I am Jamie Ramsay, a British Endurance Adventure Athlete.
I have travelled over 23,000km via foot (over 19,000km) and bike in 25 different countries. I am an ambassador for the new Land Rover Explore phone and a Gore Athlete.
The main reason to start my adventures was to follow my passions rather than focus my energy on a 9-5 I didn’t have any connection with.
Everything I was doing was purely to pay for a lifestyle that I did not necessarily want.
When I started to see negative impacts on my daily life I realised I needed to take control of my life in a more positive and less destructive manner. Once I had accepted I was not happy on the path I was on it was easier to make the dramatic change to another lifestyle, I knew I would be sacrificing things but then I also relished what I would be getting in return.
Dinners in fancy restaurants would be exchanged for roadside shacks etc.
I knew what it was that I wanted to achieve and that is important when you are trying to make changes in your life.
Running the Americas was my first big adventure.
The idea was probably conceived after a 240km unsupported run through Vietnam. I had felt a connection with that adventure and I wanted to create an adventure that would be the stepping stone to a potential life pursuing something I was passionate about.
In statistics, Running the Americas was a solo and self-supported run that covered over 17000km across 14 different countries, 15 if you include the last section from Terminal 5 to the Houses of Parliament.
I completed the distance in 367 running days and averaged about 46.5km a day. My longest day was 79km.
I wore through 17 pairs of running shoes and burnt about 5000-6000 calories a day. I crossed the Andes twice reaching a peak of 4830m in Chile. I ran 700km across the Atacama desert and managed to navigate my way along the coast of the Darien Gap between Panama and Colombia. I also raise about £25,000 for CALM, Macmillan and WaterAid.
The adventure itself turned out to be so much more than I ever imagined.
I learnt that my limitations were far higher than I had previously given myself credit for. It also turned out to be a pretty thorough self-therapy session.
When you have lots of time alone, and I had plenty of that, your mind wanders to some interesting places.
There are things you learn about yourself and the areas you want to work on. The biggest lesson of all was that this run was just a fleeting moment in my life.
On paper, it seems a huge achievement but anything like this is pointless if you don’t learn how to develop what you learnt and continue to challenge yourself in other ways.
I did a TEDx talk at Edinburgh University.
The theme was empowerment and my talk was meant to be a bit lighter than the talks before, however, I thought it best to use this brief window to talk about the motivations that got me to make a change.
The life I used to live seemed, on the outside, to be very successful and on track, but that was only if you saw the good bits, ignored the bad bits and based it on a very standard life arch. I hit a place where I needed to make a change for my own happiness and fulfilment in life and I wanted people to see that.
It was hard to be so honest and open in front of a big audience but after I got over the initial nerves, I enjoyed it. If one person heard my talk and thought “I need to make some changes” and then followed through with that conviction, then my job was done.
We all do things with different motivators.
No two existences are the same and the path I chose would certainly not fit with lots of other peoples interpretation of happiness. But what I have learnt is that if you have a passion and you are willing to make sacrifices to follow it then the rewards, both physical and emotional, will be far more worthwhile than settling for what you think you should do. If you have a passion then you need to think about a very simple plan to implement it.
Don’t over think it but be very aware of the potential pitfalls and definitely don’t be scared of failure. Its the fear of failure that allows us to feel the fulfilment when we hit success.
I would also add that success shouldn’t be a specific moment. If you have an end goal and that is the final point then you will quickly learn that the feeling of success is brief and after that comes a void. Always plan the next stage, the next challenge and by doing that you will continue to develop.
All my challenges are chosen because they are going to help me develop as an endurance adventure athlete in some way.
Each adventure has a special moment that sticks with me and the whole of the Running Americas experience will always eclipse everything else. However, When I was cycling across South America last year there was a moment that was so beautiful I will always remember it. I arrived at the Salar de Uyuni to find that it was the wet season and surface that is normally crisp ice was in fact about 6-8 inches under water. This created a mirror effect that stretched as far as the eye could see in every direction.
There was a point when all the tourist vehicles stopped and would not go further but I was so determined to cross it that I headed out alone into the unknown.
I had no map, no GPS and no connectivity.
All I knew what that there was an island 60-70km in a particular direction. All day I cycled across this perfectly beautiful mirror with the clouds in the sky reflected below me. It was truly spectacular and an experience I will never forget.
Sometimes you just have to trust in your ability and break through that line that others won’t cross, it’s by doing that, that you sometimes experience something others don’t get the privilege to witness.
Put fulfilment and happiness first
You have to make sacrifices and there might be things you can’t do but If you focus on making every day more meaningful to you then the cumulative effect is worth whatever it is you gave up.
I have also learnt that for me, I get the most from experiences that are ‘hard’.
If something is easy then I have a tendency to lower myself to that level, that explains that when people ask how I mentally deal with the challenges, that I explain its the times that I am not on adventures that I start to struggle. I need that adversity, that focus and that experience to keep myself in the moment.
I am very fortunate to have relationships with brands that have organically developed. There has been no agent pushing me just a mutual understanding that our ethos are the same.
Land Rover Explore, GORE, Powertraveller and sometimes Rude Health are all great people to work with and I look forward to developing more of these partnerships as I get more ambitious with my endeavours.
That ‘Pinch me’ Moment
When Prince Harry hugged me! I was helping out with CALM (Charity) and the Launf the Royal’s Heads Together campaign. Prince Harry came over to our stand and was very engaged with what our team were telling him.
There was a pause and then Prince Harry asked if I knew someone he knew and I said that was the case, he then said he had heard about what I had done and that is was so impressed. He said we should hug it out and that’s exactly what we did.
I am pretty sure there were some girls around the place that would have been pretty jealous of that one.