for CALM, Macmillan and WaterAid.
My first memory of running was aged about 10. It was a school run and a teacher who was tired of seeing me dawdling at the rear chatting with friends gave me a kick up the arse and told me if I didn’t finish first I would have detention.
That’s when I realised I could actually run. Ever since then I have been into running of some variety be it triathlon, marathons, commuting or just general fitness.
Most of my recent running has been in London and generally as a form of commuting. I would either run to or from work along the Thames. I do enjoy running with other people but preferably if they are of the same pace or can push me a little harder.
I’ve had some great ‘races’ with other commuters along the Thames embankment; running home in London would take me the same time as taking the underground.
All you need to do is find 30 minutes 3-5 times a week and you’ll notice the difference both physically and mentally. I love entering competitions but I never expect to win or do very well. I just love taking part in big sporting occasions.
A Worthy Challenge
To do this expedition I needed to undertake something that justified me stopping work. A couple of marathons really wouldn’t have cut it.
I started looking at around the world and through Africa but soon realised that there were lots of issues with visas, languages and potentially risky areas. Someone then suggested the Americas and the more I looked at it, the more sense it made. The British passport grants me access to all the countries and I only need to learn one new language, Spanish.
Additionally, despite what people think, all the countries are safe and full of the most genuine and helpful people. The total run will be about 17,000km but this number does change as I alter my running route.
The route is equivalent to over 400 marathons and takes me through 14 different countries – Canada, America, Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile and Argentina.
I think I can now safely call myself a cross country runner in the literal sense. Logistically I will be transporting all my equipment in a Thule Chariot Cheetah running stroller and will seek shelter wherever I can find it at the end of each day – be it a hotel, a friendly local’s house or in my tent.
Staying on track
Touch wood, so far everything is going fantastically. I try very hard to keep motivating myself forward and not letting myself get stuck at beaches or party towns. This is a running expedition not a holiday. My itinerary is dictated by distance not tourist attractions and that can lead to some truly amazing experiences.
Of course there are some injuries along the way as I am asking a lot of my body by averaging over a marathon per running day. The main issues come from Plantar Fasciitis and this then manifests into other aches and pains. But you learn to recognise what your body is telling you. In the past pain used to mean stop but I have realised that that is not the case.
Pain is the body’s way of warning you that something is wrong and suggesting that you should change the way you are doing something. If the body wants you to stop, it will physically make you stop. I am learning how to push myself past all the perceived barriers I had before and this is allowing me to accomplish so much more.
Also, having the right kit helps. Adidas has provided me with Ultra Boost running shoes, which are as comfortable as slippers, and wearing 1000 Mile Socks means I haven’t had a single blister.
Nutrition is the next part of my running that I need to address. The diet in this part of the world is not that healthy and I am currently fuelled by fizzy drinks, fried food and a lot of double carbing (rice and chips on the same plate).
I have adapted my stroller so it has a small speaker system that allows me to listen to podcasts. I have been learning so much from podcasts about running (Marathon Talk), interviews with inspirational people (Girl on Guy, Nerdist.com) and history (History Extra, History of the world in 100 objects). I am also completely up to date with the UK top 40 and The Archers!
I am constantly thinking about where else I would like to run – Madagascar, Mongolia, and across Australia are all goals but if I had to choose one it would probably be to the North or South Pole.
Make your own adventure
The great thing about running is that it is addictive. A lot of people say they “can’t” run more than a mile but if you push yourself through that mile then everything gets easier and you will start enjoying it. As part of my training I used to get the tube to different stations across London and then make my way home.
This would add an element of adventure to my running and would make it more than just a run. I’m also raising money for three charities: Calm (Prevention of Male Suicide), Macmillan (Cancer Care) andWaterAid (Clean Water Provision).
Wanting to raise money for these charities gives me that extra motivation to keep pushing myself. I now only take days off to do admin.
I feel a bit lost when I am not on the road!