One day, Jamie left his desk and ran... 17,000km

Bored of sitting in a windowless office, Jamie Ramsay decided to go for a run. A long one.
Jamie Ramsay and his trusty stroller, he travelled with it for 17,000km from Vancouver to Buenos Aires
Jamie Ramsay and his trusty stroller © Jamie Ramsay
By Will Gray

Raising money for CALM, Macmillan and WaterAid, Jamie Ramsay ran for a year and a half from Vancouver to Buenos Aires – covering a good chunk of the American continent. After averaging 45.1km per day – more than a marathon – on his 367 running days his running challenge ended on Sunday, January 11 – with a run from Heathrow to Central London after his plane landed back in the UK.

More: Meet the girl who runs marathons backwards

Jamie Ramsay dreamed of adventure while working a desk job

Jamie Ramsay takes a well earned break during his 17,000km run from Vancouver to Buenos Aires.
Jamie Ramsay takes a well earned break © Jamie Ramsay

What made you want to do this?
I was sat at a windowless desk, dreaming about a big adventure. The only thing stopping me was me – so I decided to go for it.

And why pick Vancouver to Buenos Aires?
To be honest, it’s just a nice run! There are only two languages, good weather throughout and no visas needed.

He decided to run from Vancouver to Buenos Aires

Early days on the road - without the beard, during Jamie Ramsay's 17,000km run from Cananda to Buenos Aires
Early days on the road - without the beard © Jamie Ramsay

What had you done before the trip?
I’d done on- and off-road marathons, and open-water swims, and I'd run 240km solo through Vietnam. Enough to know fitness is important but controlling your mind is the most essential part.

He finished early, despite pushing his belongings along with him

Jamie Ramsey running past a hostel in Leon, Nicaragua during his 17,000km run from Vancouver to Buenos Aires.
Running past a hostel in Leon, Nicaragua © Jamie Ramsay

You ran faster than planned – why was that?
I gave up drinking in Panama – which made it easier to get up and run and sped up my body recovery. I also had to make Buenos Aires for New Year with my girlfriend. I had to average 42km a day every day for six months. And I arrived a day early!

He averaged 42km a day

Jamie Ramsay taking a break by the roadside during his 17,000km run from Vancouver to Buenos Aires.
Taking a break by the roadside © Jamie Ramsay

How long were your longest runs and how did you keep on going?
Some days I ran high-60s km, even over 70km. And I had to carry or push everything on my stroller, from tent and sleeping bag to food and water. But your body and mind adapt to what you ask if you give them fuel and rest.

There’s a bear in all your photos, what's his story?
I found him stuck to a cactus in Baja Mexico. He is called Carlos El Peluche!

Can you spot Carlos the bear, found in Mexico?

Ruins in the desert during Jamie Ramsey's 17,000km run from Vancouver to Buenos Aires
Ruins in the desert © Jamie Ramsay

Did you ever get lonely or bored?
Bored? Not at all. I listened to a lot of blogs and music, thought up new challenges and drafted blogs in my head. Loneliness was not an issue either, because there were a lot of people on the route, most eager to engage.

Did they give you any help along the way?
Yes. Someone gave me a lift from Baja California to mainland Mexico on his boat, some mechanics helped repair my stroller and someone even read that I had a knee problem on my blog and emailed me to give advice!

Spectacular scenery was a huge part of the trip

Sand dunes were stunning...but tough going, during Jamie Ramsey's 17,000km run from Vancouver to Buenos Aires
Sand dunes were stunning...but tough going © Jamie Ramsay

Who was the weirdest person you met?
I met an English chap in Peru who thought he could turn stones into gold. He couldn’t.

What were the four most spectacular places you ran through?
The Atacama Desert; crossing the Andes between Argentina and Chile; the Darien Gap in Panama; and the whole of Baja California. They stand out.

As well as facing some pretty scary roads

The remote scenery of the Atacama desert seen during Jamie Ramsey's 17,000km run from Vancouver to Buenos Aires
The remote scenery of the Atacama desert © Jamie Ramsay

And the most challenging?
The Ruta 34 in Argentina – there was no hard shoulder and lots of very fast lorries. Scary puts it lightly. Also combating the heat in the Atacama Desert and running over a 4,800m pass in the Andes was tough.

The rough terrain saw him get through 17 pairs of trainers

High mountain passes made for tough running during Jamie Ramsey's 17,000km run from Vancouver to Buenos Aires
High mountain passes made for tough running © Jamie Ramsay

Was there a moment you thought you wouldn’t make it?
No. I would've walked, hobbled or crawled to get to the finish.

You burned up to 6,000 calories per day – how did you plan your diet?
I had porridge for mornings and tuna pasta for evenings, but the rest, you eat what you can get your hands on and it's mostly sugar!

Porridge and tuna pasta kept him going

Food was picked up wherever it was found during Jamie Ramsey's 17000km run from Vancouver to Buenos Aires
Food was picked up wherever it was found © Jamie Ramsay

You changed shoes 17 times – how battered did they get?
By the time I got rid of them, most of the rubber on the sole was gone. When I put on a new pair of shoes it literally felt like running on new legs.

The terrain was incredibly varied

Jamie Ramsey had to run on sometimes busy roads during his 17000km run from Vancouver to Buenos Aires
The long road ahead © Jamie Ramsay

How did you plan where you slept?
I normally just slept where I finished running. I had a range of 45–60km and just tried to find cheap hostels or a secluded tent pitch. I slept at deserted beaches, industrial parks and workshops, park 'n' rides and even nightclubs.

I normally just slept where I finished running

– Jamie Ramsay

 

Jamie Ramsey was welcomed by restaurants during his 17,000 km run, he also slept at some of them
Restaurants regularly welcomed Jamie's tent © Jamie Ramsay

And what was your biggest achievement?
Arriving in Buenos Aires almost exactly on the date I’d predicted when I stood on the northern coast of Colombia!

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