Raising money for CALM, Macmillan and WaterAid, Jamie Ramsay ran over the course of a year and a half from Vancouver to Buenos Aires, covering a good chunk of the American continent. After averaging just over 28 miles 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.
We caught up with him to get more of the story behind his adventure.
RedBull.com: What made you want to do this?
Jamie Ramsay: I was sitting at a windowless desk, dreaming about a big adventure. The only thing stopping me was me, so I decided to go for it.
Fitness is important but controlling your mind is the most essential part.
Why pick Vancouver to Buenos Aires as the route?
To be honest, it’s just a nice run! There are only two languages, good weather throughout and no visas needed.
What feats had you done before the trip?
I’d done on and off-road marathons, open-water swims, and I ran 150 miles solo through Vietnam. Enough to know that fitness is important but controlling your mind is the most essential part.
You ran a bit 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's with my girlfriend. I had to average 26 miles a day every day for six months. And I arrived a day early!
How long were your longest runs? How did you keep on going?
Some days I ran high-30 milers, even over 40 miles. 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.
What's the story with the bear riding on your gear?
I found him stuck to a cactus in Baja Mexico. He is called Carlos El Peluche!
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.
I met an English chap in Peru who thought he could turn stones into gold.
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!
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.
I would've walked, hobbled or crawled to get to the finish.
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.
And the most challenging?
The Ruta 34 in Argentina. There was no hard shoulder and lots of very fast trucks — scary puts it lightly. Also combating the heat in the Atacama Desert and running over a 15,750-foot pass in the Andes was tough.
Was there a moment you thought you wouldn’t make it?
No. I would've walked, hobbled or crawled to get to the finish.
When I put on a new pair of shoes it literally felt like running on new legs.
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!
You went through 17 pairs of shoes; 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.
How did you plan where you slept?
I normally just slept where I finished running. I 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.
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!