Undertaking two of the most extreme challenges in all sport, Jamie is to row the Atlantic Ocean solo, and complete the Marathon Des Sables (MDS) in the Sahara Desert.
Jamie will face these two monumental challenges in support of CITC’s new mental health project ‘City Thrive’, and the Cancer Fund for Children, who support children and their families struggling to cope with cancer, back in Jamie’s home of Ireland.
Jamie has worked with Man City Academy teams for over three years. Though having coached some of the very best junior age players at Man City, it was his experience teaching children in rural India where his ambition to champion opportunities for disadvantaged children first took root, inspiring Jamie’s incredible next steps and fundraising efforts.
Despite completing his first marathon in 2018, nothing Jamie has achieved to date comes close to the dual challenges that await in 2022.
Challenge 1 – March 2022
The MDS is a six-day ‘ultra-marathon’ run over a course of approximately 156 miles. As if this wasn’t enough, this gruelling multi-stage race takes place in one of the world’s most inhospitable climates – the Sahara Desert.
Though temperatures regularly reach 50°C during the day and plummet to freezing at night, Jamie will battle extreme heat, distance, and dehydration with a 15kg pack on his back, taking on a race has described as ‘the toughest footrace on earth’ by The Discovery Channel.
Challenge 2 – December 2022
The solo Atlantic row, also known as the Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge, is considered the world’s toughest ocean row. Covering over 3,000 miles from La Gomera in the Canary Islands to Antigua in the Caribbean, the unsupported crossing takes anywhere between 40-100 days.
The row will see Jamie contend with the extreme conditions of the Atlantic Ocean; from the scorching equatorial heat to brutally violent storms that generate waves up to 30ft. Aside from pushing the boundaries of endurance, Jamie will battle sleep deprivation, salt sores and the physical demand of rowing up to 18 hours a day.
Alongside the physical stress placed upon the body, Jamie will also have the mentally tough test of being alone and isolated for months in the wilds and expanding openness of the Atlantic Ocean. Indeed, more people have been into space than rowed an entire ocean solo.
The challenges that lie ahead for Jamie are not for the faint hearted. While the run and row themselves will certainly test every fibre of Jamie’s body and physical capabilities, they are perhaps as much a test of Jamie’s mental strength too, as he contends with the natural extremes of both the desert and ocean solo and without support.
Jamie’s challenges are in support of two worthwhile causes. In support of CITC, Jamie is directly raising funds for CITC’s new ‘City Thrive’ project, help to improve the lives of thousands of local people.
City Thrive harnesses the power of football to help provide support for thousands of people aged 14 to 25. A dedicated team has developed a new mental health curriculum, blending specially adapted football sessions with one-to-one mentoring and group workshops on mental health awareness, to improve mental wellbeing.
Specific mental health themed football sessions will be delivered from youth clubs across Manchester, enabling participants to enjoy physical activity whilst also accessing the benefits of one-to-one mentoring and group workshops.
City Thrive was developed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as the long-term impact on children’s mental health was highlighted as a major concern amongst carers and parents.
As a Coach at Manchester City, Jamie knows how important mental health support is for young people.
Commenting on CITC’s initiative, he said:
It has never been so difficult to be a child or young person.
I see the challenges teenagers face on a daily basis through my work in Academy football. The pandemic has forced young people to spend more time at home than ever, while their dreams and aspirations have been put on hold.
This initiative is yet another example of the great work CITC do for the young people in Manchester.
Head of CITC, Mike Geary, added:
We are blown away by Jamie’s challenge and truly humbled that he has chosen City in the Community has a beneficiary.
The Foundation is proud to have a strong relationship with the Manchester City staff, but Jamie’s fundraisers goes above and beyond any support we have seen before.
We are committed to supporting him on what will be long, tough journey, and cannot thank him enough for helping us to support young people in Manchester.
Supporting the Cancer Fund for Children
As well as CITC, Jamie is also fundraising for the Cancer Fund for Children, who provide much needed support to children diagnosed with cancer and their families, by offering vital therapeutic short breaks at Daisy Lodge, Co. Down.
Families can find themselves at breaking point, spending months in hospital and attending endless stressful clinic appointments. The charity creates safe spaces for families to rebuild their confidence, and their hopes for the future by providing a sense of comfort and wellbeing.
Belinda Kearns, Cancer Fund for Children Ireland Relationship Manager, commenting on Jamie’s support, said:
We are so excited that Jamie has chosen to support Cancer Fund for Children alongside Manchester City in the Community
Our vision is that no child should face cancer alone. Jamie’s epic challenge will help raise vital funds towards our capital project to build Daisy Lodge in Mayo, a dedicated therapeutic short break facility in the West of Ireland for children diagnosed with cancer.
Here children with cancer and their families will be able to spend time together in a caring and nurturing environment, far removed from hospital wards and treatment regimes, and benefit from the support of Cancer Fund for Children’s therapeutic team.
How you can support Jamie
As you can see from the campaign video, the challenges that await Jamie are quite incredible. We look forward to catching up with Jamie over the course of his training and preparation and keep you up to date with Jamie’s progress ahead of the challenges scheduled to take place in 2022.
To follow the most up to date information from Jamie, as well as to donate directly, please visit Jamie’s Nothing Ventured campaign website. You will also find additional information here on the Cancer Fund for Children, as well as on sponsorship opportunities.
Thank you to Atlantic Campaigns for providing us with Jamie’s campaign video content.