web site hit counter Running Free: A Runner’s Journey Back to Nature - Ebooks PDF Online
Hot Best Seller

Running Free: A Runner’s Journey Back to Nature

Availability: Ready to download

Richard Askwith wanted more. Not convinced running had to be all about pounding pavements, buying fancy kit, and racking up extreme challenges, he looked for ways to liberate himself. His solution: running through muddy fields and up rocky fells, running with his dog at dawn, running because he's being (voluntarily) chased by a pack of bloodhounds, running to get hopelessl Richard Askwith wanted more. Not convinced running had to be all about pounding pavements, buying fancy kit, and racking up extreme challenges, he looked for ways to liberate himself. His solution: running through muddy fields and up rocky fells, running with his dog at dawn, running because he's being (voluntarily) chased by a pack of bloodhounds, running to get hopelessly, enjoyably lost, running fast for the sheer thrill of it. Running as nature intended. Part diary of a year running through the Northamptonshire countryside, part exploration of why we love to run without limits, Running Free is an eloquent and inspiring account of running in a forgotten, rural way, observing wildlife and celebrating the joys of nature. An opponent of the commercialization of running, Askwith offers a welcome alternative, with practical tips (learned the hard way) on how to both start and keep running naturally—from thawing frozen toes to avoiding a stampede when crossing a field of cows. Running Free is about getting back to the basics of why we love to run.


Compare

Richard Askwith wanted more. Not convinced running had to be all about pounding pavements, buying fancy kit, and racking up extreme challenges, he looked for ways to liberate himself. His solution: running through muddy fields and up rocky fells, running with his dog at dawn, running because he's being (voluntarily) chased by a pack of bloodhounds, running to get hopelessl Richard Askwith wanted more. Not convinced running had to be all about pounding pavements, buying fancy kit, and racking up extreme challenges, he looked for ways to liberate himself. His solution: running through muddy fields and up rocky fells, running with his dog at dawn, running because he's being (voluntarily) chased by a pack of bloodhounds, running to get hopelessly, enjoyably lost, running fast for the sheer thrill of it. Running as nature intended. Part diary of a year running through the Northamptonshire countryside, part exploration of why we love to run without limits, Running Free is an eloquent and inspiring account of running in a forgotten, rural way, observing wildlife and celebrating the joys of nature. An opponent of the commercialization of running, Askwith offers a welcome alternative, with practical tips (learned the hard way) on how to both start and keep running naturally—from thawing frozen toes to avoiding a stampede when crossing a field of cows. Running Free is about getting back to the basics of why we love to run.

30 review for Running Free: A Runner’s Journey Back to Nature

  1. 4 out of 5

    Sean Barrs

    I’m obsessed with running. My New Year’s resolution is to run every single day this year. Today is day 119 of my running streak and I’m still going strong. Tonight I will run 8 miles home from work most likely through a rain downpour if the weather does not let up. I have done some things others might consider a bit unsociable to keep my streak going. I have run through the middle of the night and I have run at 5:00am in the morning to fit a run in. I’ve run through snow storms and out in weather I’m obsessed with running. My New Year’s resolution is to run every single day this year. Today is day 119 of my running streak and I’m still going strong. Tonight I will run 8 miles home from work most likely through a rain downpour if the weather does not let up. I have done some things others might consider a bit unsociable to keep my streak going. I have run through the middle of the night and I have run at 5:00am in the morning to fit a run in. I’ve run through snow storms and out in weather below 0 degrees Celsius. I’m not going to stop and in part this book has helped me to keep motivated. This is a book about falling back in love with running. Askwith began to grow sick of the commercialised aspect of the sport so he took up trail running and went straight back to the basics of why people run: enjoyment, fulfilment and to feel at one with the natural world. I feel better for running every day. I sleep better and it gears me up for new challenges. I’m running Edinburgh marathon at the end of May and this book will help me reach the finish line.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jeff Miller

