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Units and divisions across the region have been gearing up to welcome Girlguiding ambassador and global adventurer, Anna McNuff.
Anna is running 2620 miles – the distance of 100 marathons – barefoot. Barefoot Britain, her current venture, will take five months to complete. Anna began Barefoot Britain in the Shetland Islands on Sunday 2 June and finishes in London on Sunday 10 November.
Anna is running barefoot across coastlines, through villages, across moors, over mountains, along beaches, over farmland – and even down a few A-roads.
As an ambassador for Girlguiding, the UK’s leading charity for girls and young women, Anna will visit thousands of girls and young women in Girlguiding throughout her journey to talk to them about adventure and challenge.
Access to adventure is a top issue for girls. In April, Girlguiding launched its major new manifesto for girl-led change. This was shaped by research with 76,000 girls in guiding.
Anna ran through Northumberland at the end of July and stopped at Tynedale East Divison to meet with Rainbows, Brownies, Guides, Rangers and Girlguiding volunteers. Leaving Northumberland, Anna then continued her barefoot adventure to Durham, taking time out to to speak with other Girlguiding members at 10th Durham Brownies.
Elsie and Bethan, age eight and five, said: “We think Anna is very brave. She’s run a really long way but is still cheerful and happy.”
Brownie leader Jo praised Anna’s achievements and said: “It’s been lovely getting to know Anna and the challenges she has been through on her adventures. She really does make you believe that anything is possible and is doing an amazing job encouraging girls all over the country”.
After suffering a minor calf injury, Anna headed on through Darlington over to Kendal and through the beautiful Yorkshire Dales. Girlguiding members came out in their dozens to cheer Anna on and even joined her for some of the journey.
Brownies from Ilkley took to the streets to cheer Anna on as she ran through their town. She then made her way to Leeds stopping to give a talk to members at Roundhay district then on to Wakefield where 40 people welcomed her to Waterton and Westgate district.
After a well deserved day of rest, Anna set off full of high spirits to Sheffield where she gave a talk at Girlguiding Sheffield HQ meeting with lots of Girlguiding members who were thoroughly thrilled to take selfies with her and ask her lots of questions.
Girls said they want access to adventure and play without fear, 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: “Girls want adventure. They want to have exciting experiences without worrying about being treated differently or feeling unsafe because they are girls. Barefoot Britain will show girls that adventure is as much for them as it is for boys.
“All the way through Barefoot Britain, I’ll be talking to girls and young women about taking on adventures and doing things that scare them. I want to show girls that their gender is not a barrier for adventure and to encourage the girls and young women of the UK to be their brilliant selves.
“There are so many people out there who care about the future for girls. And Girlguiding makes a huge difference to the lives of girls and the women they will go on to be. So I will use my journey to encourage women and men to volunteer for Girlguiding. I want to show people how rewarding it is to support girls in their adventures – and how that’s an adventure in itself. Just you being you can make a real difference. Join over 100,000 Girlguiding volunteers and give more girls the chance to shine.”
The ‘Have Adventures’ theme is a key part of Girlguiding’s updated programme, with badges like Agility, Fitness, Navigator and Sports. Girls can learn about camping and exploring through different activities, from cooking over a tealight to navigating using the stars.
Keep up-to-date with Anna’s Barefoot Britain adventure online
and track if she is running through a city or town near you!