MARATHON man Jamie McDonald will return home to a hero’s welcome, the Citizen can reveal.
Details of the Tredworth globetrotter’s homecoming can be unveiled today as Gloucester prepares to roll out the red carpet after he conquered Canada.
The 27-year-old is on course to finish an epic 5,000-mile run from coast to coast across the vast nation.
He hopes to raise more than £100,000 for the Pied Piper Appeal at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital.
Gloucester Cathedral has confirmed it will host a Citizen-backed welcome home celebration when he returns to the city next month, on February 13.
The itinerary will include a visit to the hospital to present money raised to its children and nurses.
Jamie will then be paraded around King’s Square, at 6pm where he will be met by people dressed as superheroes who would like to run with him to the Cathedral, arriving there at 6.30pm. There he will be presented with an award by the city council and a plaque in Jamie’s honour will be unveiled at North Warehouse at 8pm.
The Citizen is calling on everyone who is able to get along to the hero’s welcome and cheer on Jamie, who has become an icon thanks to his efforts.
Talks are also being held with Kingsholm chief executive officer Stephen Vaughan about Jamie leading the team out for Gloucester’s Aviva Premiership fixture with Harlequins on February 22.
Jamie’s dad Donald will fly out to Vancouver today as his son comes close to the end of his challenge with six marathons to go.
Donald, 48, said: “I cannot believe we have got to this point already. At the moment, he doesn’t know what to expect when he returns home but what he has done is a massive achievement.
“As a father, I never doubted for one moment that he was able to complete this challenge.
“My wife Anne and I like to set ourselves challenges but Jamie has just taken it to a completely new level. Over the duration of his trip, his body has taken a massive beating but the strength he found within himself as a child and what he went through has made the difference.”
Jamie, pictured, was diagnosed with a rare condition called syringomyelia, a disorder in which a cyst or cavity forms within the spinal cord, which affects the immune system.
“He counts himself as very lucky,” Donald added.
“It is very liberating for him, not only because he has beaten the odds for his own personal challenge, but he has also raised awareness of his childhood condition.
“He has shown children that, when you put your mind to it, you can achieve anything and that is the message he is trying to spread.
“I don’t think Jamie quite realises the impact of what he’s done.”