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Running Is My Way Of Life


Jamie Ramsay is an Endurance Adventure Athlete, presenter, public speaker and brand ambassador. He has completed over 32,000km of human-powered adventuring in 29 countries and 20 different adventures. He is a runner, cyclist, trekker and mountaineer.  Read below to learn about how running has helped Jamie in his life goals.

 

I always knew that running was an essential part of my life, but I did not really understand that properly until I found myself in a place where I couldn’t run. Before an ill-advised decision to continue, following an ankle sprain in an 8-day endurance race resulted in a persistent niggling injury removed this essential ritual from my routine, I think I just took running for granted.

 

When I think back through some of my running memories, they bring nothing but pleasure. From a young age I was on the move, be it trying to get away from my mothers’ camera, to being the kid that ran to the sweetshop to by fellow student’s bubble gum. The first thing I was ever captain of was the cross-country running team. Being able to run got me into a tetrathlon team with the older kids in Pony Club and took me to the national championships. It was not until I was 25 that I turned jogging into work into marathon training and running became my vehicle for foreign adventures. I visited Sweden, France, Kenya and in 2013 found myself running 240km solo down the coast of Vietnam.

 

It was in 2014, that running took on a very different meaning to me. I had a job in the City of London working in an office endlessly staring at a computer screen and existing to earn money so that I could pay the bills to carry on existing. Life had very little meaning or fulfilment and I was merely going through the motions of what I thought I was expected to do. This led to a deep-rooted sense of dissatisfaction and resentment. The frustration built up inside and I needed to find a way to manage it and gradually, and unknowingly, that was when running became my meditation and self-therapy. I would use the repetitive motion of one foot in front of the other and my competitiveness to drive the negativity out of my body and replace it with a brief feeling of achievement and freedom. For years this worked but as the stress of not feeling fulfilled in life and the negative impact that was having on my general mental health, I felt an urgency to find something bigger to help me stay sane.

 

On one particular morning, I found myself in an unusually low state of mind and realised that the time had come to take action. My commuting runs were masking the issues but not solving them. I knew that I needed to determine just what I needed in life to be happy and as I sat at my desk gazing into space, I trawled through my memories, trying to find the moment I was content, happy, fulfilled and felt accomplished. That moment was sitting alone at a makeshift bar in an obscure village in Vietnam sipping a beer having run 240km solo and unsupported. In that moment, I realised that promotions, pay rises and a mundane routine were not going to make me happy, pursuing my passions, pushing my physical limits and exploring the world was my key to a more balanced and happy mental state.

 

That one realisation led me to change my life, quit my job and fly halfway around the world and embark on a 17,000km run that would transform how I feel about everything in my life. Over the course of 16 months, I would run for 367 days, averaging over a marathon a day and pushing everything I needed in life in a baby stroller in front of me. I crossed two continents, ran through 14 countries and took on challenges such as navigating my way around the Darien Gap, forging my way across the Atacama Desert and climbing over the Andes. I met the most astounding people and experienced true kindness and outrageous generosity. This epic run was not about records, firsts or recognition, it was about self-discovery, truly getting to know who I was and what I was capable of. Every day was a test, but a test that challenged me in positive ways and rewarded me with confidence and a sense of purpose. It was not always easy, but it was always rewarding.

 

I am not going to claim that the run changed who I am because I believe we all have inner demons and worries that will live with us forever no matter what, but what it did allow me to do was understand those demons and create the tools needed to manage them. With these new tools, my plans for the future changed and became more ambitious. I had forged a new path that challenged me daily and it was one that I was determined to follow for as long as possible.

 

Running took me to the Outer Hebrides, the highest peaks in Scotland, England and Wales and across wild and remote places like Iceland. I started working with brands, running in teams and slowly but surely, I became one of those people whose passion also became their job. Over the last few years, I have completed over 20,000km of running adventures and even found myself on television a couple of times. 

 

In 2017, I took part in the Cape Wrath Ultra and while in 3rd position, sprained my ankle. The sensible decision would have been to stop but that isn’t how my mind works. There was a finish line, and I am programmed to find a way to get there no matter what. While managing to finish on the podium gave a huge sense of achievement, I had unknowingly created an injury that would hamper my running for the next few years. My attempt to run the length of Madagascar was thwarted and running any distance on uneven ground has become a bit of a lottery. It isn’t all bad though. Understanding my injury has allowed me to diversify how I adventure and has pushed me to climb mountains, trek through the wilderness and cycle across continents. It’s been an epic journey and one I wouldn’t change for the world.

 

But I miss my everyday run, the five km routine that takes you away from the stresses and strains of the world. The half an hour when your brain can tune out, your muscles can stretch, and your lungs pump new fresh oxygen through your body. I miss the incremental gains in time and distance that give you a sense of achievement, even if everything else in life isn’t going to plan. When I look at the photos and videos of my running there is a smile on my face that nothing else compares to. I am jealous when I see people running in the back and beyond and discovering new places. This is what running is to me. Its not just fitness, it’s a complete tool to keep your mind, body and spirit connected and fine-tuned. Running is a way of living and I am desperately trying to bring running back to the core of my life because I know it makes all the difference.

My Running Adventures

  • 17,000km solo & unsupported Running the Americas
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  • 700km solo & unsupported Three Peaks Run
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  • 620km Unsupported Run across Iceland
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  • 430km solo & unsupported Scottish Isles Run
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  • 400km Cape Wrath Ultra (3rd overall)
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  • 265km Transalpine run (twice)
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  • 240km solo & unsupported Vietnam run
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  • 220km Towpath Challenge
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  • Endure24 (135km in 24 hours)
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  • 120km solo & unsupported GR221 Medoc Marathon with The Wine Show 
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  • Swedish Marathon
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  • Paris Marathon
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  • Lewa Safaricom Marathon

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