Adventurer takes on biggest challenge with fatherhood

Jamie McDonald, partner Anna McNuff and their baby daughter Storm (Jamie McDonald/PA)
Jamie McDonald, partner Anna McNuff and their baby daughter Storm (Jamie McDonald/PA)

An adventurer who has run and cycled across the world has taken on his biggest challenge yet – fatherhood.

Jamie McDonald, 34, and his partner Anna McNuff, 36, welcomed daughter Storm in December and have been getting to grips with sleepless nights.

Between them they have run, cycled and swum halfway around the world to raise hundreds of thousands of pounds for charity.

The former tennis coach has now written a book, Running America, about his 5,500-mile, 210-marathon coast-to-coast run across the US in 2019.

Jamie McDonald has become a father, written a book and is already planning his next feat (Jamie McDonald/PA)

He started writing the book during the first lockdown last year when his Superhero Foundation charity and fundraising work stopped overnight.

“I am normally being pulled left, right and centre, and when the world shut down the great part of that is Anna became pregnant, and then I had this time to write about the American adventure and just relive those stories again,” Mr McDonald said.

“Once Storm was born, I was trying to do stints of writing the moment she closed her eyes.”

Mr McDonald, who lives in Gloucester with his family, likened parenthood to one of his adventures as his daughter was not sleeping well at night.

“It actually feels just like an adventure, a really brutal endurance – both physically, mentally and emotionally – brutal,” he said.

“It feels like that. But there’s beauty in that as an adventure when you get rewarded and feel that what you are doing has a purpose.

“The baby journey definitely feels like an adventure.”

Jamie McDonald pushed a trolley for his 5,500-mile run across the US (Jamie McDonald/PA)

His most recent challenge was to break the Guinness World Record for the greatest distance covered on a treadmill in a week, which he did weeks after completing the run across the US.

“With every difficult challenge you block it out and you think it was never that tough,” Mr McDonald said.

“I remember at the end of the treadmill I had to go to hospital because I couldn’t breathe properly and I lost half my red blood cells and they just disappeared through the seven days of running.

“I was on a drip and I was unable to walk for two weeks. That was quite a scary time. How do I compare that to having a baby?

“It’s not too far off. You’re sleep deprived and at least with the treadmill it was quite an intense experience.

“I went to near death but with a baby the challenge of her not sleeping is that it is day in, day out and it’s been going for eight months and is it ever going to end?

“It definitely brings a lot of emotions as it did on the treadmill. I call it the dreadmill.”

Adventurers Jamie McDonald and Anna McNuff became parents to a baby daughter Storm last year (Jamie McDonald/PA).

Even though he is now a father, he does not plan on stopping his adventures with a secret challenge being planned.

“There will be another adventure and it could be soon, depending on the restrictions around the world,” he said.

“It’s going to be a short adventure as now, being a dad, even spending one night away from her, it feels huge.

“It’s going to be a short adventure and it is going to be monumental.”

He is also developing a new app for his charity to help match volunteers offering help with the families of sick children.

Mr McDonald, who suffered from a debilitating immune deficiency and the potentially fatal spinal condition syringomyelia as a child, spent the first nine years of his life in and out of children’s hospitals.

He came to prominence in 2012 when he cycled 14,000 miles from Bangkok to Gloucester on a £50 second-hand bike.

Weeks after returning to Gloucester, he set a new world record for cycling non-stop on a static bike.

In February 2013, two months after setting the new world record, he began a run across Canada He has since raised more than £1 million for charity.

– Mr McDonald’s new book can be purchased at

He is a motivational speaker and further details are at

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