Jamie has just returned from a solo and unsupported run from Vancouver to Buenos Aires. In 600 days he ran 428 marathons and crossed through 14 countries, a feat that has since earned him the title of Scottish Adventurer of the Year. Here’s what Jamie had to say when Will Renwick caught up with him at the Telegraph Outdoor Adventure and Travel Show at London’s ExCel…
I decided the run needed to be at least a year long, I did a calculation of a year multiplied by about 30km a day and it came to around 11,000km. I thought about Africa, but with America I’d only need two languages and could do it on a UK passport, no visas. It was the easier option. I ended up going for about 16 and a half months.
Since I’ve been back I’ve been telling everyone how much I loved the whole thing, but then I look back on some of my videos and there are so many of me sat on the side of the road nearly crying. The brain remembers the good stuff and blocks out the bad stuff.
I went through 17 pairs of shoes. Basically a pair of shoes every 1000km.
My diet was terrible. I was eating chocolate biscuits, burgers and whatever food I could buy on the side of the road. Anything I could get my hands on – find and forage. I always had a couple of day’s worth of food on me, but most of the time I just picked it up when I needed it. Occasionally people handed me food. One time I was running along and a car pulled over, the window rolled down and I was passed a chicken sandwich. One man asked me if I wanted water… he passed me an ice cold beer.
Through most of Peru people would let me stay in their houses and then before I’d leave they’d ring ahead to someone in the next town and tell them to look out for me. It was the friendliest country I went through.
The run has restored my faith in humanity. I didn’t have one problem with a single human being for the whole trip.
The weirdest place I slept was in a missile testing ground in Peru. It was an old farm that had obviously been bombed and it had bullet holes all over it. That was quite fun. In Central and South America I spent the time trying to ‘stealth camp’. But the problem was that where you normally want to ‘stealth camp’ is where people normally want to relieve themselves.
Don’t run the Route 34 in Argentina. It’s 700km on a straight, flat road with nothing to look at on either side of you; two lanes, no hard shoulder and pretty much exclusively lorries. It can get quite boring.
I’m not sick of being called Forest Gump. He didn’t have that reasoning that people have that tells them to stop doing things. He jumped into whatever he did, because he knew it was the right thing to do. If I’m getting compared to someone like that then that doesn’t bother me.
Before the run I lived in London and it wasn’t good for me, people are built for different environments and I didn’t thrive there. I sat around, ate too much, drank too much and got caught up in a life of convenience. When I was in the middle of the desert with no one around and having to work out how to survive, that’s when I thrived, and from now on I’m going to be doing anything I can to be out there doing that kind of stuff, and encouraging other people to do it.
As soon as I got back I was thinking about what I can do next. I’ve decided to cycle from Edinburgh to London next week, just simply so I can get back in my tent… and because I need to pick my bike up from my sisters.