Jamie McDonald: "Adventureman: Anyone Can Be a Superhero" | Talks at Google
So. What am i, shout. Anything what am i. Adventurer. Man it's a good answer but is nor the right one come on who's gonna get it. Nearly. But still neither i won, come. On waterboy. Still. Not the right answer, come, on go guys I thought you're supposed to be intelligent, here. We go a. Runner. He. Kept it simple. Still. Not the right answer, come on a. Robot. Is. That what I run like. Okay. One, last guess come on what am i. It's. True, I'm. Just, a normal bloke from England, I'm. A bit of an idiot actually. But. I found something, in here and I call it the superhero, within so. I'm gonna share my story and then I hope that you find the, superhero, within. You so. I'm gonna take you back to. 2012. This was the start of the biggest adventure of my life and I put my hand in the, Atlantic. Ocean in. Canada, and then the goal was. To run all the way to the Pacific, to, put my hand in, the, ocean, on the other side, of. Course, I, navigated. And. Camped, but I navigated. With, Google. Maps. So. Every morning I'd get my Google Maps out and then I'd kind of navigate. Myself but on this occasion there. Was only one, road that, I had to take only one that was it there was no other roads so, I get running and then, I stop and I look at Google, Maps and I knew there should have been a restaurant, popping, up and I look and I'm looking at the rest online this, is weird, I'm even further, away, from the restaurant. Google. Maps is broken. So. I keep running I keep. Running and I get to five miles. I get Google Maps out again I look. And I'm I I'm, even, further, away, from the restaurant, my. Google, Maps. And. Then I keep running, and. I, see a sign and. This. Is what happened. What. Is the life lesson, in this. What. Is it. Bingo. So. How I was done it was, with a backpack, so, I ran, with the backpack, but always 60. Kilograms, in the backpack weighed 30 so. At this point I'm kind of running a bit like this and, then. After 2 weeks of running my foot just went crack. So. If you can see there but on the left as a black spot so I thought my I thought my foot was broken and so. I I, hobble. Into this little town and this doctor, ends, up kind of getting a bone scan and I, kind of sit, in there with a dr. Baron mine I'll just told the whole world I'm gonna rough across Canada, and I'm, sat with a doc done like this isn't good news is it doc and he, looks at me and he looks at the bone scan and he goes Jamie, this, is brilliant, news he, said it's, not broken, it's just ligament. Damage. So. That is brilliant as I've only got a hundred and ninety more marathons to go. So. What'd you do you're, gonna make a change the backpacks, too heavy what. Do you do. You. Get wheels and. What you get a. Car. I. Tell. What you are easily one of the most intelligent, people in the room well done for noticing, my. Trusty, Caesar, so, this is him this is the actual, stroller. That I ran with he's obviously had. A few tweaks so. I've got my tent my sleeping, bag everything, I could possibly own but now all the weight is in, the stroller, so it's like skipping. On air really. But. Another kind of few more weeks of running and my.
Foot Oh sorry, not my foot my foot kind, of healed but. I started to feel an emotion. For. Three weeks of running on my own what kind of emotion, but I feel. Loneliness. I'm keeping it simple for you now because, you couldn't answer one single thing at the start at the talk. So. I did I started to get lonely so I saw this house in the distance and I went up and I knocked on the door and, I was like hi I'm, running across Canada, so is there any chance I can camp on your lawn but, in my brain I was just thinking please, let me in. This. Woman answered, and she she's, no you get no, you can't off you go will you and, I was like I'm really sorry I didn't want to disturb you and she, said well who, are you anyway. And, I, said wow look um I'm running on stuff and I, said this is my name you know and I gave her a little bit of backstory anyway so she looks at me and she, looks me up and down she says wait there will you and then, she went off and she, came back five minutes later and she, said right, now, I've just googled. You and you're real. So. She let me set up my tent and then. She came back out five minutes later again and she said stop setting up your tent there's. A motel and a key waiting for you and it's all paid for. So. I entered, this home as a complete, and utter stranger. And I met Daisy and her family for the very first time and we sat there and drank tea and biscuits, all evening we'll become really good friends and she supported, me for the rest of the journey, but. If I were knocked on your door what. Would you have done. Let. Me in yeah. Anyone. Else, would. You use Google. Me. Too. So. I want to tell you about the toughest, choice that I had in Canada, but you're gonna make this choice as well so to your right you've, got a shorter, route across Canada, to, your left you've, got an extra 15, marathons. Which road are you gonna take. Just. Human nature isn't it will always take the easy road the, reason why I was stuck on these crossroads is, that my lazy brain, wanted, wanting to go the shorter, road but my heart wanted.
