Running away from your problems doesn’t solve anything – but sometimes it’s more fun than dealing with them.
In Coasting, Elise Downing sets out to run the entire coastline of Britain - a 5000 mile / 300 day journey of pain, gratitude and discovery. Endearingly honest and unassuming, Elise describes herself as someone completely unsuited to the task - and yet she did it. She judges herself as an adventure imposter - and yet she isn’t. One wonders how on earth she manages to keep going - and yet she does. There must be thousands of women in their early twenties just like Elise - fresh out of a boozy university experience, career-disillusioned and in a toxic relationship - but the last time I looked they weren’t all queuing up in their trainers to set off round the country from Greenwich. There is certainly something extraordinary about Elise Downing, but of course she doesn’t think there is, and that absence of self-belief is what makes the book so engaging and relatable. With lots of support and encouragement from her adventure community, parents who should probably get an award of some kind and the inexhaustible kindness of strangers, she covers much of the distance with friendly co-runners and free access to warm spare rooms. The trip, however, is not without its traumas and tears - lots of tears - so many in fact one worries she might contribute to a rise in sea levels. Coasting is a classic adventure story wherein an individual has erased the challenges of their life through a bigger, all-consuming challenge and by putting themselves somewhere they perhaps shouldn’t be, has discovered much more of who they really are.
Elise was spending a lot of time crying on buses. She had just graduated from university; she had a shiny new flat, her first proper job and a budding relationship - and they were all making her utterly miserable.
Sitting at work one day, she hit upon the obvious solution: Run 5,000 miles around the coast of Britain, carrying her kit on her back. Six months later Elise set off, with absolutely no ultra-running experience, unable to read a map and having never pitched a tent alone before. Over the 301 days that followed she developed a debilitating fear of farmyard animals, cried on a lot of beaches and saw Britain at its most wild and wonderful. Coasting is about putting one foot in front of the other, even when it feels impossible, and trying to enjoy it too.
With heart and humour, Elise explores the thrill of taking risks and putting your trust in total strangers, and learns some home truths along the way.
|Publication date:||8th July 2021|
Closing date: 10/10/2021
Elise Downing has achieved the impossible – leaving you in awe at her superhuman achievements, but also convincing you that you could probably do the same Emily Chappell, author and cyclist
A hugely enjoyable jaunt around Britain that proves that you can find adventure right on your doorstep Alastair Humphreys
A true Great British Adventure, with humour and heart Sir Ranulph Fiennes
Elise Downing has reminded us all of the most crucial aspects of adventure: 1) You don't have to be an expert. 2) It's all about the people. 3) However hard, tough, excruciating and doubt-driven a challenge might be, at heart it's a funny, funny story. Dave Cornthwaite, founder of the Yes Tribe
Reading Coasting is like listening to a friend tell a tale down the pub that you can’t quite believe. Elise’s storytelling is hilarious, warm-hearted and wonderfully down-to-earth. Anna McNuff, author and adventurer
Funny and engaging and inspiring... an absolute gem. Vassos Alexander, presenter, author and runner
A beautifully observed and blisteringly truthful account of what happens when you decide to combine adventure and endurance. Absolutely brilliant. Jake Tyler, author of A Walk from the Wild Edge
I was already laughing at the Dedication and this continued all the way to the very last page. Elise Downing is a comedy genius and has a heart of gold! Danny Bent, author, runner and founder of Project Awesome
Elise Downing is a sea-loving runner from the middle of the Midlands. She writes things on the internet (and, now, on paper) in various forms for a living. When she’s not covering stupid distances on foot, she loves outdoor swimming and post-adventure trips to the pub. She currently lives in Bristol.More About Elise Downing