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He did it! Here's why 'Adventureman' traveled 6,000 miles by foot

Pam LeBlanc
Jamie McDonald calls himself Adventureman. He came through Austin during a cross-country trek to raise money for children's hospitals. [Pam LeBlanc for Statesman]

Adventureman has completed his cross-country run.

Jamie McDonald, a 31-year-old Brit who ran through Austin last fall on his mission to raise money for children’s hospitals, made it to Gloucester, Mass., at about 4:20 p.m. March 27, where about 500 people, many of them children, joined him for the final miles of his nearly 6,000-mile foot-powered journey.

“I could never have made it if it wasn’t for the people of America,” he said into a smartphone camera mounted to a stroller filled with belongings that he pushed across the country.

Sirens wailed and photographers snapped photos as he burst through a banner saying “Welcome to Gloucester Adventureman!” and drank from a bottle of Champagne. As he approached the seawall wearing his trademark green Adventureman shirt and red cape, he shouted, “It’s got to be done,” ran down the stony beach and flopped into the waves as more than 1,100 people from around the world watched via livestream on Facebook.

He started his run in Cape Alava, Wash., on April 10, 2018, and ran seven or eight hours most days, covering about 26 miles at a time. McDonald used his run as a fundraiser for children’s hospitals like the one that helped him recover after he was diagnosed with a rare spinal condition called syringomyelia. As a child, McDonald, who lives in Gloucester, in the United Kingdom, struggled to walk. Doctors told his family he’d need to use a wheelchair. His mom encouraged him to keep moving, and he did everything he could to stay active. Slowly, the symptoms disappeared.

Seven years ago, he biked from Bangkok to Gloucester, U.K., to raise money to benefit the hospital that treated him. Then he broke the Guinness World Record for the longest ride on a stationary bicycle with a 276-hour ride. Next he ran 5,000 miles across Canada and wrote a book about the experience, and set up an organization that provides grants to help families pay for treatments for ill children.

His latest campaign raised about $200,000 for that organization.

He’s not finished. Or, as he says, “I’m not allowed to get off the train for a picnic just yet.”

He’s heading home to Gloucester, where, starting April 29, he’ll attempt to break the record for miles run on a treadmill in one week. The record is 517 miles.

“It’s bloody stupid,” he said recently. “I’m not an athlete, and I’m not a great runner. I can’t run fast. What I’m good at is running slowly. The way I’m going to break the record is by running really slowly, but not sleeping, other than 1 1/2 hours a night.”

Once that’s over, he says, he’ll finally relax.

“I really fancy being a vegetable for a while,” he said. “I haven’t touched Netflix for quite some time, so it’s time to catch up.”