A woman has finished her “adventure of a lifetime”, running the equivalent of 90 marathons barefoot across the UK – and her feet are in surprisingly good nick.
Anna McNuff, an adventurer and former GB rower, completed her 2,352 mile journey on Sunday, having spent 168 days on the road.
“The past six months seem like a bizarre dream,” she tweeted, after crossing the finishing line. “It’s been an emotional journey, and crikey on a crumpet – what a finish!”
McNuff, who’s an ambassador for Girlguiding UK, set off from the Shetland Isles in June 2019 and reached Cannizzaro Park in Wimbledon, London, on 17 November.
She visited 143 towns and spoke to 1,700 Girl Guides along the way, carrying a simple message: “I’m on a massive adventure and girls do big adventures, so you can do them if you want to.”
Speaking to HuffPost UK on Monday morning, McNuff said: “I feel elated and sad all at once now that the run is done, but it’s a huge relief. Without a doubt the hardest challenge of my life and I’m ready to give my bod and brain a rest.”
She added that her feet are doing well, despite a few setbacks along the way, including cutting her foot on a tree root.
“They’ve suffered in the last few weeks through the cold snaps of late autumn – but they’re super strong, and I’m very proud of them for carrying me all those miles,” she said. “Time to put them in some slippers.”
McNuff relied on the kindness of strangers for accommodation throughout her challenge, with families around the country responding to her callouts on social media and offering her a bed for the night.
🏃🏼♀️🇬🇧THAT’S IT!! I’ve finished the adventure of a lifetime. A total of 2,352 miles run (equivalent to 90 marathons) from The Shetland Islands to London, in my bare feet.
It’s been an emotional journey, and crikey on a crumpet - what a finish!#ReadyForANYTHING @TheAA_Careers pic.twitter.com/sdvL8t01M5
— Anna McNuff (@AnnaMcNuff) November 17, 2019
When HuffPost UK spoke to McNuff one week – and 80 miles – into her journey, she described how she’d been training for 18 months in the lead up to the challenge, running around London barefoot.
People assumed the skin on her feet would be really hard, she added, but it wasn’t. “It’s actually quite a soft callus that builds up,” she said. “Your skin gradually gets thicker, almost like layers of a trifle.”
McNuff explained that “a good soak” to ease her running pains wasn’t an option. “The problem is if you have a bath it [the skin] starts to all fall off, so I have to keep my feet outside the bath. Which is really annoying because I like a bath!”
At the time, she was sceptical about her ability to complete the challenge. “I just cannot imagine making it to the finish. I think I will, but you never know you will,” she said. “It literally is going to be one day at a time, because it’s the hardest challenge I’ve ever done and I’ve got no idea what each day will bring.”
And yet, she completed it. What an achievement!
This article originally appeared on HuffPost.