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Superhero completes epic Canada run
12:51am Tuesday 4th February 2014 in © Press Association 2014
A British adventurer has spoken of his joy at completing a gruelling charity run across Canada dressed as a superhero.
Jamie McDonald, 27, became the first person to run across Canada without a support team when he crossed the finishing line in Vancouver - nearly 12 months after setting off.
Mr McDonald, from Gloucester, was joined by his father Donald and friends to celebrate ending the mammoth challenge, in which he has raised £150,000 for charity.
The 5,000 mile coast-to-coast run is the equivalent of more than 200 marathons in 275 days, and involved Mr McDonald sleeping by the side of the road, or relying on strangers' generosity as he undertook the challenge.
Mr McDonald spoke of the mixed emotions he felt at finally finishing, where he was met by dozens of journalists and members of the public.
"I just can't believe it's over," he said.
"I have worked for so long and given this run everything I have, physically and mentally, that to finally dip my hand into the Pacific Ocean eleven months and more than 200 marathons after doing the same thing in the Atlantic Ocean is just incredible.
"I feel a real mix of emotions. I'm ecstatic that I have finished.
"I'm honoured to have met so many amazing people in what is truly a beautiful country. I'm humbled by the support people in the UK and Canada have given me.
"I'm hopeful that my run has and will inspire people to know that we can do whatever we put our mind to.
"And, of course, I'm sad that it's over as it's been such a big part of my life and I'm uncertain about what happens next.
"Even though I had no support team, I felt like Canada was right behind me, every step of the way.
"Thinking about all the people that have helped me along the way, whether it was offering a bed, or handing me a coffee, it brings a tear to my eye.
"It's hard to imagine running in a more friendlier, supportive and hospitable country."
Originally billed as the "British Forrest Gump", he has run dressed as comic superhero The Flash after a public vote on Twitter and Facebook chose a costume for him.
The coast-to-coast challenge began in St John's, Labrador, in March and ended in Vancouver after passing through mountain ranges, national parks and along highways.
The adventurer has battled temperatures of -40C, run through the Rockies during a harsh Canadian winter, slept rough, been attacked and given motivational talks at dozens of schools.
Mr McDonald has run for more than 2,000 miles with chronic tendonitis, gone through more than 10 pairs of trainers, became one of few British people to have been 'White Hatted' in Calgary - joining the likes of Prince William and Kate Middleton - and also permanently injured and misshapen his foot.
He also pushed his 60kg (132lb) baby stroller Caesar, which contained all his possessions, for more than 4,500 miles. He began the journey by carrying a 30kg (66lb) backpack, but had to change tack when the weight caused an injury.
Mr McDonald, who suffered from a debilitating immune deficiency and potentially fatal spinal condition syringomyelia as a child, spent the first nine years of his life in and out of children's hospitals and is running to raise funds for SickKids Foundation, Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity and the Pied Piper Appeal.
He has also recently won two major awards having been voted male runner of the year and won the Golden Shoe from Running Magazine. He already holds a world record for static cycling after he pedalled for 265 hours straight - the equivalent of 11 days - in 2012.
Mr McDonald accomplished the feat just two weeks after cycling 14,000 miles from Bangkok to Gloucester. During that trip he says he was shot at, arrested and slept rough.
He has been inspired by Canadian fundraiser and amputee Terry Fox, 22, who lost his battle against cancer in 1981 before completing the cross-country run after 3,339 miles. His foundation has since raised more than 500 million Canadian dollars for cancer research.
Throughout his attempt he has kept supporters updated on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, where he posts videos documenting his efforts.
A homecoming celebration is planned in Gloucester on February 13.