    Hmm... One reason I started Fell Running was Richard's book 'Feet In The Clouds', and I doubt I am alone. Now I have over 100 races under my belt and yet I still have the same passion and thrill every time I line up at the start. I will never win a race (although I did once come 3rd!), but I do not race to win. However, I look after my kit, I buy things that I feel enhance my enjoyment (quality footwear, shorts that don't chaffe, tops that are designed to keep the cold wind at bay when I'm in the Hmm... One reason I started Fell Running was Richard's book 'Feet In The Clouds', and I doubt I am alone. Now I have over 100 races under my belt and yet I still have the same passion and thrill every time I line up at the start. I will never win a race (although I did once come 3rd!), but I do not race to win. However, I look after my kit, I buy things that I feel enhance my enjoyment (quality footwear, shorts that don't chaffe, tops that are designed to keep the cold wind at bay when I'm in the middle of nowhere during the first week of January...and yes, I do have a watch that tracks my run so that I can analyse my performance when I get back), but now I am made to feel a 'sucker' because Richard Askwith has turned his back on all this and is 'Running Free'. 'Running Free' on the back of the royalties he has made from his incredibly successful 'FITC', which has been updated and republished (essentially exactly the same with a new preface) and the proceeds of this very book wherein he tells us all that we are mugs if we spend money on running. The author is allowed his opinion, and allowed to change his focus from his earlier racing days...but here he appears to be quite cutting against anyone who hasn't followed his path. He is outright rude about road runners, but without considering why they do what they do. I cannot stand road running, but I accept that many of my club colleagues love it, and are very good at it. I do not criticise them for liking something simply because I do something else; like a Jazz fan mocking pop music - there's a place for both - you don't have to go there, but don't criticise those that do. There is also an issue with this even being a book. It isn't. It's a long Sunday Magazine article. There is far too repetition in this book. There are whole chapters that are utterly pointless other than for the purpose of saying 'I am better than you because I am pure'. This could have been good. The argument is there...and yes there are issues with the commercialision of running (and everything else for that matter), but until he is running naked and stops writing about it Richard Askwith is still part of it. I like this author, I like his writing style...and in this book he has some interesting points...but he comes across all wrong, and even somewhat of a hypocrite - shame really.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Paul

    Askwith had reached the point where he had had enough with running. Not the actual act, but the way that the sport had been hijacked by global brands whe were only interested in selling you more expensive pointless kit, the never ending drive to better yourself incrementally and the proliferation of heavily marketed extreme challenges. He wanted to return to what made him love running in the first place. A move to Northampton meant that he had the opportunity to change. He stopped pounding the pa Askwith had reached the point where he had had enough with running. Not the actual act, but the way that the sport had been hijacked by global brands whe were only interested in selling you more expensive pointless kit, the never ending drive to better yourself incrementally and the proliferation of heavily marketed extreme challenges. He wanted to return to what made him love running in the first place. A move to Northampton meant that he had the opportunity to change. He stopped pounding the pavements, set aside his watch and headphones and liberated himself. He found new routes through muddy fields and over the fells, got utterly soaked and mud splattered regularly and frequently got very lost. A chance encounter in a car park ended up with him being chased on a regular basis by bloodhounds, all for fun of course, but mostly he discovered whilst running for the sheer pleasure of it, the delights of wildlife and nature. He has many practical tips for those wishing to avoid the relentless expense and just get back to the simpler art of running, as well as key pointers for rural running. This is not a book I would have normally selected; preferring two wheels to two legs, but as it was one of the books that had appeared on the Wainwright Prize longlist last year so it has got to be worth reading, right? And it was. Askwith has endless passion for what he now calls running free. For example, rather than run with shoes that cost the earth; he now uses a lightweight shoe, almost glove like and has changed his running style to suit. What really comes across in the book is his discovery of the wildlife and nature as he runs, but not having headphones jammed in his ears, he hears the bird song and water in streams, and even as he runs early in the morning with his dog, Nutmeg, they still come across deer and raptors out early. 3.5 stars overall. Well worth reading, even if the last time you ran anywhere was at school.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Simon Adams

