The Barefoot Adventurer: Anna McNuff’s 2,352 mile barefoot run to inspire girls

21 November 2019

Girlguiding ambassador and global adventurer Anna Mcnuff has finished her epic Barefoot Britain challenge, after five months of running barefoot through the UK.

Anna ran through Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England, covering the distance of 90 marathons.
She made her way barefoot across coastlines, through cities and villages, across moors, over mountains, along beaches, over farmland - and even down a few A- roads. Her journey has been documented on Instagram, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter – as well as via a live tracker.
Anna started Barefoot Britain in the Shetland Islands on 2 June and finished in London on Sunday 17 November. Thousands of runners from all over the UK joined her along the way, with over 100 runners joining her for the final 5 miles (with some in bare feet).
As an ambassador for Girlguiding, the UK’s leading charity for girls and young women, Anna visited thousands of girls and young women throughout her journey, speaking to them about adventure, challenge and doing things that scare them. Rainbows, Brownies and Girlguiding volunteers cheered Anna on as she crossed the finish line in London.
Rainbow Evie, aged 6, said:
“I think Anna must be very tired and very proud of herself. She has inspired me to swim 10 metres across the sea”.
Brownie Mia, aged 8, said:
“Most people think that only boys can do stuff, but Anna shown me that women can do anything too. It has made me want to try something adventurous. I will cycle across Great Britain – probably when I am a teenager.”
In April 2019, Girlguiding launched Future Girl, its major new manifesto for girl-led change. This was shaped by 76,000 girls and young women and revealed the 5 issues that are most important to girls and young women.
Adventure is a top issue, with girls saying they want access to adventure and play without fear or feeling unsafe, and the opportunity to play the sports that boys play too. They want to enjoy activity spaces that are accessible to all girls, and for women’s sport to be treated equally to men’s sport.
Anna said:
“Adventure is as much for girls and women as it is for boys and men. But there are lots of barriers for girls wanting to have adventures. Society does not encourage girls to explore, take up space or be physical in the same way that boys are encouraged to. So I wanted to show girls they can do anything. 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. I have spoken to thousands of girls in all over the UK and my message has always been ‘Be bold. Be brave and be you!’
“It’s been a wonderful, weird, difficult and extraordinary five months. I have stepped in poo, glass - and even on a dead rabbit. You don’t have to run 90 marathons barefoot to have an adventure. But you do have to take that first step out of your comfort zone. I know that if girls can take those first adventurous steps, then they'll see what they are truly capable of.”

Barefoot Britain: the statistics

  • Miles run: 2,352
  • Calories burned: 495,000
  • Rainbows, Brownies, Guides and Rangers spoken to: 1,700
  • Runners signed up to join in: 2,392
  • Days on road: 168
  • Major Injuries: 2
  • Felfies (foot selfies): 56
  • Food consumed the most: Cheese, sausage rolls, cake
  • Cups of tea drunk: 185