Scotland’s ‘Forrest Gump’ nears end of 18,000km marathon

On the road: Jamie has pushed a stroller weighing 45kg (about 100lbs) for 18,000kms (11,200 miles) from North to South America. Picture: Contributed
On the road: Jamie has pushed a stroller weighing 45kg (about 100lbs) for 18,000kms (11,200 miles) from North to South America. Picture: Contributed
  • Jamie Ramsay on final leg of 17 month journey from North to South America
  • Scot is already planning another charity fundraising adventure
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He has been called the Forrest Gump of East Lothian, who decided to give up his desk job to run round the world.

Now Jamie Ramsay, a Scot who has raised thousands of pounds for charity in a 18,000 kilometre marathon, is at his journey’s end.

Mr Ramsay’s epic adventure – akin to the Forrest Gump character’s cross-America jogging in the 1994 film starring Tom Hanks – began on the 14 August last year before winding its way down the west coast of the US and crossing through Mexico, Guatemala and Costa Rica into South America.

From there, he has journeyed south through Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia before entering Argentina. In all, the 17-month pursuit has spanned 14 different countries and taken in deserts and mountainous ­terrain.

While his friends and family were celebrating Christmas Day back home, he was running along Argentina’s Ruta 9 highway, sampling microwaved gnocchi at a service station instead of turkey. 
 But yesterday evening, the 35-year-old’s gruelling cross-continent endeavour came to an end. Mr Ramsay was due to arrive at the finishing line in the Argentinian capital of Buenos Aires at around 7pm last night, having completed the equivalent of around 428 marathons while pushing 45kg of equipment in a baby stroller.

In order to arrive in Buenos Aires for New Year’s Eve – over three months ahead of his initial schedule – he has run for 27 days straight with no rest days, covering a remarkable 56 kilometres a day even in temperatures as high as 45C and “unbearable” humidity.

Speaking as the finishing line was in sight, however, Mr Ramsay, from Whittingehame in East Lothian, said he was looking forward to a “nice little run” through the city centre.

Reflecting as he began the final leg of his adventure, he said that, although exhausted, he has already started to contemplate new challenges.

“I am not going to lie that I am absolutely shattered and looking forward to my bed, but bizarrely I spent this morning looking up potential new expeditions for the future, though I will need girlfriend approval,” he said yesterday.

“Doing something constructive that I thoroughly enjoy for over a year has been an amazing experience, and if I can find a financially viable way to continue living this kind of life then I will certainly try.”

Mr Ramsay’s run has helped raise money and awareness for three charities: CALM, which aims to preventing male suicide, WaterAid and Macmillan.

The idea came to him while working for a financial communications firm. Having spent 12 years in the job and mindful that he was approaching his mid-30s, he resolved to expand his horizons in dramatic fashion. The run made stern demands not only of his body – he burned through nearly 6,000 calories a day during the fundraiser – but also his footwear; he has torn through 18 pairs of trainers.

Though he will now enjoy a well-earned break, there is one final leg awaiting Mr Ramsay. After arriving back in the UK on 10 January, he will don his trainers one more time and jog the 15 miles from Heathrow to The Mall in central London. “I am just hoping I don’t seize up after a few days rest in Argentina,” he admitted.