If I told you that Elise Downing will be running into Greenwich Park on 27th August, would you wonder who Elise was and what was so special about her running into Greenwich Park or would you know that on 1st November 2015, she left Greenwich Park to embark on a 5000 mile run around the UK coast line?
|Elise & Friends at the Start 1st November 2015|
Well that’s exactly what 24 year old Elise has done. Totally unsupported and all on her own, she has spent the last 10 months circumnavigating the coast line of the UK, island hopping in Scotland, being intimidated by cows in England, Scotland and Wales, and falling in love with the Isle of Arran.
The Pain of Pagham Harbour
Along the way, she has struggled to pronounce Welsh names, developed a taste for haggis and been chased across fields by noisy sheep and when I met up with Elise a month into her trip, the weather hadn’t been very kind to her. She’d battled with mud, storms, floods and Pagham Harbour which kept her imprisoned behind barbed wire fencing and thorny bushes for several hours while she searched for a path and exit. Her feet were constantly wet, and every day she hated putting on the same pair of wet shoes.
|Muddy Wet Feet|
Perhaps not surprisingly, the one thing she wanted more than anything else at that time was a dry pair of shoes. Through the kindness of strangers however, she hadn’t had to pitch her tent at that point and she’d even managed to get a night in a lighthouse.
The Cake Shop Shuffle
She carried on running clockwise around the coast keeping her spirits high by inventing the ‘cake shop shuffle’ and the ‘puddle, splash, hop’ with friends who took time out to run with her at various locations and came armed with loads of encouragement, brownies, cheesecake and banoffee pie.
|She even celebrated her Birthday on the run|
I met up with her again 7 months later, in Scotland. By this time she’d gone through several pairs of shoes but wet shoes were no longer a problem because Scotland was experiencing an incredibly long, hot and dry spell of weather. She had been camping in her tent more frequently although she was still overwhelmed by the generosity of strangers who offered her accommodation and even baggage transfer, leaving Elise to enjoy the run without her heavy pack.
‘It is never too early for lunch’ became Elise’s motto especially in the more remote parts of Scotland where finding a shop or café became harder. So when the opportunity presented itself, she stocked up on essentials like cake and more cake and yes, even more cake.
|No shops for miles. Re-fuel when you can|
The Final Pair of Shoes
She is now on her 7th and final pair of shoes and only a couple of weeks from her finish line with all her toe nails still intact, a desire she had expressed at the start of her trip.
|The Final Pair of Shoes|
This cake loving lady has been on an amazing adventure over the last 10 months. She’s experienced fog so thick, she couldn’t find the coastal path signs and winds so strong, she had to avoid the coastal path altogether, she’s gone through every emotion from elation to despair but she’s done it all on her own with a smile on her face and kept us all up to date with her excellently written blog and almost daily video posts on Facebook.
Elise will be finishing her run on 27th August, arriving at 2pm in Greenwich Park at the Boating Lake. Come along and celebrate her awesome achievement - but don’t forget to bring some cake.
Elise has been running for Young Minds and Beyond Food Foundation details of which can be found on her Just Giving Page www.virginmoneygiving.com/runthecoast
You can also follow her blog on https://elisedowning.com/ or Facebook on https://www.facebook.com/elisecdowning/?fref=ts
|Friendly Support for Elise|