Coasting Around Britain – The Forumites Run The Country

Meet the adventurous forumites embarking on a relay run of Britain's coastline

Posted: 12 May 2010
by Alice Palmer

This week a pioneering group of forumites set off on an epic adventure - to run around the coast of Britain.

What is the Coastal Relay?

The 'Coasters', as the relay runners are known, set off from Blackpool Tower and will run all the way around the coast of Britain (or as near as they can get to the coast!) and back to Blackpool. 'Barry' the CoastersGB baton will travel with them, passing from runner to runner.

The mammoth distance has been split by organisers into 20 stretches, which are then divided into individual legs. These legs are not a set distance, so each runner can do as much or as little as they like.

The Coastal Relay isn't a race - the 'Coasters' simply aim to unite and celebrate the running community of Great Britain.

How did it come about?

RW forumite The Hoose Goer was inspired by Eddie Izzard's 2009 multi-marathon tour of the UK, and in early December he decided to attempt something similar.

He decided against his original plan - to run the coast of Britain alone - in favour of organizing a relay to cover the route, and the Great Britain Coastal Relay was born.

A dedicated team of forumites got to work, and soon decided on a starting point (Blackpool Tower) and a start date (May 9 2010). It became clear that the epic trip would have to be split up into shorter stretches. The 20 stretches the 'Coasters' decided upon will each take around a week to cover, and each individual stretch is organised by local forumites.

Who's involved?

A loyal band of forumites - the CoastersGB. There's a place for every runner on the CoastersGB team, from stretch co-ordinators who pull together runners and plan routes to runners who just fancy a short jog.

It's not too late to join them - especially if you fancy running in the more isolated parts of Scotland! Whether you're planning an epic trip or a plod on home territory, visit the CoastersGB forum thread to join the stretch you fancy.

When is it happening?

Barry started his journey on May 9 2010 - but you'll have plenty of chance to join in or follow the runners as the relay winds north from Blackpool Tower, up into Gretna and around the craggy edge of Scotland before heading south around the coastline of England and Wales.

How do I get involved?

Each stretch can be divided up between an unlimited amount of runners, so whether you want to do three miles or thirty you can be part of the relay. You can volunteer for as many legs as you want, in as many different sections as you want. You can also volunteer to be part of the army of 'floaters' (runners prepared to run legs all over the country).

Simply get in touch with a stretch co-ordinator and sign up for whatever you feel comfortable with.

You don't need to belong to a running club either - the relay isn't affiliated to any club or organisation. It's also completely free to take part.

If you're unable to get involved, don't worry - you can track 'Barry' with the tracker on the CoastersGB website.

Find out more

The thread that started it all - Hoose's call to action.

On the CoastersGB website you can catch up on the latest news, take a look at your stretch and even track 'Barry' as he makes his way around the coast.

The CoastersGB Facebook group

You can also follow the CoastersGB and even Barry the Baton himself on twitter

Previous article
Pocket Race Guide: Summer Race Series
Next article
Enter the Canterbury Half-Marathon to win county cricket tickets


Discuss this article

Influenced highly by Mr izzard's venture, and a need to really do summat, I thought about a group of RW runners doing a relay around the Great Britain coastline (or as safely near to as possible) . Starting and finishing at the same point. A lady called helen someone walked the coast and that was about 4000 miles. If say we each did 200 miles from 1 point to another, then another took over, it should be doable. Each will work their own 200 mile route out -perhaps near to where they are. Also we could muster peops to put up runners en route.

One or two seem interested. So here is the thread. Any mappy type peops can contribute and  perhaps think of a charity etc.

good publicity for RW too

who is potentially in (dont matter if fast or slow or if you walk a bit)?

Posted: 09/12/2009 at 18:54

*Pulls a sofa in and sits right on the edge, with an interested facial expression*

Baggsy Essex coast

Posted: 09/12/2009 at 19:08

fine FF - I could do N. Wales -NW England bit.

as long as we get enough we can work out meeting points for each leg

Posted: 09/12/2009 at 19:09

Seems the distance may be closer to 5000 miles
Posted: 09/12/2009 at 19:12

well we will need a few more then. Is doable I am certain
Posted: 09/12/2009 at 19:17

well if I did Lladudno to blackpool -that would be about 150 miles +
Posted: 09/12/2009 at 19:50

I passed a runner this summer who seemed to be doing the same thing - didnt reallyy take it in until I ran past his support motor home - so he would be a mine of information. Presuming he's survived and not fallen off a cliff edge. Scotland is going to be the hardest to cover though - apparently Scotland is MASSIVE - but nobodys ever been there - so its hard to confirm the speculation.

Its a heck of a big task - but it could be done !
Posted: 09/12/2009 at 20:42

could be done cougie yes. Best have various peops doing a bit of coast . Single handed would be poss but would cost a fortune and take about a year. Whereas here 20+ runners could do a stretch

wonder who that fella is?

Posted: 09/12/2009 at 21:10

"or as safely near to as possible"

Gah!  I curse your sensible caveats!  I was just about to start a facetious but highly fascinating (ok, geeky) argument as to whether this would be impossible, due to the classic mathematical conundrum of the coastline being infintiely long due to its self-similar fractal nature.  Ok, notwithstanding there are problems with this argument (well explained here), I don't suppose you'd be insisting that runners follow the coastline down to the atomic level, so I'll shut up.

BTW I'm not volunteering to run 200 miles, but a quick route suggestion. Given that it's illegal to run along motorways (Dartford Crossing/M25), and the Blackwall tunnel isn't going to be much fun either, I'd suggest the best crossing point for the River Thames would be through the Greenwich foot tunnel.  I'll carry the baton over to East London for you.   