To Do the extra 15 marathons and I went with my heart in the end and this is where I ended up I. Landed. In two sick kids in Toronto, and it was the Children's, Hospital that I was fundraising, for I had the flash outfit, at this time all the doctors and nurses came, out and kids dressed up as superheroes and we've done this big massive, run around. The hospital and this, doctor, came up to me and he, shook my hand and he said I don't know if you know Jamie, but in the last 15 marathons. You've, actually raised, an extra. $20,000. In the fundraising department. And. I was I was so chuffed, like I was as you can imagine and then, he gave me they're just the most beautiful line, he said go, in the extra, mile really, does make, a difference. Of. Course again I just just, filled me up but I couldn't, let it go when he said that I, really. Appreciate, that dot but I said you do need to know that was more than just an extra. When. I was about five years old, I looked down at my legs and I, couldn't, move them and my. Mum and dad was with me and suddenly. Was a it was a scary time we all started crying and and. Eventually the doctors found that I had this rest bone or condition, called shrinker, my ear so. I had these weird symptoms I sometimes I couldn't move my legs and immune deficiency, and epilepsy, and so on so I spent most of my life in hospital, but when I was about nine years old, my mum, she. Put this piece of string in the back guard and she said Jamie do you wanna play tennis I remember. Feeling like it's, not really mum but. I went out then I started cracking, the ball and I just got this love, for, movement I go just I just couldn't stop I've just got to keep moving I was like a dog you know when you throw a ball for a dog it's like I've gotta go I've gotta, go and um and after. The space of a year all. My symptoms gradually, disappeared, and I managed to get a lot of help from the hospital, at that time and, so.
Yeah So it's 16 years old I had this big massive, dream to be like the next big Roger Federer, but, it turned out I was absolutely. Terrible, at tennis and, so. Then in my later years about seven, years ago I was saving, up to put a deposit on a house and I, went to sign the papers, I'm right in the last minute I just got this gut feeling in, my stomach was, that something's wrong I don't, know if you ever get those gut feelings and, and. Then I went through this thought process. I've. Done this with paint so this is serious, stuff. What. I want you to do is just close your eyes and, take. 15, seconds, to think about what does more to life mean to you. Okay so I just kept going through, this, kind of more to lower get posing, that question and, in, the end I am I kind. Of got in touch with the hospital that helped me as a kid and I went there and I left and I was so inspired I ended. Up buying a bicycle. For, 50 pounds, out of the newspaper, now fifty pounds, is about a hundred bucks it was one of the worst bikes, known, to man and, then. I said, to the hospital, I am gonna cycle. 14,000. Miles from Bangkok. Thailand. All the, way back to Gloucester in England back to the hospital, I didn't. Have a compass. Or a map, so, on the first control kind of went the wrong way for, a few countries. I. Managed. To get back on track and then I made it alongside the, Afghanistan. Border and, then, this is what I landed into. That. The Tajikistan. People. Killed, an Afghan, general. Yesterday, and, there's, just more going. All around. Sounds. Like it could be two. Miles away at leaf. So. I found. Myself when, I woke up in the morning and III genuinely, thought it was fireworks when, I first heard those noises and, then, eventually I realized I was in the middle of a war zone so what do you do when you're in the middle of a war zone. What. Do you do. Keep. Your head down keep low what else. Find. Allies, Wow. I wouldn't want to go into a war with you. Run. Away yeah so I, decided. To get my camera, so. It's doing youtube videos to help with fundraising, and so when. It was like 5 o'clock in the morning I thought was a great idea to turn the camera on and start filming but, when you turn the camera and it gives off a flashing, red light, so. I'm in the middle of a war zone. So. I shot that it's. My own fault I wasn't hit ended. Up sharing that video on YouTube you're a say the, donations. For the kids hospital absolutely. Flew in. Brilliant. For fundraising. Fuel. If you're gonna cycle, 14,000. Miles what you want for fuel to keep you going con. Pizza. Good. Choice what else would you what else you want water. Yeah, that's