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Barefoot athlete completes 2620-mile run to inspire girls

Anna McNuff ditched her trainers to run from Shetland to London as part of a five-month challenge.

Adventurer: Anna McNuff set off from Shetland. SWNS

A barefoot adventurer who left her trainers at home has completed an epic 2620-mile journey across the country.

Anna McNuff set off from Shetland in June and ran the equivalent of 100 marathons before finishing in London on Sunday.

The five-month challenge saw the Girlguiding ambassador run barefoot across rugged coastlines, through villages, across moors, along beaches, over farmland and even down a few main roads.

After completing her Barefoot Britain challenge, she said: “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 100 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.”

Ms McNuff, who is the daughter of two Olympians, rowed for Great Britain, winning a bronze medal at the 2007 European Championships.

However, dogged by injuries in her 20s, she decided to retire and embark on a new life as an adventurer, travelling the world in pursuit of new and daunting endurance challenges and writing two books in the process.

Scenic: Ms McNuff took five months to complete her challenge. SWNS

The intrepid explorer, who has previously cycled through all 50 US states and run the length of New Zealand, told STV News at the start of her adventure: “When you take on challenges which are really going to push you – and I mean push you to the edge – it is uncomfortable and it is ugly, and there are all these messy thoughts and emotions.

“But if you just keep going through the messy stuff, you will come out the other side.”

Challenge: Ms McNuff ran barefoot. SWNS

While making her way through Britain, Ms McNuff also visited thousands of girls and young women in Girlguiding in the hope her adventure would inspire the next generation.

She added: “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.

“And being a girl should not stop you from doing anything. I have spoken to thousands of girls all over the UK and my message has always been ‘be bold, be brave and be you’.

“The girls are always so eager to see my feet and surprised that they don’t look all that different to their own – mine just have a bit more dirt on them.”


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