Running America and Barefoot Britain

Running America by Jamie McDonald and Barefoot Britain by Anna McNuff are two books that will inspire you to push past your limits and chase your dreams. Both authors have previously written books that focus on their incredible journeys of endurance and perseverance and Running America and Barefoot Britain continue to showcase their remarkable feats of physical and mental strength.

Jamie McDonald’s previous book, Adventureman: Anyone Can be a Superhero (read my review here), chronicles his record-breaking run across Canada, where he ran 200 marathons in 275 days. This time, he takes on the challenge of running across the United States, from the west coast to the east coast. Running America is a raw and emotional account of his journey, from the gruelling physical demands to the mental and emotional toll it took on him. Jamie’s resilience and determination are truly inspiring, and his ability to stay positive and motivated despite the challenges he faced is a testament to his strength of character.

The last few chapters of the book are all about Jamie’s attempt on the 7-day treadmill world record. Jamie ran on a treadmill for seven days straight, covering a distance of 523 miles, breaking the previous record.

One of Anna McNuff’s previous books, Pants of Perspective: One Woman’s 3,000 Kilometer Running Adventure Through the Wilds of New Zealand, is a hilarious and heart-warming account of her journey running across New Zealand. In Barefoot Britain, Anna takes on the challenge of running the length of Great Britain, from the very top of Scotland to the very bottom of England, all while running barefoot and raising awareness for Girl Guides. This book is a beautifully written love letter to the United Kingdom, as Anna takes us on a journey through some of the country’s most stunning landscapes and introduces us to some of its most interesting and kind-hearted characters. Her wit and humour shine through in every page, and her descriptions of the challenges she faced are both honest and inspiring.

On top of all this, Jamie and Anna are a couple with two small children.

In Running America, Jamie faces numerous setbacks, from blisters, getting lost and sleep deprivation. He refuses to give up, and his unwavering positivity and gratitude for the support he receives from his team and from strangers he meets along the way are truly inspiring. His writing is both vulnerable and uplifting, and you can’t help but feel like you’re right there with him every step of the way.

Similarly, Anna’s writing in Barefoot Britain is so vivid and engaging that you feel like you’re running alongside her, feeling the grass between your toes and the wind in your hair, as well as the dangers of stepping in dog poo. She is refreshingly honest about the ups and downs of her journey; from the physical pain she experiences to the moments of doubt and fear that threaten to derail her.

In conclusion, Running America by Jamie McDonald and Barefoot Britain by Anna McNuff are two books that will leave you feeling inspired and uplifted. Both authors have previously written books that showcase their incredible journeys of endurance and perseverance, and these latest offerings are no exception. I gave both books five out of five.

Book Review: Adventureman by Jamie McDonald

I follow a few different adventurers on Instagram, including Mark Beaumont, Sean Conway and Anna McNuff. A while ago they were all re-posting photos of this strange individual, dressed as a funny superhero, who was attempting to break the world record for the furthest distance ran on a treadmill in one week. I immediately started to follow him, willing him on, as he managed to add 11 miles onto the existing record, with a new world record of 524 miles. Amazing or bonkers? He is probably about 50:50 in my eye.

Anna McNuff is another amazing character as she spent most of last summer running barefoot around the UK, raising money for charity and encouraging women and girls that they could do anything they put their minds to. As a thank you to all of her supporters, she released one of her earlier e-books for a limited time at a knock down price on Amazon. The book in question was her account of running the whole spine of New Zealand. I will blog about it soon, but in the book she describes the beginning of her relationship with Jamie. They currently live together and look incredibly happy.

With a bit more time on my hands with the lock down, I thought that it was about time that I downloaded Jamie’s book, which has the tagline “Anyone can be a superhero”.


Jamie was in and out of hospital a lot as a child, which is the main reason why he does these crazy challenges, to raise money for children’s hospitals. Exercise helped him, especially tennis, but he gave that up when he realised that he wasn’t good enough to turn professional. He went back to school, re-took his GCSEs, and was looking for a normal life when he decided to cycle half way round the world, where he learned about the stationary bike world record. Upon his return he had an attempt on the record, breaking it with 268 hours of continuous cycling (with only one hours rest a day).

From there he took it up a notch, with a challenge to run across Canada, the equivalent of just over 200 marathons. This is the main body of the book and I guarantee that you will laugh and cry numerous times. He meets some amazing people, mostly complete strangers who feed him and give him places to stay, or randomly hand him money. Obviously it takes a huge toll on him physically and mentally, and there are many times when we have no idea if he will make it, especially as he had to run over the Rockies in winter.

He ended up raising half a million pounds. I’ll say that again – HALF A MILLION POUNDS!

I’m struggling to put into words just how impressive and inspiring Jamie is. If you only read one adventure book, this is the one to buy. Best book that I’ve read this year. He also ran across America, which I am hoping that during this lock down he is currently writing about. The day it’s released I will be purchasing a copy.