A 27-year-old British man running across Canada to raise money for children's hospitals in Canada and England said he is thankful he was able to retrieve the video footage chronicling his journey after he was beaten in a Banff, Alta., hotel on New Year's Eve.
Jamie McDonald began his 7,000 kilometre run in Newfoundland back in March, wearing a superhero costume — the Flash — complete with a customized cape. The attack occurred when he went back to a hotel after being at New Year's Eve party, he said.
He had gone to the hotel to have a beer with some people he had met at the party, he said. When he walked past one of the rooms, "there was a group there that took a dislike" to him, he said.
"They came out and dragged me into their room and pulled me into the toilet and three men just continued to punch me in the head and in the body," McDonald told CBC's Ian Hanomansing. "And so I kind of just scrambled to get out of the hotel."
"Meanwhile, I left my bag which had all my possessions for this journey."
The bag had his hard drive and wallet, but most importantly, it had video footage of his journey. He said he hopes to use that footage to inspire others and to continue the fundraising.
"When I couldn't see it, it was heart wrenching. My whole world came apart."
But the bag had been left at the hotel. Someone picked it up and returned it to McDonald with all the contents intact.
"Maybe they had a change of heart," he said.
McDonald said he doesn't know why he was targeted. He said that he had spoken to some girls outside the room and "maybe I spoke to the wrong girl. And maybe it was the boyfriend."
"The truth is I have no idea. It was a pretty surreal experience to just be pulled in a room and be beaten."
As a child, McDonald was in and out of hospitals, suffering from a rare spinal condition that weakened his immune system. He's run about 180 marathons in total for the charities, and has about 20 left to go. McDonald has so far raised about $100,000.
He added that the attack has not soured him on Canada and that he thinks it's "one of the most special countries in the world."