    I love running and am currently struggling with plantar fasciitis at the time of reading. I found the first half of the book tedious at best; each chapter is just yet another repetition of why running in the countryside at dawn and dusk is so amazing. At this point it was a one-star book and then redeemed itself from chapter 13 onwards with a little variety and some interesting stories. Interspersed between these gems of interest was more turgid description of running through cold and frosty fie I love running and am currently struggling with plantar fasciitis at the time of reading. I found the first half of the book tedious at best; each chapter is just yet another repetition of why running in the countryside at dawn and dusk is so amazing. At this point it was a one-star book and then redeemed itself from chapter 13 onwards with a little variety and some interesting stories. Interspersed between these gems of interest was more turgid description of running through cold and frosty fields filled with sheep and cows but there was sufficient to get me to the end of the book and not give up completely. Reading other reviews, the author has apparently written a corker called Feet in the Clouds but now I feel the likelihood of me ever experiencing that book is massively spoiled by my reluctance to pick up another boring lecture about the author’s virtuousness and my life as a sheep following more commercial road-running avenues (if you pardon the pun). I’d avoid this unless you run in open countryside every morning and need to feel a sense of smug satisfaction from reading about it.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Alistair Miller

    I found out about this book after reading an article in Runners World magazine. The author is a runner of many years, but now focuses on 'free' running in the countryside. He details not only the pleasure of running but also being in the moment and appreciating the landscape around you. He vividly brings to life the country runs that he goes on. His argument is that for something so natural and free, Big Running as he likes to call it, is constraining it. I could see the validity of his argument I found out about this book after reading an article in Runners World magazine. The author is a runner of many years, but now focuses on 'free' running in the countryside. He details not only the pleasure of running but also being in the moment and appreciating the landscape around you. He vividly brings to life the country runs that he goes on. His argument is that for something so natural and free, Big Running as he likes to call it, is constraining it. I could see the validity of his argument to a certain extent, but found his criticism of say Park Run to be harsh, as any running/exercise is something to be encouraged. Reading the book though, has made me ponder how I can mix up my running to make it less formulaic, with more of a focus on engagement with my surroundings.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    I grew very tired of hearing about his dog Nutmeg especially since many of my off-road running experiences have been compromised by poorly-controlled dogs and their indulgent owners. That said, much of what he said rang true. I just don’t think his subject-matter justified a book.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Robert

    I run every other day in the countryside whenever possible and I'm also a natural history enthusiast so the subject matter of this book is very familiar and should be enjoyable. And on one hand it works - this has some great nature writing passages about the experience of running in the countryside and the mountains of the UK. Lots of these passages transport me into a hodge-podge of fond memories from my own runs. It's just a shame that Askwith is such a curmudgeonly prescriptivist about runnin I run every other day in the countryside whenever possible and I'm also a natural history enthusiast so the subject matter of this book is very familiar and should be enjoyable. And on one hand it works - this has some great nature writing passages about the experience of running in the countryside and the mountains of the UK. Lots of these passages transport me into a hodge-podge of fond memories from my own runs. It's just a shame that Askwith is such a curmudgeonly prescriptivist about running. He's right that running shouldn't be an expensive sport requiring lots of kit and maybe too many of us get too focused on times, performance, the perception of others and the avoidance of risk. But he seems to insist that he has found some "One True Way" of running that's more arbitrary and idiosyncratic than I think he realises. He rails against the use of digital technology and social media in what he clearly sees as his domain and fails to see how much of what he writes comes across as a baby boomer complaining about "kids these days". Apparently he's discovered his sense of playfulness by running without a goal in mind, but a bunch of adults racing each other over arbitrary footpaths and hills for useless internet points on Strava isn't also a form of play? He gives the standard nature writer talk about reading the landscape through prolonged exposure and then a few pages later talks about preferring not to investigate parts of nature as the ignorance helps keep the mystery rather than seeing one answered question creating a dozen more in its place. He arbitrarily craps on the ParkRun movement for having accepted corporate sponsorship to help keep their operation running and free. He periodically recognises that he's being a little unfair to those he criticises but then drifts into similar behaviour in the next chapter over and over. A frustrating read by what seems like a kindred spirit.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Dc96

    One of my favourite books on running - mainly because I like many of the same things Richard does - country running off the beaten track. The book also raises some interesting points on the commercialisation of running and the neat packages that are presented to us.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Markw

