Coasting Around Britain - The Finish Line

Find out what happened when forumites embarked on a 4,500 mile coastal relay around the UK.

Posted: 27 October 2010
by Dominique Brady

A whittled wooden baton with a cheeky grin unites more than 400 runners and forum members around the UK. Barry the Baton has travelled almost 4,500 miles along the coast of England, Wales and Scotland as part of an epic coastal relay organised by forumites.

The idea was the brainchild of forumite Stu just ten months ago. Inspired by Eddie Izzard's feat of 43 marathons in 51 days last year, Stu initially thought of attempting the coastal distance alone. "I soon realised a relay was a better idea. Aided with half a bottle of red, I asked on the Runner's World forum whether it was possible - and the idea went from strength to strength."

Coasters GB

Quickly a team ethos grew with runners of all ages and abilities willing to take part - from Scottish schoolchildren to runners in their seventies. After five months of planning, a dedicated community called Coasters GB was born. Barry started off on his first relay leg in Blackpool on 9th May 2010. Stu remembers his nerves the day the relay began. "I nearly had a breakdown when I headed for the start," he explains. When he spotted friendly faces waiting in Coasters GB T-shirts, the mission started in earnest.

It would be 170 days before Barry the Baton returned to Blackpool. There were more than a few hairy moments along the way as runners tried to run as close to the coast as possible. Stories abound of Coasters getting lost, dashing across golf courses and encounters with dogs mistaking the baton as a biscuit. And as the weeks rolled on Barry became something of a fashion icon, sporting a tartan scarf on the Scottish leg and gradually building up his own wardrobe of T-shirts. Coasters were glued to the baton's progress thanks to regular updates on the forum and twitter, courtesy of Runnaholic who gave Barry a voice modelled on her 15-year-old son.

The Aftermath

After taking part in the relay, Coasters GB feel real pride in their achievement. "It's the kind of thing you will be telling people about for years to come, " explains SJPC14, who organised the relay between Blackpool and Gretna. Stu has also been amazed at the scope and success of the project. "What we have done is pretty special and unique. And the community spirit that evolved out of the need to get Barry the baton around the coast has been phenomenal, " he explains. 

Perhaps more amazing than the miles covered and number of runners are the friendships that have been formed both on and off forum. "Strangers have become friends.  Everyone looks out for each other, not just during this relay helping out whenever someone's stuck and need to change their schedule, but also at other events.  It's like one big family now, " explains Runnaholic.

The close-knit Coasters GB community and the epic distance covered are testimony to what our forumites have achieved. Don't forget to check out some of the pictures taken along the way in our gallery and watch this space to find out the new adventures in store for Barry the Baton.

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Discuss this article

great work guys, only us crazy brits could pull of something this insane. Cant wait for next time.
Posted: 27/10/2010 at 19:16


last time I pulled anything that insane, it was my ex

Posted: 27/10/2010 at 19:22

Nice 1! Pleased to have done my (little) bit  
Posted: 27/10/2010 at 19:26

Stu wrote (see)


last time I pulled anything that insane, it was my ex


I've said it before and I'll say it again. Well done everyone.  And thanks to Stu for coming up with ths crazy idea and having the tenacity to see it through to the end!

Posted: 27/10/2010 at 19:30

good write up what an amazing journey hope the next one is not to far away.happy to have been part of this journey same goes for other runners from billingham marsh house harriers who did there little bit
Posted: 27/10/2010 at 19:45

they did a lovely piece out of bits.They did ask for a list of all the runners. Put me in a lovely position having talked about the community spirit we had and then realising that 70% couldn't be arsed to put their names on the "Roll of Honour" to enable me to provide the names of all (or most) coasters. Anyway , we done it and we cannot have everything I guess.
Posted: 27/10/2010 at 20:20

Hey, better than having never done it at all I suppose
Posted: 27/10/2010 at 20:47

lol -just about. I am not mystic Meg but I did think a roll of honour would prove useful in the future. It was there from the start you know. Well I did ask for stuff not expecting 100% -as long as we had enough per-cent to do the relay, that was main thing. I wasn't making it up as I went along -lol

Having a list of all coasters was meant to go in appendices in the book

Posted: 27/10/2010 at 20:52

anyway I am not working for a bit now and in miserable old scrote mode
Posted: 27/10/2010 at 21:01

Posted: 27/10/2010 at 21:03

Posted: 27/10/2010 at 21:04

Posted: 27/10/2010 at 21:06

Posted the names for the last leg on the roll of honour!
Posted: 27/10/2010 at 21:12

hey all well done.

hope everyone had fun and that the hair has grown back.

Posted: 27/10/2010 at 21:36

I didn't put my name on the roll of honour because I didn't feel the need to be publicly recognised for my effort Stu. Maybe that's how a lot of the participants felt. I don't think 'not being arsed' comes into it.

It was a great thing to be part of.
Posted: 27/10/2010 at 23:10

I don't think they'd really have published the names of all of us anyway!  And have to agree a bit with Limper, it was about taking part rather than getting recognition of what we did.    And I think those of us that, erm, are a little louder and like to be recognised *cough* wrote up nice reports for the threads

Was thrilled to be part of it though, and definately made some very good friends because of it!

Posted: 28/10/2010 at 10:41

Well done to all concerned
Posted: 28/10/2010 at 11:49

sorry Limps & TST -have been in grumpy cynical mode lately

It is up to folk really and I do respect those who choose not to put themselves on list. They are still coasters and I am still proud of 'em

Been trying not to work for this week and maybe next. Went out and didn't go buying collectibles neither. Fine now but worried about getting bored. One thing though, finally stopped fluidizing in my lungs as cold has cleared. training up and fight flab next 

Posted: 28/10/2010 at 11:49

If you would like to be added to a roll-call at the end of the article, just drop Stu an email. We can add all names next week. A big well done to everyone who took part from RW!
Posted: 28/10/2010 at 12:00

Oi Dominique, I am supposed to be resting!!

Seriously that would be great We have a load of names on Roll of Honour thread. If folks keep adding to that , one of us could do a full list

Posted: 28/10/2010 at 12:02

well done everyone. what is barry up to now? Perhaps he can start races, or become an ambassador for a trainer firm like paula radcliffe... 

Posted: 28/10/2010 at 12:56

Well done Stu, be proud that because of you the event actually happened, brought people together and everyone that took part felt proud to have done so!!

Dont get bogged down after the fact that sometimes people just want to be part of something and thats enough. Pats on the back are fine but not needed by most.

There's only a few that need recognition and thats yourself and all the co-ords mate!!


Posted: 28/10/2010 at 21:27

I just feel really proud to have been (a very little) part of it.
Posted: 28/10/2010 at 21:37

Yes Paul and thanks. I do get bogged a bit regarding those who want to just be part. It is me wanting   to demonstrate that I  recognise and acknowledge  that every bit is importantand I am grateful for every contribution from every coaster. More me feeling a need to recognise peops than anything else-lol 

sunluvva every little bit counts and is important. A link in a necklace (however small) goes missing it doesn't function how it should 

Posted: 29/10/2010 at 07:18

hi stu jf you want to add our names to the roll of honour none of us has any objections the people involved in our neck of the woods were  myself ,paul hughes ,john bulmer,john gray,mick good plus our support team of michelle hedley and lesley anderson
Posted: 29/10/2010 at 18:10

ta Philip
Posted: 29/10/2010 at 18:46

..........stew fdsfds.......bugger off and take your spam with you
Posted: 29/10/2010 at 22:10

well said Saffy
Posted: 31/10/2010 at 19:58

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