Posted: 09/12/2009 at 21:14

i guess there will e good and bliddy awful bits Phil. as near to coast as safely poss will do -or we would be in trouble . No atomic level
Posted: 09/12/2009 at 21:19

Cripes I was going to say yes but 200 miles would take me months, how about I take West Wales Aberystwyth to Borth (about 15 miles)?
Posted: 09/12/2009 at 21:24

it depends on how many we get Camlo The more we get the less we have to do.
Posted: 09/12/2009 at 21:26

Good !! Could do as a single day event if we had enough peeps lined up all around the coast ?
Posted: 09/12/2009 at 21:30

if we had peops do a mara and pass baton on -200 peops should get round GB.  A day per peop I guess. Solve accom probs a lot.
Posted: 09/12/2009 at 21:33

If this was to happen, seems like it would be quite an acheivement, wouldn't it make some sense to make it a charity event for the press factor, Now i'm not nominating one but they must have the know-how etc to offer support, knowledge on big events such as this.
Posted: 09/12/2009 at 21:35

yip FF- would be good if we got someone like that and a charity on board. I am just an ideas peop and can read maps. Surely we have the peops of the forum that could do it. Thing is to first get publicity and a number of willing peops etc.
Posted: 09/12/2009 at 21:40

Good King Hooselessness - I'd love to run bout 50 of that with you if youd have me.

Would you be planning to split it over a couple of days?? I live not far from Liverpool and would gladly offer you a bed/couch for the night and a big evening meal of your choice if it all goes ahead!! 

Posted: 09/12/2009 at 21:48

that would be great Paul. Early days and I guess how much each of us will do depends on how many participants we could get. It would be a great doable RW stint wouldnt it?

We could have a vest or baton that could be passed to next peop.

"Around Great Britain in 100 days" would be a great title and possible.

Posted: 09/12/2009 at 21:53

this thread or another could be used to keep track of each peops's leg and give support.
Posted: 09/12/2009 at 21:58

Nice ideas in both the last posts!! Reckon a baton would be the way to go, I would'nt like to get the last leg and a sweaty vest!!

Yeh 40 miles a day would/should be a realistic and achievable goal!! Count me in if thats how it goes!!

Posted: 09/12/2009 at 22:02

well between 40 & 50 miles can be done a day . We would need around 100 peops to "do a day". So it wont matter how slow or fast it is done  though some will have more rest time left than others at end of day.

should be able to get an 100 willing to do that.

Posted: 09/12/2009 at 22:06

I'll join with Camlo.  If we do 20 miles each thats our joint 40 miles for the day.
Posted: 09/12/2009 at 22:10

Me think we may need some form of list with relative areas we would like to run in. Something like

Flat Footed - Essex

Posted: 09/12/2009 at 22:12

cat see why not. Thing is that we all have to pick a stretch to do. Best Start and finish at main coastal towns/cities if poss. 
Posted: 09/12/2009 at 22:13

yip FF

FF Essex

Hoose -North Wales-Liverpool (ish)

Paul Williams Liverpool-   ?

Posted: 09/12/2009 at 22:14

I'll do the West Midlands
Posted: 09/12/2009 at 22:20

lol GP
Posted: 09/12/2009 at 22:21

Well, we got lots o canals and a beach under Spaghetti Junction. Doesn't quite have the majesty of North Yorkshire or Cornwall though does it.
Posted: 09/12/2009 at 22:23

no GP -nowt stopping you picking a 50 mile(ish stretch of coast though)
Posted: 09/12/2009 at 22:24

Doing the Cotswold 50 in June, so it would depend on when the run is and how soon again I can walk after.
Posted: 09/12/2009 at 22:27

Make it the Isle of Wight and I'm in!
Posted: 09/12/2009 at 22:29

perhaps over 3 months in early or late summer i would say. Of course 1 st will be 3 months before last.

Gotta have a starting / finish point too to be decided.

Posted: 09/12/2009 at 22:29

I think the problem is going to come with when you would run this, organising round peoples work will be a real nightmare
Posted: 09/12/2009 at 22:30

yip FF - but it wont matter what part of the day you do the miles. Could do it very late of very early or at night. 2 peops could split the run. A peop/s is given a stretch a day -up to them when.

as long as baton is passed on at given point at end for next days peop it dont matter.

we can get round it cant we?

Posted: 09/12/2009 at 22:33

You going to do it on trust or by verifying that the distance has been run? How are you going to veritfy it if you do go that route?
Posted: 09/12/2009 at 22:35

that has to be thought of GP- fellow forumites may want to keep tracks etc. Good have a tracking thingy we pass on.

could be trust but if we get charity and/or RW involved peops may have some better ideas.

Posted: 09/12/2009 at 22:38

Thats what you want a baton with gps in it, or one of those chips you put in your dog.
Posted: 09/12/2009 at 22:40

both perhaps lardy
Posted: 09/12/2009 at 22:41


Just been on map my run and depending on how strict you want to be on 'coast', from my front door, the centre of southport is 40 MILES away!! Pretty much EXACTLY!!

I'm in if you reckon the routes ok??

Posted: 09/12/2009 at 22:51

Each area would have one or two legs and it would be up to peops in that area to co-ordinate in the given time perhaps.
Posted: 09/12/2009 at 22:51

See more comments...
We'd love you to add a comment! Please login or take half a minute to register as a free member

Smart Coach
Free, fully-personalized training plans, designed to suit your racing goals and your lifestyle.