    # Running Free, by Richard Askwith I’m not sure exactly why I started this one before Askwith’s previous book, *Feet in the Clouds*, given a putative interest in fell-running (the subject of his first book). But I'm glad I did. *Running Free* interleaves three themes: first, a polemic against Big Running, Askwith’s term for the marketised, organised and profit-motivated side of running, with some exploration of some alternative approaches. He rails against the idea that you can’t run without track # Running Free, by Richard Askwith I’m not sure exactly why I started this one before Askwith’s previous book, *Feet in the Clouds*, given a putative interest in fell-running (the subject of his first book). But I'm glad I did. *Running Free* interleaves three themes: first, a polemic against Big Running, Askwith’s term for the marketised, organised and profit-motivated side of running, with some exploration of some alternative approaches. He rails against the idea that you can’t run without tracking your route via GPS, your heartrate, your time and pace; that you can’t run without spending a small fortune on running gear; that you can’t just go out and run, but have to pay someone else to organise an “event” for you to run in. And yet: > The strange thing is, the more we spend on running, as a nation, the less fit and more fat we collectively become. (location 228) As he says: > A similar kind of twisted logic has persuaded any number of modern children that, for example, a packaged sandwich is more desirable than a homemade one; or that clothing with logos is better than clothing without. The second theme of the book is a gentle memoir of a year’s running, exploring the experience of his (mostly early morning) runs through his local landscape over the course of a year. Askwith lives in rural Northamptonshire, somewhere northeast of Banbury (he mentions the Banbury street-lighting night glow at one point), not far from “the tiny village of Plumpton” (which Google Maps doesn’t seem to recognise via its search, but the map itself shows it is a few miles southeast of Canon’s Ashby), and Canon’s Ashby (whose church spire is visible from several of his runs). The third theme is the *Seven Ages of Running*, riffing of course off Shakespeare’s seven ages of man. He’s in his fifties at the time of writing and doesn’t seem to have reached the seventh age yet, but the first six are as follows: * the *First Age*: “the total novice: hesitant, embarrassed, still only provisionally committed, and pleasantly surprised on first completing a distance that can be measured in miles rather than metres” * “the runner of the *Second Age* is more of a zealot. Going for a run no longer feels like a mad experiment” * “… the *Third Age* of Running, when a general desire for self-improvement gives way to a yearning for ‘peak performance’” * “my fell-running phase constituted my version of the *Fourth Age* of Running. By this I mean the stage when you finally pit yourself against the very biggest, craziest, most daunting challenge you can possible imagine … For some this might mean going for Olympic gold; for others it might mean running a marathon, or perhaps some kind of adventure race or triathlon. What matters is that, in your terms, it is extreme, improbable and perhaps on the borders of lunacy – but still, just about, theoretically, within your grasp” * in the *Fifth Age* he forced himself “into a choice: either to give up running, because I derived no satisfaction from it; or to find other satisfactions in it, and to enjoy them instead. I chose the latter and the result has been, I think, my *Fifth Age* of Running” * next he discovers it’s possible to still run like a child: “I’m increasingly inclined to embrace it, not just as an occasional indulgence but as a distinct and delightful *Sixth Age* of Running. We all have an inner child. Can it really be healthy not to let it out to play occasionally?” Presumably the *Seventh Age* will be discovered in his sixties or seventies, and involve some slow plodding with an emphasis on enjoying the place and the company, though it’s hard to see how this would differ from the Fifth Age. The Seven Ages idea works least well: it’s a journalistic idea, a “peg” on which to hang some ideas about the evolution of his relationship to running, but as a concept it’s nearer to the listicle than Proustian recollection. The polemic was in all truth preaching to the converted in my case, though (like Askwith himself), I’m guilty as charged. (We are all sinners.) But I’m afraid he did start to come across as an old fogey riding a hobby-horse: everything he says is true, but it’s no truer of running than any other aspect of modern life, and he could have made his point much more succinctly. And he’s guilty of some harsh judgements to fit things into his thesis, for instance he is very unfair on parkruns. True, they take sponsorship money from Big Running (Nike, Sweatshop, and all), but this has always come across to me more as a pragmatic approach to paying some of their costs than as selling out. You only have to interact with the website once, for the initial registration, and thereafter you just turn up and the standard time for you local event and run, and never again see any reference to the sponsors or their branding. In fact, you don’t even have to register if you’d prefer not to: no-one checks or cares if those running are registered, and the only drawback (which Askwith would in any case see as an advantage) is that you don’t get your time recorded. My local event certainly feels like a local event, organised for free by local volunteers (including the stalwarts who give up their run to act as event wardens). All types of runner are welcome and all types are there every week: from the ultra-competitive club runners, to those just coming off the NHS *Couch to 5k* programme who can barely make it round 5k without walking, to those who need to walk a significant fraction of the distance. On the same point, Askwith (perhaps prudently) doesn’t mention the NHS *Couch to 5k*. To be consistent, he’d have to denounce and deride it, since its users have to download a podcast and run with earphones in, robotically obeying the instructions to run and walk on demand. And yet, C25K has got thousands off their sofas and running, and anecdotal evidence at least suggests that many of these go on to develop a long-lasting running habit – does Askwith really regret this? But let’s accentuate the positive. By far the most successful element is the account of his running year. The book was nominated for a nature writing prize, and that wasn’t to recognise the Big Running polemic or the Seven Ages chapters: the quiet accounts of his pre-dawn runs through the varying terrains of the British farm landscape – frozen, water-logged, ploughed, springy, nettle and thistle infested – are superb. He name-checks Robert Macfarlane at one point. I wasn’t surprised: Macfarlane’s influence on British nature-writing has been profound and simply can’t be over-estimated. But to paraphrase Lloyd Bentsen, he’s no Robert Macfarlane: at heart Askwith is a journalist, more intelligent than many perhaps, but lacking Macfarlane’s deep insight into both language and landscape.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Sophy H

