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Barefoot runner urges Kingston University young women to face their fears and reach for the impossible

By Stefania Dall'armi Nov 20, 2019
Anna McNuff on one of her adventures Photo: Anna McNuff

Motivational speaker and adventurer Anna McNuff began her last run from Kingston upon Thames last Sunday after completing 2,620 miles across the UK to inspire young women to reach for the impossible.

McNuff, 35, has run 90 marathons over five months, starting on the Shetland Islands and finishing in Wimbledon, London on November 17.

She is running to raise money for Girlguiding, a leading charity for girls and young women in the UK.

“If you have a silly idea and you think it is not possible. Just try it anyway,” she said.

“Ninety per cent of the time it all goes wrong but you just work it out and you will find a way to keep going.

“No-one ever tells the story about the time it went as planned. The disasters are all part of the journey.”

Her adventure started this June from Skaw, the most northerly town in Britain, and since then she has run on muddy terrain, gravel, grass or beaches, all whilst barefoot.

McNuff has always had an obsession with minimalist running, but ever since she read Born to Run by Michael Morpurgo and spent time in New Zealand, where many of the kids run around without shoes on, she knew what her next challenge would be.

“My mum thinks I am bonkers,” she said.

“But then again she is 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.”

She also explained how hard it was from the first day when she stood at the start line at the top of the Shetland Islands feeling “terrified and excited”, and especially after she ran over broken glass and got an infection.

But she was amazed by the positivity and support of the 2,300 people she met during her journey and the big crowd which greeted her at the finish line.

Some other runners also joined McNuff’s run for a mile or two and few bravely followed her example and took their shoes off.

Another runner, Lois Baker, who was present at the finale last Sunday, said: “I used to run barefoot but I haven’t for a long time. It was a bit difficult, but it was really fun, especially the muddy parts, they are the best parts.”

Follow Anna McNuff on her website ( and social media to find out what else she has to say about her adventure and future challenges. 

Youtube: Anna McNuff   Instagram: @annamcnuff   Twitter: @AnnaMcNuff 

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