Welcome to the latest edition of ‘In the Pen’, our series of interviews with the runners that inspire the Lonely Goat Running Club community. This month we welcome runner and endurance adventurer, Jamie Ramsay.
After 12 years working for an international communications agency, Jamie wasn’t happy with the direction of his life and realised if he didn’t make some drastic changes then things would continue to spiral downwards. His solution was to quit his job, fly to Vancouver and run 17,000km solo and unsupported to Buenos Aires.
Following the success of this adventure, Jamie decided to dedicate his life to pushing his perceived boundaries. His adventures include running across Iceland, reaching the summit of Aconcagua, cycling across Australia, and setting the record for running the entire Three Peaks.
As a fan of Lonely Goat Running Club, Jamie kindly answered our questions.
Why do you run?
The simple answer is because of the feeling it gives my while I am doing it and the sense of achievement once I have finished.
But running has also been one of my main tools for adventure over the last 6 years. I have completed over 20,000km of running (not including training) and been to 20 plus countries. Before I took running seriously, I was a bit lost and running gave me a sense of purpose and direction I couldn’t get from anything else.
What motivates you?
My main motivation is to make sure I don’t stagnate. If I am not moving then I tend to slow down, with my motivation to do other things diminishing, and then I find it increasingly more difficult to get my mental side positive. I am the kind of person that needs to be moving towards something to feel any sort of accomplishment.
What are your top tips for beginner runners?
I hear a lot of runners say that they get to the second and third kilometre and it just feels hard. Well, the truth is that that never goes away. Running is like everything else in life; the more work, dedication and commitment you put into it then the bigger the rewards.
Also, make sure you have the right shoes. Take the time to visit a running shop and ask an expert. So many times I hear people say “I have bad knees” and I suggest it might be their shoes and they say “No, can’t be, I have Nike”, for example. That means nothing.
What is your favourite place to run?
On a trail anywhere, but particularly mountains. There may be a bit of yearning in that answer because I injured my ankle back in 2018 and since then have been very wary about getting back to trails. My ankles are getting stronger and it will only be a matter of time until I am back exploring the mountains.
Where would you like to run that you haven’t?
This could end up being a long list.
I would love to run the Boston Marathon because the atmosphere looks amazing. I would love to run in Antarctica or anywhere with snow. The John Muir Trail is high on the list as is anywhere on mainland Africa.
But I think my next running adventure will have to be my return to Madagascar to finish what I never quite started. I attempted to start a run from the north to the south in November 2019 but my ankles weren’t up to it. I need to go back and do it or I will always feel I let myself down.
Do you have any favourite running books?
Well, it certainly isn’t the one I am writing at the moment. I can honestly say that writing a book about running 17000km is harder than actually running it. There are so many stories I want to include but can’t because I need to cut the word count down from 160,000 to c.90,000. It is really tough.
What result are you most proud of?
There have been many moment during my “running career” that I am proud of. Most of them are just little hurdles I have overcome, or moments when I could have quit but found the strength to carry on.
Running 700km across the Atacama Desert in 13 days was pretty awesome as was solo running over the Andes. I once ran 1,575km in 28 days straight, no rest days. All of that was solo and unsupported while pushing a 40kg stroller. But coming 3rd in the Cape Wrath Ultra sticks out.
This 400km race took place in Scotland, where I was born, so was already special. To get to the podium I had to run 200km with a sprained ankle and that took so much grit and determination that when I look back at that, it reminds me just how much more we are capable of.
Who inspires you?
I am inspired by those who dedicate their lives to being the best they can be at sport especially Olympians and tennis players. I can extract a lot of inspiration from their mindset and work ethic.
And then those who are pushing boundaries in the world of adventure. Anyone who looks at something that most people think is impossible and can find a way to achieve success.
The 82 year old Jacques Houot is pretty awesome and I love his motto: Be Alive!
Are you a parkrunner?
I have done a few parkruns and love the community spirit around them, and the cake afterwards. Sadly there isn’t one near me, but I have a barcode and I use it when I can.
Music or silence when running?
I am embarrassed to say that the music app, Deezer sent me a message saying I was one of Taylor Swift’s top listeners in Europe!
I love a beat to run to. It’s not the words, but the cadence it gives. If I am trying to run fast, I select something upbeat; if I am trying to slow down then maybe a podcast.
I do enjoy running with just the noises of nature but I started running with music to block out the sounds of traffic in London and it has stuck.
What do you like about running on your own?
Running alone is a time for meditation, reflection and self-therapy. It is on a long run that you can spend time thinking about what you have been doing and what you need to do. You can be present in the moment and not feel any need to engage with anyone. It’s true alone time.
What is your next challenge?
Right now I am building up my endurance and trying to restrengthen my ankle. I have a few long-distance cycling adventures coming up which I find a great way to prepare for long-distance running without too much risk of injury or impact.
Next year I have an epic cycle tour in the diary so my next serious running challenge will probably be Madagascar in 2022. This will be 2000km solo and unsupported through some truly gnarly conditions. It is the challenge that eludes me and therefore something I can’t back down from.
Having some serious time to train and plan is different from how I normally go about big adventures so hopefully that will give me a better chance of success.
How can people follow you online?
Here are videos of some of my previous adventures:
Thank you Jamie!
Keep your eyes peeled for the next edition of ‘In the Pen‘, coming soon…
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HAPPY RUNNING FACE: This is the happy face that comes from the evening jog listening to @taylorswift (yup… that's right!) So grateful that I can still hit some trails, even if they are short (5km 20m50s). #running #keepingfit @gorewear#alwaysevolve @runnersneed @lonelygoatrc @we_are_sungod