    A very well written book about "wild running" or "natural running" as nature intended, just you, your feet, your own energy and the surroundings. Askwith questions why running has become so commercialised and consumerist, with every kit, clothing and shoe imaginable to "enhance performance". He makes some very good points which I heartily agree with. Back in 2014 I started running with a women's running group and really enjoyed it. After the continuous plugging of "team shirts", "group merch" an A very well written book about "wild running" or "natural running" as nature intended, just you, your feet, your own energy and the surroundings. Askwith questions why running has become so commercialised and consumerist, with every kit, clothing and shoe imaginable to "enhance performance". He makes some very good points which I heartily agree with. Back in 2014 I started running with a women's running group and really enjoyed it. After the continuous plugging of "team shirts", "group merch" and organised meetings that I had to pay to attend, I became disillusioned with the original premise of a group of like minded women meeting just to run safely. The final straw was when the group leader berated two women for meeting separately and going for a run on their own outside of "group meeting hours"!! That was it. I left and ran alone. I felt so much better. Askwith proposes a healthier, more natural approach to running, as we all did when we were children, no pounding pavements, no laborious machines, just nature, leaves, puddles and grass. When I get my running mojo back sir, I will follow that path. (1 star removed for an overly long chapter on mud and a whole paragraph on different names for mud! Er no!!)

  11. 4 out of 5

    Catherine Henderson

    The 3 stars are more for the parts where he puts across his passion for what he calls 'rural running'. I was inclined to give less for his tendancey to come across a bit holier than tho despite his attempts at tempering it. I personally enjoy going in for the types of events like Tough Mudder that he so dispises just as much as getting out into my local countryside. But overall his sheer joy for the landscape and his sport stopped me from being too harsh in my judgment The 3 stars are more for the parts where he puts across his passion for what he calls 'rural running'. I was inclined to give less for his tendancey to come across a bit holier than tho despite his attempts at tempering it. I personally enjoy going in for the types of events like Tough Mudder that he so dispises just as much as getting out into my local countryside. But overall his sheer joy for the landscape and his sport stopped me from being too harsh in my judgment

  12. 4 out of 5

    Alvaro Lara

    It's an interesting journey of a man and his experience with running, mostly reflective on different stages he has gone through. Some of his ideas about finding meaning in running and avoiding the consumerism did resonate quite strongly with my own. If you are looking for some insights on the experience of running and some of the questions that raise from reflecting on it, this is the book to read. It's an interesting journey of a man and his experience with running, mostly reflective on different stages he has gone through. Some of his ideas about finding meaning in running and avoiding the consumerism did resonate quite strongly with my own. If you are looking for some insights on the experience of running and some of the questions that raise from reflecting on it, this is the book to read.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Michael Webster

