Elisabet Barnes - who am I?

Multi-stage ultra running expert

I have 30 years experience of running. I ran my first Marathon in 2002 and my first ultra-marathon in 2011. In 2015 I won the 250km Marathon Des Sables, the Oman Desert Marathon and set mutiple course records. In 2016 I won the Big Red Run in Australia outright, placed second in the Grand to Grand in Utah / Arizona, and in 2017 I won the Marathon Des Sables for a second time, placing 11th overall and running the fastest pace ever achieved by a woman in the race. I have also been on the podiums in the 6-day Coastal Challenge in Costa Rica, the high altitude Everest Trail Race in Nepal, the 100km Ultra Mirage in Tunisian Sahara, and rugged and remote Trans Atlas Marathon in Morocco. Having raced in hot deserts and high mountains I understand the demands of extreme environments and how to prepare. See my running CV below.

Professional background

I have more than 10 years experience from management consulting. I hold a MSc from the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, plus a postgraduate degree in change management from the Australian Business School. I am now a certified sexologist and relationship therapist and I am currently undertaking a PhD. I understand what it’s like trying to balance life, training and a demanding work schedule and what it takes to make changes and stick to them. I can help you identify barriers that may be preventing you from achieving your potential and help you understand how you can re-prioritise commitments to achieve your goals. I left corporate life in 2016 to become an entrepreneur, and before turning my focus to coaching full time I built an online retail business from the ground up.

Multicultural experience

I live in Norway since 2019 but prior to this I lived in the UK for 11 years where I was a certified Coach in Running Fitness (CiRF) with UK Athletics. I also trained as a sports therapist which has given me invaluable knowledge for my running coaching. I am Swedish and can deliver coaching in Swedish or English. I understand Norwegian, Danish and Spanish, having lived for a total of two years in Spain and studied in Danish. Whilst Norway is my base I live a nomadic life travelling, often in my camper van.

A holistic and individual-centered approach to coaching

My speciality is to create bespoke training plans for races such as the Marathon Des Sables, but I also coach for couch to 5km, regular road races, marathons, shorter ultra-marathons and longer trail races. I love working with runners of all levels as well as walkers, and my greatest inspiration is to see others achieve their dreams and goals.

I know very well that running doesn't exist in a vacuum. Most people have family- and work commitments to balance and as a coach it is important to understand the bigger picture of each individual's life. Anyone can deliver a plan, but not all coaches can take this holistic approach. Maintaining mental and physical health and wellbeing are just as important as putting in the miles, if not more.

Broad competency & life experience

I am a certified sexologist with a focus on solution-oriented coaching techniques, and I currently study for a PhD in clinical sexology. I am also a certified Dominatrix. While this is not directly related to running, all areas in life are connected and we are all multi-faceted beings. I am interested in life-long learning and in self-development in many areas of life, not just those directly related to running and sports. All of this has made me, and is making me, a better coach. I feel it is important to invest in my own competency and growth, since I am asking you to invest in yours! 

I believe that all humans deserve to be their authentic selves and I feel strongly about human rights, which include LQBTQIA+ rights. While this is not something that you will notice in running coaching with me as such (unless you bring it up), I just want to tell you about the values that matter to me, and I hope you feel that you can show up authentically to me, whatever that means to you. 

Health & Well-being

I have a deep interest in nutrition and particularly how good nutrition and a healthy lifestyle can prevent and even reverse many lifestyle diseases. I have witnessed first hand the power of eating healthily. I personally eat a varied diet which is heavily plant focused and mostly free of refined sugars and processed foods. I prefer to rely on evidence based resources rather than pseudo-science, which is a general approach I take in life.

Women's health is another area of interest to me. Specifically the links between hormones, training, diet and health in women. I am in my late 40's myself and I do note the impact of hormonal changes and how it becomes even more important for me to look after myself with nutrition, sleep and exercise.

I have been sober since early 2021. A lifestyle completely free of alcohol has brought increased clarity, less anxiety, better mood and generally better well-being to me. I do believe that the way alcohol is embedded in our culture is deeply unhelpful and unhealthy for the majority of people, also those who consider themselves to be drinking at normal levels. However, many find it difficult to quit, partly because it seems impossible to socialise without it. The scientific evidence suggests that there are zero health benefits to any amount of alcohol. I do not force this lifestyle on anyone, and I will most likely not ask you about your drinking habits unless you bring it up yourself. I am just telling you this in case you find it helpful to know it. Perhaps you are looking for support in reducing your alcohol consumption and want to combine it with a running plan? This is a great way to make a change for better health and longevity, and one I would be happy to help out with.

In summary, combining my running expertise with my professional and entrepreneurial background; a passion for supporting people in building self-esteem and confidence, and making healthier lifestyle choices; plus having an emphasis on solution focused coaching techniques; I believe that I can offer a unique coaching partnership to help you succeed.

You responded quickly and answered everything precise and to the point.  I wouldn't hesitate in recommending the champ to anyone.


I really want to thank you for all your help over the last few months. I wouldn't have even got close to being ready without you.


Thank you so much for everything Elisabet. You were there in spirit pushing me on. I can say that honestly as I did not want to let you down.


Elisabet Barnes Costa Rica UltraCoach CoastalChallenge

Running CV

Here are the most important things I have been up to. Not strictly just races as I also do some other adventures which are worth mentioning! After 2019 I have not returned to competitive running but I run for general fitness and well-being. I also enjoy the gym. In 2022 I recovered from a meniscus tear which I healed without surgery, focusing on rehab exercises and healing nutritional choices.



  • Fast hiking of Three Passes Trek in Himalayas
  • Trail running adventure in the Atlas Mountains including summiting Mount Toubkal twice
  • Ultra Mirage El Djerid (Tunisia) – 100km: 1st Woman / 4th overall




  • UK Ultra Runner of the year
  • Oman Desert Marathon 165km / 6 stages: 1st Woman / 7th overall / 3rd European overall (18 hrs 37 min)
  • Clif Bar 10 Peaks Brecon Beacons 58km / 3200m ascent: 1st Woman (new course record)
  • Trail Menorca Cami de Cavalls Costa Sur 85km: 1st Woman / 7th overall 9:02:30 (new course record)
  • London Marathon: 2:59:13
  • Marathon des Sables: 1st Woman / 20th overall (26:42:13)
  • XNRG Pilgrims Challenge 66 miles: 1st Woman 9:56:47 (new course record)
  • Go Beyond Country to Capital 45 miles: 1st Woman 5:37:06 (new course record)


  • Clif Bar 10 Peaks Brecon Beacons short course: 2nd Woman
  • Centurion North Downs Way 100 miles
  • Grand Union Canal Race 145 miles 2014: 37:45 (happy just to finish!)


  • Centurion South Down Way 100 miles
  • Boston Marathon: 3:08
  • Essex Championships: 2nd Woman


  • Norfolk Coastal Ultra 100km: 2nd woman
  • Ring O’ Fire 131 miles: 1st Woman
  • Marathon Des Sables: 15th Woman


  • Norfolk Coastal Ultra 100km
  • 50 Mile Challenge: 1st Woman / 2nd overall
  • Lidingö Ultra 50km: 4th Woman

Key Marathons

  • 4 x London Marathon
  • 5 x Stockholm Marathon
  • 2 x Berlin Marathon
  • Edinburgh Marathon
  • Boston Marathon

Want to work together? I'd love to hear from you!