Inspirational running stories

Charlotte Hall is a member of the Green Heart Runners and will soon be able to support me in developing and growing the club when she becomes qualified as an England Athletics Run Leader. Charlotte has interests and skills in many different outdoor pursuits, but I only recently discovered her flair for writing book reviews! Here are reviews of two books by two some amazing women. Big thank you to Charlotte for writing these reviews and for sharing on my blog!

Injured or lost your running mojo? Well, pop the kettle on and settle in, I have two book recommendations that’ll get you hyped for a run.

The first is Lizzie Hawker’s Runner: A short story about a long run. Lizzie is a down to earth person whose career in running started and continues with just a passion for pushing herself outside of her comfort zone, and for spending quality time in the mountains. She comments many times about the fact that she isn’t really a runner (put it this way she wouldn’t necessarily nerd out about split times and the latest shoes). However, a runner she most certainly is when you learn more about her running endeavours. She is a long-distance runner whose career started when she attempted an ultra, which entered as something to do to celebrate completing her PhD. In this race she achieved first woman home. However, this wasn’t just any ultra, this was ‘The Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc’ (approx. 10,000 metres of ascent and decent over 155 km that loops around Mont Blanc).

She has since won this race five times, in addition to holding the world record for 24 hours road running. However, my favourite of her adventures was running from Base Camp on Mount Everest to Kathmandu; which she has now done a total of three times just to figure out why she is drawn to running so far. This book describes each of her running adventures in such a way that you feel like you’re there with her willing her onwards.

Overall, she writes in such a humble way and her running achievements are so incredible that her story can be described as nothing but hugely inspiring.

Lizzie Hawker’s website

The next book by Chrissie Wellington ‘A Life Without Limits: A World Champion’s Journey’ comes with a warning: I completely devoured it. I originally listened to the audiobook version whilst on runs which consequently meant that my runs got longer and longer and much more frequent. Chrissie is the world’s number one female Ironman triathlete who holds four world champion titles, world records and since has been awarded an MBE. However, this is by no means a book only for current or wannabe triathletes. In it Chrissie eloquently tells her incredible journey starting from what she describes as a sporty but a jack of all trades and accident-prone child (her nickname is Muppet), then through an exciting period travelling as a sustainable development advocate, and finally she gives an incredibly honest account into the ups and downs that it takes to become a world champion. In the book you enter each race with her (amazed at how she continues to have a beaming smile on her face the whole way around) and remain enthralled from every start to each finish line.

Immense sporting achievements aside, one of the most admiring traits of Chrissie is her genuine empathy. She commits a whole chapter to celebrating the people that she calls ‘The heroes of Ironman’: the recreational athletes that she says are hugely humbling and inspiring to stand on the start line with. It is these same athletes that after completing every race she stays to cheer and support until the very last competitor crosses the finish line. In this vein, Chrissie sees her sporting achievements as an opportunity to make lasting positive change. In her own words ‘Champions come and go, but to me the real judge of my success will be whether I actually do something positive with the opportunities I have been given’.

In summary, Chrissie is a very charismatic and endearing character whose dedication and endurance are mesmerising, and her story is written so beautifully that you can’t help but be inspired.

Chrissie Wellington’s website

If you have any comments, other running book recommendations, or a book review to share, please get in touch e: Charlotte.l.hall453@gmail.com

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