    I am definitely an ambassador of Big Running. It has completely absorbed me. However this book has made me consider another way, and really is a decent mantra for ‘free running.’ Although I think it slightly looks down on those who are into road running or like to splash out on kit - I am ok with that though, it’s always good to read another perspective and this is an incredibly enthusiastic perspective at that. Richard Askwith does now know how to write a bad running book.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Brianna Henderson

    Reminded me why I love running and made me fall slightly more in love with the sport. Changed my perspective on running in difficult weather conditions, and how there is now a booming industry for specialist running clothing and equipment. The author strips running back to its basics, running without a care for performance but for nature instead.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Grim-Anal King

    Quite inspiring to start with but it became clear this book was overly formulaic and dependent on repetition. That is an accurate reflection though - running free as Askwith would have it is better than running tethered to urbanity (or worse still running indoors), but the inspiration can often be fleeting and distraction from the downsides of the pastime is sporadic.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Bryony Walden

    Proper escapism. Richard’s descriptions of the countryside in which he runs are just lovely. This book makes me feel that we should never take our local fields and wildlife for granted. If you are a runner of any shape or form, or simply have a love for the outdoors, then this is definitely worth a read.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Mrs Claire Milne

    Encouraged me to get out and run Wasn't sure what to expect from this book but very much enjoyed it. As a result of it I ended up splashing through puddles at 6.30am on every wet morning. Loved that it combined nature with running. Just felt went on for not longer than needed to. Encouraged me to get out and run Wasn't sure what to expect from this book but very much enjoyed it. As a result of it I ended up splashing through puddles at 6.30am on every wet morning. Loved that it combined nature with running. Just felt went on for not longer than needed to.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Laura Longmore

    Not my usual read but was given this as a gift. It raises some interesting points that I will certainly consider in my own running journey. Richard is very fortunate to live in a location where rural running is an option and I wish this was the case living in a city!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Mark Walter

    Enjoyable and inspiring and I am running in nature more than when I started. However the central message of getting back to nature didn't build through the book. The book ended with the same ideas as it started. Would have probably been better as a long essay / short book. Enjoyable and inspiring and I am running in nature more than when I started. However the central message of getting back to nature didn't build through the book. The book ended with the same ideas as it started. Would have probably been better as a long essay / short book.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Ben Holmes junior

    Richard Askwith gets it.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Johan

    I can completely see the six ages of running described in the book.....but whats even clearer is the love of running...written down in such an eloquent way, that it is inspiring.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Pip

    Absolutely loved this book. Very inspiring. Running, dogs, English countryside. What's not to like? Absolutely loved this book. Very inspiring. Running, dogs, English countryside. What's not to like?

  23. 5 out of 5

    Fiona English

    Loved Feet in the Clouds but the grumpy attitude towards others enjoyment of running and accessible routes in to sport was disappointing and pretty depressing. Not enjoyable.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Alex Rendall

    As someone who runs regularly and who loves the countryside, this book appealed to me when I saw it on the shortlist for the Wainwright Prize. Askwith describes how he had become disillusioned with what he calls "Big Running": the organisation of more and bigger running events with corporate sponsorship and the encouragement to spend money on expensive kit and races. He talks a lot about running for fun and running in the countryside, how he found joy by noticing the wild things around him which As someone who runs regularly and who loves the countryside, this book appealed to me when I saw it on the shortlist for the Wainwright Prize. Askwith describes how he had become disillusioned with what he calls "Big Running": the organisation of more and bigger running events with corporate sponsorship and the encouragement to spend money on expensive kit and races. He talks a lot about running for fun and running in the countryside, how he found joy by noticing the wild things around him which he had never seen when running previously. While his message does get a bit repetitive after a while, I completely agree with him about the commercialisation of my sport, so it was refreshing to hear about the different attempts that Askwith made to "run free" while researching the book. His prose is lyrical and I can't help but enjoy the evocative descriptions of the countryside that he runs through. This is a book that runners and countryside lovers would adore. It has certainly made me take notice of my surroundings much more when I go running and has inspired me to run in nature as much as I can from now on.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Vicky

