Cross-Canada runner stops in Langley

He’s crossed Canada with nothing but a red superhero costume and a push cart of supplies.

And since Winnipeg, an excruciatingly painful bone spur.

But Jamie McDonald, a tennis teacher from England, is about to finish a cross Canada journey to raise awareness and funds for children’s hospitals in Canada and children’s health charities in the United Kingdom.

The total stands at about $120,000 (learn more at www.jamiemcdonald.org).

On his trip in Langley, he was thrilled to see people along the route.

“Today every kilometre there was a family out on the side of the road thanking me for doing what I’m doing,” McDonald said. “They told me their kids have been following the journey for months [online].”

After running a marathon Saturday, which he’s basically done every day since setting out on his journey last March, McDonald plans to depart Langley around 10 a.m. Sunday morning.

He’ll head along Fraser Highway west towards the Pacific Ocean where he will dip his hand in, as he dipped it in the Atlantic in Newfoundland when beginning this trek.

On Saturday for the run from Abbotsford to Langley, the 27-year-old was joined by his father. His dad and a friend flew in from England to be here for the wrap up.

McDonald will make a stop at B.C. Children’s Hospital on Monday. Then he’ll run to the Terry Fox monument at English Bay on Feb. 3. The estimated schedule is on his website.

“And we’d like people to join us there,” he said.

After a few days rest in Vancouver, he will head to Vancouver Island and Mile Zero.

The Langley Advance caught up with McDonald at the Coast Hotel and Convention Centre which was providing him with likely the most comfortable accommodation on his trip.

His push cart includes a large white tarp which often served as his ‘hotel’. When he wasn’t camping in the rough alongside the road, he was invited into people’s homes.

“I feel like I’ve been taken in,” he said of the welcome he’s received throughout this adventure.

There was one very public negative incident. In Banff, he was beaten and robbed, most notably of his camera which he was using to document the trip.

“It was one negative incident out of 10,000 amazing experiences across Canada,” he said.

When it was covered by the national media, it brought attention to his endeavours and the return of what was stolen.

“It felt like it angered people,” he said. “The fundraising went up.”

McDonald had never been to Canada before he decided to come here. Initially it was going to be as a backpacking tourist.

Then he found a desire to do what he calls adventure fundraising.

He started March 9, 2013, in Newfoundland.

“Ideally I was going to finish before winter set in,” McDonald said.

Well, plans didn’t go as expected. There was an extra jaunt on Ontario to visit a children’s hospital and raise funds, and other delays.

So he got to experience a Canadian winter one kilometre at a time.

Basic math shows he will have done more than 200 marathons by the time he’s done. And it’s all been done in the same red Flash superhero costume.

McDonald said it’s been a small sacrifice to help others.

Before this, he cycled from Bangkok to Gloucester, his home. And then promptly did a exercise bike marathon to set a world record.

His desire to help stems from his childhood when he was in and out of hospital a lot with a spinal condition called syringomyelia.

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