a good sensible. Option, fantastic. Porridge. Yeah. Just get some porridge. Wherever you are yep brilliant. Okay, this is what happened. So. Yeah I was cause I was too much cycling, really I got. Back to Gloucester and, then. I ended up googling. What, was the longest ever, bike, ride and, it, came up with this Italian, guy he sat on one of those stationary. Bikes for, ten, days non-stop, like, ten days non-stop cycling. I'm like that's, impossible. You can't do that but. Then I was thinking well, if an Italian. Can do it. So. I jumped, on the static. Point to attempt a new Guinness world record you had to keep above 12 miles an hour if it drops once it's the end of the records as high-pressure, stuff and then every hour you cycle, you can accumulate a five minute break so. If you pedal for four hours you accumulate, a twenty minute break so I managed to keep pedaling, for 24, hours to, store up a one and a half hour sleep cycle, on the, first night I let down and also come on sleep.
I Just. Couldn't do it so then, I kept pedaling for 40 more hours and then I managed to get a one-and-a-half hour sleep cycle, and I made it to eight days, can. Anyone think of the worst possible pain, after eight days of pedaling, fire, it out. Bun. Great. Answer. So. It started to bleed and blister, and become infected, you. Ready to see this one I. Wouldn't. Do that to you but. It, was becoming serious, it was getting infected so they ended up getting some skin specialist. In some nurses, to sort the problem man so, I'm pedaling, away like this keeping, above 12 miles now I'm a little bit psychotic, at this stage well, just keep pedaling and this nurse comes over, and she feel, like pulling my pants down I think. She. Doing, and, then, she she, takes a photo of my bum. And. She goes. Up there and holds. It up hold. It up for me to see his impending. How. Would you do that to me and. Then. She said I'm so, sorry Jamie. There's nothing, we can do for your bond to here you've got to get off that bike. Buts, about never. Giving up isn't it you just never, ever ever. Give. Up so, I managed to keep pedaling, and the, nurses actually came back two hours later and they said Jane when we think we've got it to heal the infection, manuka, honey. Anyone. Heard of it, so. It's honey but it's an antibiotic so, she ended up slapping, that on my ass and. It. He would be infection. Within. The space of 12 hours and I managed to keep peddling to get a Guinness World Record for 12 days non-stop Simon. Does. Anyone know what we're famous for, in Gloucester, if. You. Guess it right you. Get free book I. Know. They're all free anyway. Any. Guesses what, we famous for in Gloucester. Cycling. Thank. You a really appreciate that but, unfortunately, it's not the right answer oh. What's. That never. Giving out also I'm feeling the love this, is what we're actually famous, for. So. That's what we do in Gloucester, we're. Old cheese down a really big here when everyone chases, after and then they break their arms and legs you. Get, to win the cheese that's why. So. After, after you've cycled around the world after you've broke the world record what, would you want to do after that. Chase. The cheese no. I, was. Just showing you I'm from what would you want actually want to do after that, sleep. Yeah. Else. Take. A break I actually. Went, and got myself a visa for Canada to go on holiday, to be a backpacker, and I was hoping to look like this. But. The Children's Hospital where I'm from actually, invited, me in, and. From. The fundraising, of the trips, we. Ended up kind of building a new school playroom, with. All the fundraising to help kids and everyone. In Gloucester, they kept saying Jamie what, are you doing next I'm. Like what, are you talking, about doing next I've done enough already but. Actually, it felt right and I still, had money left over from the house that I didn't buy. So. I thought, wow so a sat on on my mom and dad's toilet. My, visa came, in and, I thought. So. I jumped, off and I was like mom, dad I'm gonna, run across Canada and. Then. My mum she was like I don't think that's a good idea, and. Then my dad his vein was pulsating, on the side of his head he was like that's exactly, what you should be doing so, then we, all put it into, Google and this is what we found. If. You, don't know who this is is a guy called Terry Fox and in the 1980s. He ended up running across Canada, with, cancer, and one leg. Unfortunately. At the halfway point his cancer, returned and he died, but. To date he's, raised over, 7. A million. Dollars. He's. A superhero, okay.
