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THE PRODIGAL SON RETURNS

A good friend of Jamie Ramsay – CALM’s Forrest Gump – who ran 17,000km from Vancouver to Buenos Aires and returned to the UK for the #ForrestGumpFinish on Sunday 10th January 2016, wrote this for CALM about his incredible achievement…

BRITISH FORREST GUMP: THE MAN WHO RAN MORE THAN A MARATHON EACH DAY FOR A YEAR

Jamie Ramsay is probably a name you haven’t heard before, unless you’ve been following CALM’s updates like a hawk. (High fives those of you who have!)

Back in August 2014, I wrote an article for CALM about his extraordinary idea to run nearly 18,000km from Vancouver in Canada to Buenos Aires in Argentina. In fact, this wasn’t just an idea. By the time the article was published on thecalmzone.net, Jamie had already left the UK behind and was beginning his epic journey along the beautiful west coast of Canada in aid of three charities, including CALM.

Well, us friends and family had said our goodbyes and there was nothing more to be done except get on with our lives, thinking, ‘wow, that’s ambitious, good luck to him’, ‘crikey’, ‘hope he’s ok’, that sort of thing.

Because 18,000km is a distance most of us can’t really grasp. A marathon, yes, I can just about imagine what 26 miles is, roughly from my parents’ house in the deepest, darkest depths of the West Midlands countryside to the city I went to school in, and back again.

And people run marathons all the time don’t they (not me, I hasten to add, Lord no. I heartily support other people’s efforts to do so, from the safety of the sidelines.) I know that most people, when they run a marathon, train very hard for weeks, maybe months; the physical preparation required is considerable.

Then, of course, there’s ‘the wall’, the inevitability of hitting it and the question of dealing with it.

So, it’s really rather inconceivable that someone, anyone, least of all a friend of mine, could run a marathon (or thereabouts) every single day for over a year.

On top of that, who would think to ask ‘well, where are you going to sleep?’ or ‘how will you carry everything you need with you?’ or even ‘what about crossing borders and possible dangers? Aren’t you running through Colombia?’ It’s enough for us to process the enormous distance; the logistics of the thing are just too mind-boggling.

(The answers, in case you’re wondering, are ‘in a tent, wherever it’s possible to pitch one’, ‘in a running stroller, donated especially for the expedition by Thule’ and ‘I’ll cross that bridge (or border) when it comes to it/accept any offers of police escorts along the way’ – yes, that actually happened.)

It’s not that I never thought he’d make it – I’ve known for a while that the body of Jamie Ramsay can put up with a heavy amount of wear and tear – I guess it’s just that I didn’t actually have to process the achievement until now. Because it’s only now, upon its completion, that this extraordinary idea has actually become something ‘done’. Completed. Achieved. It has moved from the realm of possibility into the arena of actuality.

So, jaws sufficiently dropped, I can confirm that, yes, he made it. Jamie Ramsay has completed his c.17,000km solo run (the route turned out to be a bit more direct than anticipated) over 367 running days (472 including occasional days off) using 17 pairs of running shoes (another logistics question: how on earth did he get new ones delivered?) across 14 countries through 2 continents.

He arrived back in London on Sunday 10th January. Flying into Heathrow at around half 6 in the morning, he was straight into the shower and then lacing up his shoes for the final jog from T5 into central London (a mere 15 miles), with friends, family and CALM supporters joining him in solidarity and in true Forrest Gump style. (View pics from his arrival back in the Jamieisrunning Facebook album and in CALM’s Hall of Fame.)

Nicknamed “British Forrest Gump” and also, apparently, “the running man” (slightly lacking in imagination, that one), Jamie has met and inspired people the world over with his incredible strength and resilience. Donations to Jamie’s charities are still coming in, and he very much hopes to exceed his target of £20,000.

This Scotsman spent 11 years working in an office in the heart of London’s financial district, with me in fact, and, after returning from a solo run through the jungle in Vietnam, decided that what he really wanted to do was keep running – his Twitter handle says it all: @jamieisrunning – but in the process he’s done so much more than that.

Some press coverage of Jamie and CALM: Interview with Jamie on Red Bull’s website; Jamie on ITV’s This MorningJamie speaking on BBC Five Live.

Read CALM’s interview with Jamie; check out the blog from Jamie’s amazing trip, including stories like the time he met a guy who believed he could turn stone into gold (he couldn’t); follow Jamie on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook to hear first what this guy gets up to next.

Jamie’s website: www.jamieisrunning.com

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article or in the comments below, are not those held by CALM or its Trustees unless stated, and liability cannot be accepted for such comments. We encourage friendly and constructive debate, but please don't share personal contact details when commenting and exercise caution when considering any advice offered by others. We don’t allow abusive, offensive or inappropriate comments or comments that could be interpreted as libellous, defamatory or commercial and we will remove these without warning as and when we find them.

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