Barefoot BritainRunning 100 barefoot marathons to encourage young women to reach for the impossible
MY NEXT ADVENTURE
What’s the plan?
In June 2019, I’ll set off to run the distance of 100 marathons (2,620 miles) through Britain – completely barefoot.
Starting in the Shetland Islands and ending five months later in London, I’ll weave my way along rugged coastlines, through small villages, across moors, along beaches, over farmland and even pitter patter down the odd picturesque A-road too. I’ll be passing through some of the country’s biggest cities, and a fair ole wodge of suburbia as well – in the hope that runners (or wannabe runners) will throw on their trainers and join me for a mile or two.
“Who knows whether this is possible. Who knows if this is the most ridiculous idea I’ve ever had. Who knows what will happen to my body and where I will stumble upon my limit”
The Next Generation
At the core of the journey is an aim to show the young women of Great Britain that there is more in magic them than they will ever know.
As a proud ambassador for UK Girl Guiding, working alongside the organisation to visit as many Guiding units on route as possible – speaking to girls of all ages about the joys of adventure and the great outdoors. It’s an exciting time for Girl Guiding in the UK – they’ve recently overhauled their badge program, and are progressive in encouraging young women to carve out a bright future or themselves.
“Adventures are about a quest for growth. I figure that if I’m going to stand in front of young girls around the UK and encourage them take on challenges that they believe to be just beyond their reach – then I have to be on that journey too.”
I’ve had a quiet obsession with minimalist running for a few years now, ever since I read Born to Run and spent time in New Zealand – where many of the kids run around barefoot.
I love nothing more than a barefoot wander in the local park and take great joy in returning home with grubby feet. I also think that (just like every other part of our bodies) feet are amazing.
They are quite the complex machine with over 7,000 nerve endings in each sole and 26 bones in each foot. As always, this adventure is a huge experiment – I’m looking see if I can coax my feet into doing what they were truly built to do, after a lifetime of being squidged up in shoes.
“Am I terrified? Yes. Am I excited. Yes, that too. Am I wondering if I’ve gone one step too far this time? Absolutely. Which is exactly why I know that this is the right challenge to take on.”
This time around, I won’t be carrying my worldly possessions on my back as I run (that was a silly idea). Instead I will be relying on the kindness of strangers to help my gubbins get from one part of the UK to the next.
Here’s some ways that you could help me out if you happen to live near or on the running route:
- Arrange for me to visit your local Girl Guiding unit
- Offer to host me for the night
- Come and run with me on one of the open stages
- Have me come and talk to your local running club
- Offer advice on my intended route and the terrain – I can only know so much
- Tell the world about this adventure! Sharing is caring, after all
- Follow me like a stalker on social media (this helps spread the love more than you know)
For any of these things, email firstname.lastname@example.org and the logistics adventure elf will get back to you right away.
I’d have a lot of questions if I were you too. Here’s some I’ve pre-empted….
Will you run a marathon every day?
No I won’t – the overall distance is equivalent to 100 barefoot marathons, but in a bid to inject some realism into the equation – sometimes I’ll run less, and (as the run progresses) sometimes I’ll run more.
Where will you sleep?
Sometimes I’ll have to camp out in the middle of nowhere under the stars with a bivvy bag, but often I’ll be in the homes of the kind people of the UK. I’m hoping to get to know the people of our amazing country as well as I do the landscapes.
How fast will you run?
It’s tough to say… but if we’re going for averages, I’d say each marathon will likely take me 6 hours to complete. On beautiful flat grassland or baby smooth tarmac I could crack out a 4 hour marathon, but if I hit gravel and or am tired (very likely) then it will be far slower. If you want to come and run with me for a few miles, know that the pace will be easy to keep up with (and I also like stopping for tea and cake… jus saying…).
What happens if you step on glass or cut your foot?
I don’t know yet. But I figure that I can only control the controllable. If I get injured or step on a broken Irn Bru bottle in the outskirts of Glasgow (as my Scottish friend asked) – then I will deal with that then.
Are you raising money?
I am terrible at fundraising. Or rather, I feel there are better ways for me to give. I have decided to give back through stories and talks, but I do have a fundraising page here for anyone who would like to donate to Girl Guiding. We’ll use any money donated to send young girls in need on adventures of their very own.
How can local Guides book you to speak?
Check the route map at the top of this page, and if you’re nearby where I’m running then email email@example.com
Are you prepared to run 100 barefoot marathons?
I’m not sure anyone is prepared to run 100 barefoot marathons – that would be madness – but I am as ready as I can be. I’ve been running in minimalist trainers for three years now, and over the last year have transitioned to run in just thin socks or totally barefoot. There are still some terrains that are agony (gravel track) but others that are dreamy (the yorkshire dales!!) so it will depend on what I come across as to how I’ll fare.
Do you think it’s possible?
I do. But I won’t know that for certain until I make the finish line in London. I am sure there will be many disasters and mishaps along the way.
What on earth does you mother think?
She thinks I’m bonkers. But then again she’s bonkers too and she raised me to believe in what is possible, rather than focus on what isn’t. Therefore, really – this is all her doing.
“This is about taking my mind and body to places it’s never been before, and sharing with you all that I find out there”
Run With Me
This is a rough guide to when I’ll be passing certain places. There’ll be a live tracker on the go once I start running. So please come out and bang pots and pans at me as I run by. If you’d like to sign up for a running stage, scroll through the run calendar above, and book yourself in to join me!
SHETLAND & ORKNEY
- 2nd – 14th June
- Wick, 15th June
- Inverness, 22nd June
- Aviemore, 28th June
- Aberdeen, 6th July
- Dundee, 11th July
- Glasgow, 17th – 19th July
- Edinburgh, 22nd – 25th July
THE NORTH EAST
- Newcastle, 1st – 2nd August
- Durham, 3rd – 4th August
CUMBRIA & YORKSHIRE
- Kendal, 9th – 10th August
- Leeds, 15th- 17th August
- Sheffield, 20th – 21st August
- Manchester, 24th – 26th August
- Liverpool, 28th – 29th August
THE ISLE OF MAN
- 31st August – 5th September
NORTHERN IRELAND & ROI
- Belfast, 6th – 7th September
- Dublin, 14th – 15th September
NORTH WALES & CHESHIRE
- North Wales, 17th – 19th September
- Chester, 20th – 21st September
- Derby, 25th September
- Nottingham, 26th – 27th September
- Birmingham, 1st 2nd October
THE WEST COUNTRY
- Gloucester, 6th – 7th October
- Bristol, 9th October
- Bath, 10th October
THE SOUTH WEST
- Exeter, 20th – 21st October
- Shaftsbury, 25th October
THE CHANNEL ISLANDS
- Guernsey, 28th October
- Jersey, 30th October
- Poole, 31st October
- Southampton, 2nd November
ISLE OF WIGHT
- 3rd – 5th November
SURREY & LONDON
- Haslemere, 7th – 8th November
- Dorking, 8th – 9th November
- London – The finish! 10th November