So. Back to Canada. I, met, a family on route, actually, where Terry Fox's, run ended, and this family the mum took the picture, of this for. Me and this kid and she, said to me Jamie. Whatever happens, from this moment I, just, want you to know that my boy Samuel, he's battling a really big illness, right now and we just wholeheartedly. Believe in what you're doing and, we really, really want you to make it. So. It's starting to take off a little bit like Forrest, Gump in the end I just, feel that running. Maybe. Look at this picture, do you feel like you want to run across Canada now it looks fun doesn't it looks. Fun you want to run. There's. Just nothing, like you. Know if I. Don't. Know. Four. Days there's just tons. Of fish and butter. So. It's starting to get pretty isolated, in. Care I've got again, you, can probably tell I've got no support, crew so I'm just kind of running and I'm heading into the winter and I I stayed, in this family's, home this is a true story so I left. This family's, home and this mom could Julianne she looks at me and she goes Jamie. You're a Bri you, have no idea what the Canadian winters, like her where she said you're, gonna die. Has. A hobby fine, you know it's all for Iran anyway. This woman she set up a Facebook, group and she called it stalking. Mama, bears, the. Group grew to over 30 women and what they would do is they, would all call ahead into, each town, and village so at one point I, was running into a snowstorm I couldn't see anything, and this fire engine turns. Up and ends. In this fire. Money says get, in the front of the engine and we'll drive you in and keep you safe, this. Is unbelievable. Anything, I'm like how did you know I was Harry and he kind of looks he goes that mama bears, called us. It. Got even like, deeper, than that I ended, up getting a phone call from one of the mama bears and she called me up and she said Jamie have you been on a date, since you've been in Canada, I. Said. You know I haven't Robin, in the wilderness running. For. About seven eight months what are you talking about anyone forgot about the phone call and a week later this, car shows up and this, woman she. Gets out and she hands me a bouquet, of flowers and. I'm like scratching. My head of my what you want me to do with these, and. She, said well Jamie I'm one of the mama bears we spoke the other week, she said what I want you to do is take these flowers because. I'm all up the road there's a camper van a candlelit, dinner and, a hot Canadian, girl waiting, for you. So. Give me those flowers I. Ran. My heart, out. And. That's the end of that story. So. After, 140, marathons, my foot, picked up chronic tendinitis. Forget. About running just putting my foot to the floor was was agony, and and. In, this moment I just, the only thing I could do is actually message, my dad and this is what I sent to him. And then. This was my dad's response. So. I went to get my shoe on but my foot was so swollen I actually couldn't, fit it in so. I got a pair of scissors and I'd cut around the, shoe and it, went in but then the shoe became floppy so. I got some duct tape and I duct taped it all up and then I went out there and I embraced, every. Single, painful, step and just embraced. The, pain I. Saw. Just want to share with you so I work in Celsius, so does, anyone know what -, 45. Celsius. Is in. Fahrenheit. Is. It, really, no. I think it's - 55. Fahrenheit. Smartass.
