Told with disarming honesty and heart-breaking vulnerability, There Is No Wall is Allie Bailey’s story of her rollercoaster journey through alcoholism, depression and into the wonderful world of ultrarunning. If you’ve read running books before, you’d think that running would be her salvation. Turns out running thousands of miles a year doesn’t save anybody, but it might be the thing that buys her time to save herself.
Named as one of the most inspiring female adventurers in the UK by The Guardian, Allie Bailey appeared to have it all – a successful career in the music industry, several running world firsts to her name, appearances on mainstream TV programmes and, eventually, the ultimate twenty-something prize – a real leather jacket from All Saints.
But behind the scenes, it was a very different story. Allie was fighting severe mental health issues and an alcohol addiction that constantly threatened to sabotage everything she achieved. She was also running longer and longer races.
But this isn’t the usual story about how running ‘saved’ her. Allie describes how, at times, running actually made things more difficult, becoming both her enabler and her cover story while also furnishing her with the tools that she would come to rely on later down the line, when all else had failed.
This is the story of how it sometimes takes being at rock bottom to accept some indisputable truths and to start getting well again.
‘Acceptance’, Allie writes, ‘is not weakness. Acceptance is absolute balls to the wall power.’
This is a book for anyone who has ever felt like they are not enough. Incidences of ‘accidentally’ getting married, running 100-mile races while hungover, accepting some extremely questionable behaviour, sabotaging countless relationships and pressing self-destruct more than once provide the backbone for a story of partial redemption and ongoing self-improvement that the author hopes will help people feel seen, heard and empowered to know that change is possible and ultrarunning is cool.
‘I wrote this book to help people,’ Allie writes in the introduction. ‘I wrote it because I spent far too long not being able to find the help I needed.’
Allie’s experiences helped her find her purpose and she now makes a living by helping other runners get the best out of themselves both physically and mentally. In this powerful book she shares some of her insightful ideas to help the reader with their own struggles, or those of a friend, relative or partner.
Signed limited-edition hardback copies of There is No Wall are now available to pre-order here: https://bit.ly/3udRlC2
‘Every now and then a manuscript comes through the door that makes you stop dead and think this book will change peoples lives’. – Jon Barton, founder and MD of Vertebrate Publishing.
About the Author
Allie Bailey is an ultrarunner, coach, speaker and podcaster who has run in some of the most extreme places in the world. She was the first woman to run 100 miles across frozen Lake Khövsgöl in Mongolia and to run the full length of the Panama Canal. She has crossed the inhospitable Namib Desert three times, run the length of the Outer Hebrides and completed a 1,000-mile off-road version of the classic Land’s End to John o’Groats route in just thirty days.
In 2023 she won the inaugural Wild Horse 200 and is an inov-8 sponsored athlete. Allie has finished over 200 marathons and ultramarathons all over the world, but the most remarkable thing about all of these achievements is that she accomplished most of them while battling depression and alcoholism.
After a seismic mental health crisis in 2021, Allie finally admitted to herself and those around her that she was an alcoholic and started her recovery. She left behind a dream career with major record labels and adventure companies and now works as a coach with a broad range of runners and endurance athletes, helping them unlock their full potential. In 2022, she was named as one of the most inspiring female adventurers in the UK by The Guardian, and she has appeared on numerous mainstream TV programmes including The One Show and Lorraine. She lives in Yorkshire with her rescue dog, Pickle.
Allie Bailey (@ab_runs) • Instagram photos and videos (12.3k followers)
About the Publisher
Vertebrate Publishing is an award-winning publisher of adventure books, based in the Peak District. They are driven by their passion for the outdoors, for exploration, and for the natural world and they endeavour to share this with their readers. They were named Small Press of the Year at the British Book Awards, 2022.