Alleged Banff attack on British runner unusual, says town

Tourism officials in Banff say they are not worried about the town's reputation as a travel destination as a result of the publicity from an alleged attack on a British man who is running across Canada to raise money for charity.

Town officials not worried about impact of alleged assault story

Jamie McDonald began his 7,000 kilometre run in Newfoundland back in March, wearing a superhero costume — the Flash — complete with a customized cape. (CBC)

The alleged New Year's Eve attack in Banff of a British man running across Canada for charity is very out of the ordinary for the town, officials say.

Jamie McDonald — who has been on a fundraising trek across Canada — alleges he was jumped and beaten by three man after attending a party at a Banff hotel on New Year's Eve and that his bag containing identification and video from his trip was stolen.

According to Banff's deputy mayor, Stavros Karolos, the incident would have been highly unusual for the town. 

"We have a very low number of incidents that occur here annually," said Karlos. "For the number of visitors we get we are an extremely safe community for both residents and visitors."

The story took hold on social media and made headlines across Canada and in Europe, where various news organizations — including the CBC — have been covering McDonald's cross-Canada run.

Police say staff at another hotel tried to help McDonald call police about his missing bag around 3:45 a.m. — however, McDonald left the hotel a short time later and police were not dispatched.

Timeline vague

McDonald apparently told a friend about the alleged theft of his bag and the allegation was posted to social media.

Roughly three hours after the alleged incident, RCMP say a guest at another hotel found the "missing man purse" in a stairwell and turned it in to front desk staff.

Police say those staff called McDonald directly and told him the bag had been recovered.

The incident was finally reported to police at 8:45 a.m. and when police spoke to McDonald, they say he was not able to remember at which hotel the alleged incident had happened.

It's not clear why McDonald did not immediately report the incident or what happened when hotel staff say they tried to help him contact authorities at 3:45 a.m.

Police are looking to speak with anyone who may have seen McDonald on New Year's Eve before 3:30 a.m. MT.

Fundraising 'goes through the roof'

Since the alleged incident, McDonald says fundraising for his cause has "gone through the roof."

More than $30,000 were donated after international media picked up on the story of his alleged attack.

He has also received a free stay, spa treatment and massage from the Fairmont Banff Springs.

"There's a silver lining to everything," McDonald said.

McDonald says the money is being raised to benefit children's hospitals in Canada and the U.K. — specifically, the provincial children's hospital in each province he runs through and two organizations in England that work to help sick children.

The 27-year-old began his mission to run the equivalent of 200 marathons across Canada in March.