Running 5,000 miles around the coast of Britain on 20th March, 2024
by Elise Downing
When Elise set off to run 5,000 miles around the coast of Britain, self-supported and carrying her kit on her back, she truly couldn't have been less qualified to embark on such an adventure. Prior to the challenge her long-distance running career consisted of one disastrous marathon dressed as a purple Crayola crayon, she'd never pitched a tent alone and was unable to read a map. But inspired by the people she followed online who were completing similar adventures and determined to spend less of her life crying on the bus to work, in November 2015 she set out to have a go, aged just 23. To the surprise of almost everyone (including herself) she somehow managed the feat, helped along the way by literally hundreds of complete strangers and overcoming obstacles including one of the wettest winters on record, huge amounts of self-doubt and an almost debilitating fear of cows.
Elise will chart the highs and lows of her 10-month long journey with her trademark honesty and humour. She'll share her intimate knowledge of the British coast, which she saw at its wild and most wonderful best, from being battered by endless storms around the South West of England to running through unexpected heatwaves in Scotland. She'll talk about the people she met along the way, and the unique experience of being welcomed into the homes of so many people. She'll delve into the physical and mental transformation that happens during such an experience, and her tactics for not giving up (even when she really wanted to). She'll also tell you about life after a big adventure and why she mostly opts for adventure on a slightly smaller scale these days, and has absolutely no desire to go on another 5,000 mile run.
This isn't a story about being superhuman - instead it's about how a very ordinary person can do something fairly extraordinary, simply by having a go.
Elise is a runner, writer and all-round outdoors lover. In 2016 she became the first woman and youngest person to run 5,000(ish) miles self-supported around the UK coast. This was the subject of her best-selling travel memoir Coasting, named as one of The Times Best Sports Books of 2021 and long-listed for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year. Her next book is a guide of car-free adv...Find Out More