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Barefoot Britain: A running adventure like no other: 4 (Anna's Adventures)

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The group come from all walks of life. Some drop off after a mile, Anna giving them a huge hug to send them on their way, some stay for five miles then head. By the time we near 10km the group has roughly halved. But it’s clear a lot of the group are there to go the whole hog with Anna on the 22 mile stage – and that I, regretfully, am not one of them. Much Better Adventure’s Stuart Kenny after running with Anna on Barefoot Britain. Anna attended The Tiffin Girls School, before studying Psychology at Royal Holloway, University of London. I’ve read all of Anna’s book but I have a tile and it’s that I have to be travelling. It’s a self imposed rule but it feels McNuffy so I go with it. Because of said rule this has been patiently waiting for me to get on a train and March 2023 I finally went on many trains, a plane and quite a few tube/metros and went in headfirst. McNuff appeared on series 8 of CBBC's Operation Ouch - sharing her ‘brilliant body’ with Dr Ronx on an episode about barefoot running. Her Barefoot Britain run was also documented via a series of popular YouTube videos in 2019. What I’ve learned from all these years doing bonkers adventures around the world,” she says. “Is that if you take on things you think are just beyond what you can actually do, and then somehow make it through, you get this confidence you would never have had otherwise.

Barefoot Britain: A running adventure like no other: 4 (Anna Barefoot Britain: A running adventure like no other: 4 (Anna

Along the route Anna is stopping in cities and towns to speak to groups of Girl guides, with the aim of encouraging young women to dream big in adventure. And anyone can join her and run along on one of her stages – whether that be for one mile or 26.2. So we did.Adventure books offer you an escape from your everyday life and take you on wild journies to get completely lost. That’s why I’ve run the length of the UK in my bare feet – to show girls and young women that taking risks and doing things that scare them, big or small, can be incredible. So when we got in touch to suggest an interview about Barefoot Britain, it only seemed right that we join her on the road for the chat. To move onto the obvious question though: why barefoot? Anna’s feet are in for a whole lot of running. Photo: Richard Murgatroyd The daughter of two Olympians, McNuff grew up in a family where the pursuit of physical and mental excellence was encouraged. From age 6 she played football in a boys league and later went on to play for Wimbledon Ladies FC. At aged 16 she took up rowing and went on to represent Great Britain. During her time in the Great Britain Squad, McNuff became a World Champion at the University Games in 2006, [1] and won a bronze medal at the 2007 European Championships. Due to injury she retired from rowing and embarked upon new endurance challenges as an adventurer.

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She started working in marketing and, conditioned by structured training programmes and organised competition, did an Ironman, some ultra runs and the Swedish swimrun race Ötillö. ‘But I realised what I really wanted to do was just GO,’ she says. In 2013 she cycled across every state in the US and one Canadian province – 11,000 miles over seven months. Anna McNuff had never run a mile without shoes on before. And yet, one British summer, she set off to run a (very) wiggly route from the Shetland Islands to London - on a mission to cover the distance of 100 marathons... in bare feet. When we were travelling across the US in our van I read a lot of books by Bill Bryson. I’d read The Road to Little Dribblingwhen it first came out and loved it. If you want a humorous look into the UK from the eyes of a foreigner read it for sure! Whilst in the US I thought I’d read some of the books by Bryson based in the States. I think now I’ve been through so many cycles of ups and downs now that I’m starting to roll with it a bit more. Being able to talk about tough days openly is not something that comes naturally to people. And often before I post something where I’m crying in a video I’ll have this barrier which wants me not to do it. It’s showing vulnerability. But then I realise that’s the only way you’re going to help people. Everybody feels like that. And I want to show people that I feel all the same things that they do. I have enjoyed all of Anna's books but this one holds a special place for me as I was one of those 2500 runners who joined her for a stage on her journey running barefoot Britain.Anna’s Barefoot Britain challenge saw her run along rugged coastlines, through small villages, across moors, over wind-swept mountains, along beaches, farmland and even down the odd picturesque A-road, all of course, bare foot. The warm-hearted, funny and painfully honest read, reveals the reality of taking on a an epic challenge, and above all, shows how one person’s will to dig deep and carry on can encourage others to know they can do the same. Having the support of Rainbows, Brownies, Guides, Rangers and all the incredible Girlguiding leaders, hosting me and cheering me on along the way was fantastic. When the going got tough and I wanted to give up, the reason why I had set out on this adventure in the first place kept me determined to reach the end.” Meeting with Girlguiding members along the way Anna has helped inspire them to have the confidence to seek out new challenges and believe they can do anything. Anna met with over 70 units along her journey and many of these heart-warming moments are featured in her book. I had followed the journey online at the time but there is so much more in the book. Brilliant descriptions of landscapes and the fabulous people along the way, all with a splattering of Anna's zany humour. I started with A Walk in the Woods (probably my favourite) and also polished off Notes From a Big Country, The Lost Continent and The Life and Times of The Thunderbolt Kid.

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