    I would recommend this book to someone else. I did really enjoy reading it, and found myself agreeing with just about everything Richard said. If you are not already considering going out running more in the countryside, it is pretty likely this book will convince you, especially if you have a dog. ...that is, if you can get past the moments where he seems so intent on promoting the benefits of 'running free' and the negatives of 'Big Running' but can't quite bring himself to dismiss road running I would recommend this book to someone else. I did really enjoy reading it, and found myself agreeing with just about everything Richard said. If you are not already considering going out running more in the countryside, it is pretty likely this book will convince you, especially if you have a dog. ...that is, if you can get past the moments where he seems so intent on promoting the benefits of 'running free' and the negatives of 'Big Running' but can't quite bring himself to dismiss road running/incremental gains etc. It leaves the writing of those parts quite stilted and I kept thinking, "If you're not going to reject it entirely, why are you bringing up the comparison at all?". Which I entirely realise is a wholly unfair thing to say - if he had not maintained this /fairly/ v balanced view throughout I would have been affronted as well (being, as I am, in my First Age of running and soon hoping to reach my Second Age). I guess it's just the dissonance between trying to promote running off-road without buying in to much of the consumerism of Big Running, with a consistent attempt to not dismiss the joy other people find in running e.g. on road, with all the gear. Maybe it gives a feeling of hypocrisy? But if you are looking over one person's entire life of running, there's bound to be some cognitive dissonance. Another point is that the book seems to be aimed at middle-aged people who have been running for ten or twenty years, which I am not. Nevertheless, I did enjoy reading this book (the two chapters about being hunted by bloodhounds and men respectively stand out as particularly fun) and would recommend it to others (though I wouldn't blame you if you waited for the paperback).

  26. 5 out of 5

    Doug Newdick

    Richard Askwith hates the commercialisation (he would say over-commercialisation) of running and he's not afraid to tell you so! This book is about getting back to the basics of what running is all about - getting out and going for a run - dispensing with all of the hype and gear. Askwith wants us to focus on the experience of running and re-connect with nature as we do so. He thinks we are too distracted by the advertising and the brands, too focussed on the measurement, to really enjoy the act Richard Askwith hates the commercialisation (he would say over-commercialisation) of running and he's not afraid to tell you so! This book is about getting back to the basics of what running is all about - getting out and going for a run - dispensing with all of the hype and gear. Askwith wants us to focus on the experience of running and re-connect with nature as we do so. He thinks we are too distracted by the advertising and the brands, too focussed on the measurement, to really enjoy the activity and the outdoors we should be in. It is certainly a different take on running than the one you see displayed in the big running magazines and major events, and as such it is a valuable perspective. At times he seems to swing too far in the other direction, and he is also speaking from the perspective of someone who has run semi-competitively for years, and so has a base of decades of good running to rely on. That said, I enjoyed it, and have started taking some of his themes to heart, focussing on the experience more than the times or PBs. Askwith, an englishman, focusses on the rural running avialable there, which is quite different from the trail running available here in even urban NZ. It has some hilarious advice - not the usual sort for a running book - on dealing with livestock and rural obstacles such as nettles and brambles. Well worth the read if you want a different take on running.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    The thing about this book is that I experienced the same emotional changes that happen on some of my longer runs. I went through "I'm reading too much non-fiction, I need a novel", I went through "Methinks he doth protest too much, he's just talking to himself", I even went through "God this is dull, I think I might give up" But I also experienced tremendous exhilaration and affinity. Askwith runs with his dog, as I do and happens to have a particularly delightful breed of dog I would have chose The thing about this book is that I experienced the same emotional changes that happen on some of my longer runs. I went through "I'm reading too much non-fiction, I need a novel", I went through "Methinks he doth protest too much, he's just talking to himself", I even went through "God this is dull, I think I might give up" But I also experienced tremendous exhilaration and affinity. Askwith runs with his dog, as I do and happens to have a particularly delightful breed of dog I would have chosen myself, he enjoys nature in all its detail - the fog, the well trodden area of mud and cow dung and urine still with grass growing in it as well as the unsurprising skylarks. I found some of his activities and analyses - the cheese rolling, the murky business history of obstacle racing, helping to train hounds - fascinating. I was completely caught up in the 'hare' hunt, with fingers tingling. His paired anecdotes of two elite athletes meeting friends whilst out on a run were brilliant. He sometimes wrong-foots you, you think he is going to sneer and then he doesn't quite. I kept thinking he was grumpy and judgmental but that I shared his views very closely. Hmmm.... What I did find weird was that although he clearly knows it exists, he didn't include orienteering in his description of running in nature. And he shows in many small ways that he is really pretty competitive and quick, whatever he says.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Roy McCarthy

