By Sam Westcott
Special to The Western Star
Three years after running across the country, English superhero Jamie McDonald returned to the Corner Brook area Tuesday evening.
McDonald is currently on a second trek across the nation, but this time at a much more relaxed pace.
The “Adventureman” is revisiting the people and places he first ran through in 2013-14. And, as on Tuesday evening, a portion of his talk was dedicated to thanking the people who made his run across the country possible.
Two of these were local couple Ron and Sylvia, as well as Ann Solo, who helped McDonald to a rest in her Jacuzzi and a beer on his voyage.
The talk at the public library was also in support of McDonald’s recent book “Adventureman: The Astonishing True Story,” which details his journey across Canada. McDonald is donating 50 per cent of the book’s sales to the Western Memorial Regional Hospital Foundation, and 50 per cent to his own Superhero Foundation. The latter of which McDonald formed in his hometown of Gloucester, England.
At the library on Tuesday, McDonald tells the superhero-like story behind his own foundation. After a family in Gloucester approached McDonald about raising $30,000 to send their daughter to the United States to receive treatment for Cerebral Palsy, McDonald urged the girl’s father to complete 75 consecutive laps of the town’s Robinswood Hill as a fundraising event. The feat would have been the equivalent of completing a journey up Mount Everest.
After an intense outing, which lasted over 50 hours, and on an hour-and-a-half of rest, the father completed the journey. And fundraising at the bottom of the hill, McDonald and friends were able to reach and surpass the $30,000 goal. The Superhero Foundation was born.
It’s those type of heroic feats that push the Superhero Foundation. However, as McDonald says, the amount of fundraising the group achieves wouldn’t be possible without the generosity of donors. People who donate because they feel it’s the right thing to do.
McDonald admits, laughing, “I guess I kind of accidentally learned how to fundraise.”
On Tuesday, McDonald said it was the story of Terry Fox that inspired him to complete the run across the country. He describes initially mentioning the idea to his parents, which led the trio to finding a documentary online.
McDonald also tells stories of enduring intense frostbite, which claimed a small piece of his nose.
“There’s a lot of it there anyway,” McDonald says now, laughing it off.
He describes the moments of almost having to throw in the white flag, texting his dad about turning around and heading home with 60 marathon-distances left before his end point.
“I had to duct tape my sneaker on my foot and just embrace every ounce of pain with each step,” he said.
Needless to say, the adventure man reached his goal.
McDonald says he threw himself into the Pacific Ocean in B.C., the same finish line Terry Fox was never able to reach.
The journey had begun in St. John’s in February.
McDonald’s trek raised half a million dollars for hospital foundations across Canada.
Now, standing before a small crowd of people at the Corner Brook Public Library, McDonald urged everyone to find in themselves their inner superhero.
“Everyone can be a superhero” he said. “I’m just an everyday bloke from England.”
He may be, but with a year left on his visa, McDonald says his next mission is to run across the United States — and to try and do it before his visa runs out.