Good. Guess though. So. Just so I don't know if you've ever experienced. That before but. What I want you to do is I want you to imagine this so you know your freezers, at home so. Double, the temperature in cold like make it double, even colder now, what I want you to do is get your face and stick. It in there. Hold. It there, keep. Holding, rolling. In no, just. Hold it in there all day. So. I ended up getting frostbite, on the end of my nose and I lost a little bit the ending of it it's, fine because I've got an absolute, massive. Schnoz anyway. So. As I came up to the Rocky Mountains, I started. To get messages from police Rangers. Every. Single person that was following the trip through social media and what they were saying is don't go no. One's ever crossed the Rocky Mountains, in the winter, and they said snow can pole up as, high as this ceiling, and if you're out there you're gonna put your life in danger and, then. I received a message from, a, mom that I met on the trip and. The. Message, the, message said. Hey. Jamie as you. Head into what might be the hardest and, most dangerous part of your journey I thought, it might inspire you to be reminded what you are running for, you. Might recall sour you're a little, gone in orange hat and the, sweatshirt, that you met in the city of Thunder Bay. Well. Sammy's, cancer has returned, and he is out of treatment options for. Now. We enjoying every day in his living a full joyful, life as best he can, it's. Devastating for us obviously there's. Also motivating. To make sure that you know that what you are doing is going to change the, outcome for kids like him in the future. As. A normal mum I have, to say first be careful Jamie but. Of a mum of a child facing, the end of his beautiful life I say, keep, going Jamie. So. I ended up making it over the Rocky Mountains, and I. Landed into, Vancouver, and I was a crying, baby when. I got there I had snot flying down my nose it was really embarrassing and, then. I saw it I saw the ocean the, Pacific, Ocean this was like the day I dreamt about every, single day for an entire year of running, and and. I put it in there I put, it in there I didn't know whether to laugh or cry and, so, I just I just ran, in and dove into the ocean which, is really silly because I nearly got hypothermia. The. Journey in the end, from. Fundraising ended, up raising half, a million dollars for kids hospitals, on route, and also back home in England.
Do. You know what I didn't see coming though, do, you remember Daisy, at the start of the journey that ended. Up kind of googling, me and got. Me in the motel, no I I, just, didn't see that coming, like I really didn't and and, all. What about the the doctor, you know that kind of you, know shook my hand and kind of really fulfilled. My inside, and, all. The mother bear that got me the date. What. The hell. In, a, way they were they, were my superheroes. Just. Take a moment now who. Are your superheroes. And who. Are you a superhero, too. Lastly. I'm. Just a normal, bloke from it from England I'm a bit, of an idiot but I know you can tell that by now but, I just found more within here just more and, every. Single one, of us has that, every. Single one of us so, whatever that is to you find. Your super hero within thank. You very much. What. Keeps driving, me, and what's really, really, important, while I do this, utterly stupid, stuff, is, um I set. Up a charity, called superior, foundation, and the, first family that got in touch was. Was this family here as a guy called James, and Kate and his little girl called Charlotte, she's got cerebral palsy and they. Were trying to get an operation in America, to enable her to walk they raised. $30,000. But they need another 30 and so, they called me up and they said Jamie can you help and, I said do you know what I'm not really sure, I know, and so I was, like a tower how about I just come to your house and and. Then we'll do it from there I know so I turn up and I knock on the door and this. Guy answers, he's got this big massive beer belly on him and, he's like hey majora barrel, draught of coffee and, I was like I'll just take your coffee for now and then I meet the family, and I said you know what I think we can raise this extra, $30,000. And I, said to the, the mum and the dad who wants to be the soup hero and they kind of pointed at each other and, and. Then, the dad he pipes her and he goes Gino or he said I fancied, a challenge all my life and. I said good James cuz I just worked out but if you go up and down on local, Hill 75. Times that. Would be the equivalent of Mount Everest. Look. And then, his wife kind of nudges in which is you you, will do that James. And. He said right, let's, do it so. He. Calls me up the next day he. Said Jamie I've just done 25, summits, out of the 75. And my knee is, absolutely. Gone it's buggered I can hardly walk. What. Were you thinking and, in the end I just said you know what James I said do nothing now and and. I'll see you in a month now just don't aggravate your knee it's going to be your motivation, for your daughter not, not, your physicality, that's, going to get you through this challenge so, a month later we start at the bottom of the hill and then, he starts rocking, it up and down, he's. Gonna touch, the headstone it's a really, steep hill as, well and but, after 20, hours of going nonstop he, really, started to struggle he's a big guy and and. Then he came down to the bottom of the marquee, and he started crying his eyes out and I've, never seen a grown man cry before and, I, just looked I said what's up James he said my knee is gone Jamie. Said I can't take another step and he, said I just can't and I was scratching my head looking at him thinking there's, another 40, more hours to go here, I'm not really expecting this at this time fundraising. Was at zero so. I gave him a story so, I told him about Terry Fox you. Know with cancer, in one leg and so, I just launched into, this five minute epic, story I really focus, on Terry Fox's knee for the pain to, try and give him some inspiration. And then, he looks up at me with tears in his eyes and he goes why. He he, ran with a stump, and, I was like yes. James he ran with a stump and he. Said all. The way across Canada. Thought. I better, leave out the part where Terry Fox dies halfway. So. He gets up and he starts hobbling.