    This book should be on every runner’s shelf. Askwith, a more than decent runner himself, expresses eloquently what the essence of running is all about, and how it has been hijacked. Yes he waxes over-lyrically on stumbling through country fields on a freezing winter’s morning, but we get the clear message. Running is one of the most natural and spontaneous of human activity, yet it has been tamed and sanitised by Big Running. And all of us are in thrall. Askwith does a great job in setting out t This book should be on every runner’s shelf. Askwith, a more than decent runner himself, expresses eloquently what the essence of running is all about, and how it has been hijacked. Yes he waxes over-lyrically on stumbling through country fields on a freezing winter’s morning, but we get the clear message. Running is one of the most natural and spontaneous of human activity, yet it has been tamed and sanitised by Big Running. And all of us are in thrall. Askwith does a great job in setting out the ludicrous and ever-changing gamut of goods and services marketed by the running industry, very little of which is actually required to run, and to run well. Askwith started his running in a conventional way, pounding the streets, entering races, trying to improve his times. It was when he moved to the country that things changed. He has written before about his engagement with fell-running. Now he discovers drag hunting, with humans as the quarry. He offers himself to the local hunt for training purposes and describes that, on every occasion, he has a primeval fear of being ripped to shreds as he is hunted down. Of course the bloodhounds actually love him and smother him with licks instead. Askwith’s pure love of running comes through clearly. Without such a love, he says, a runner is likely to give up the sport sooner rather than later. His description of his off-road experiences should inspire us all.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Documentally

    I only recently decided to start running and have ran every day since. Probably not healthy but have promised myself a day off on my 100th straight day. I need to make sure it's now a habit. This book has really helped the process. I'd gone out and bought some gear but felt really disillusioned at the running bling on offer. There's a crazy amount of crap on the shelves and I just wanted to run through my local countryside. Then I found this book. Richard Askwith recounts his story and running r I only recently decided to start running and have ran every day since. Probably not healthy but have promised myself a day off on my 100th straight day. I need to make sure it's now a habit. This book has really helped the process. I'd gone out and bought some gear but felt really disillusioned at the running bling on offer. There's a crazy amount of crap on the shelves and I just wanted to run through my local countryside. Then I found this book. Richard Askwith recounts his story and running realisations beautifully. I know the area he mostly writes about and the countryside round me, although flatter, had me unwittingly reflecting his adventures as I read the book. A great Inspirational read that with remind you how to always find the moment. To continue to see things a fresh. Especially when surrounded by nature.

  30. 4 out of 5

    George

    I really enjoyed 95% of this book. It was eloquent and poetic when it needed to be, informative and immersive in other sections. Opening each chapter with a tale of a run of his own might have made this book a bit repetitive and dull, but Askwith always coloured in the details enough to be interesting from each chapter to the next. His negative view on 'high tech' trainers (or to normal runners, trainers) was a bit of a nuisance, as was his opinion on Tough Mudder style races but I very much can I really enjoyed 95% of this book. It was eloquent and poetic when it needed to be, informative and immersive in other sections. Opening each chapter with a tale of a run of his own might have made this book a bit repetitive and dull, but Askwith always coloured in the details enough to be interesting from each chapter to the next. His negative view on 'high tech' trainers (or to normal runners, trainers) was a bit of a nuisance, as was his opinion on Tough Mudder style races but I very much can see the reasoning behind his derision due to the commercialisation of something which should be easy and free. The book through up quite a few interesting opinions which contrast with my own and whilst I didn't agree with some of these, Askwith was always detailed and genial enough for it to seem like a chat down the pub, not a fist-fight on the internet.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.