18,000 Km and Counting: a Real Life Forest Gump
We’re sure that many people reading this will be well accustomed to adventurous travelling in this part of the world. We all have great stories from our exploits that we constantly share, and will probably keeping on sharing for a long time to come. My own stories normally involve being crammed onto a chicken bus with my face pushed so hard up against the window I temporarily look like the Elephant Man’s cousin.
But, please, spare a thought for Jamie Ramsay who is currently running from Vancouver to Buenos Aires for charity. Armed only with a shopping cart to carry all his possessions, Jamie has become a real life Forest Gump, running across countries to raise money for charities. Ok, I admit that the comparison to Forest Gump really only comes from the running and the beard, but the Scotsman’s story is one to truly capture the imagination. We contacted him for an interview and this is what he had to say:
XW: What are your main motivations for doing this? What made you choose to take this amazing journey?
JR: I think adventure can be addictive and can led you to do things you never thought were possible. I started with a marathon in Sweden in 2004 and over the last decade I have run in Kenya (marathon in safari park) and Vietnam (240km run), been diving in the Andaman Islands and travelled around the world. The problem was that with a job it was difficult to satisfy the craving. That was when I started exploring the idea of combing my passions and trying to put together an expedition that would bring me fulfilment and help raise awareness for some good causes. (Macmillan – Cancer, CALM – Suicide, WaterAid – Clean water provision).
I chose this exact route because it allowed me to travel through so many amazing countries I hadn’t visited before and worked very well for organisational factors such as visas, languages and weather.
XW: What has been the hardest thing about doing this?
JR: It’s weird but as the trip progresses things that were hard become easy and things you didn’t prepare for become difficult. The running is clearly hard work and needs a lot of determination and motivation but as the trip progresses you become more adapted to the task in hand and just knuckle down and get on with it. Being away from family and loved ones is becoming a bigger issue. I have always been very independent and have travelled to lots of crazy places around the world in search of my particular type of adventure but when alone they have all been for a week or two at tops. I have now been away from home for nearly 8 months and there is no escaping the fact I am missing home. I just need to keep telling myself that what I am doing is worthwhile and that all too soon I will be sitting at home yearning to back on the adventure. You can’t always have what you want when you want it, so enjoy it while you do.
XW: Do you have any funny stories about your time in Guatemala?
JR: I am not sure adventure runners are the best source of funny stories as we are either running, eating or sleeping. What makes Guatemala different for me is the amazing support I have received. Guatemala was the first country that the media have got behind me (that includes my home country) and that made a huge difference. No matter where I was a car would stop and someone would jump out, say they had heard about what I was doing and wished me all the best. On some days this was about 10 times a day. You have no idea how much this motivates you to carry on. Thank you Guatemala!
We would like to thank Jamie for taking the time to speak to us and wish him luck for the rest of his amazing journey – Run Jamie Run!! (sorry, we couldn´t resist). You can follow Jamie’s progress at jamiesrunning.com and on twitter at @jamiesrunning.