On He says hobbling, he, makes it to another. 20. More hours of 40, hours non-stop and then he started to puke and he couldn't stand up like he could not stand up and he couldn't stomach food so then we, went up to his wife and we said what's he been requesting, for for food and she. Said why, he has mentioned a McDonald's. That hasn't been in the game plan from the day we met him but do you know what let's just give him what he wants, so he wakes up and then we stuff him full of Big Mac. And. Then. As he started hobbling, on again for the last part I thought he's not going to make this he needs more motivation. And all. These flood. Of social. Media messages, were coming in so I decided, to share one with him and this, was one, of the ones that I shared. As. I read it out I could feel my throat kind of choking up and and. Then, BBC, Radio Gloucestershire, were there and they put the might to his mouth and he, just starts pouring his heart saying, I've just got to do this for my family and and. It ended up going national or the story in the end and hundreds. Of people started turning up at the bottom of the hill this is one granddad. That just saved, his coppers for, like I don't know 20. Years or something and he said here take this for Sharla but the community, just ran together it just really built, but. He started to look like this after kind. Of 45, hours. May, this is much better going. He. Made it with ten summits, left and we just said you know what again we he. Had to walk down backwards in the end his knees got so bad and so we had them we had the marquee down there we thought let's give him some more motivation so, we put the posters, ten, nine, eight seven. Six so, he'd have to visually, go and rip, each one, and, so. He eventually, James, gets to number four and Bera morning he's a really, quiet humble, guy and he gets to number four. He rips it down he, looks at everyone he's like come, on, and. Then he eats it. So. James you feeling okay. He. Then started, to run up and down the hill no, one could, keep up with him and on the final on, the final, Hill we. All went up to the top of the summit and and. We made it and I went up and I said James, I said you have now conquered. Mount Everest, and he had no idea with the fundraising, target. And we said just so you know you've smashed over, $30,000. Charlotte's. Got our operation, in America, and she will be walking for the rest of her life and then. What we've done is we had Charlotte, and we wheeled her over in the wheelchair and. He, gave her a big massive hug, and then we set off fireworks. And, that. Was the start of superfan Dacian. So. This is the the time to ask where if you can give, I know Google actually, matches, they, give my my dream is to put, supriya. Foundation, and build the crowdfunding, platform, and inspire communities all across the country and change sick kids lives forever, that's, my mission so, if you can give that would be absolutely, amazing. I volunteer. My time with the charity, and I always will do so, every single, dollar that you that you spend will change a kid's life so. When you leave it you're gonna take on the biggest, superhero. Challenge of, your life aren't you and. Then. When you do, your. Lachie vyx you always do do, you think it's really, really important, that you then scream. Who's. The daddy. This. Is the final, summit of the Rocky Mountains as. I, hit, the summit it was all downhill into, Vancouver after. This and, thank you very much you've been awesome. Daddy. Oh daddy. You.