I live in Bristol UK literary fiction and crime are my books of choice and when not reading I like to run
I have been a runner for some 40 years and still find great enjoyment from this singular activity. Being a member of a running club and competing in half marathons throughout the year still holds a great addiction for me. I can understand totally how and why the author of this book is so enthralled by this simple pleasure yet I could not help but feel that the story is in some ways an attempt for him to "cash" in on this popular pastime. His book does contain some great running moments; in the opening pages he is adrift and isolated in Scandinavia and the 5am run never felt so good. His descriptive prose of his early morning running in this silent desolate landscape is what really is at the heart of running...."a blood-orange sun rising above an expanse of dazzling white sand and lush marshland. Beyond the mossy green acres was the icy blue Baltic Sea...."
So much of the book is given over to naming the great ie Colin Jackson, Jo Pavey, Richard Nerurkar, Sally Gunnell and allowing them the opportunity to expound on their running stories. Vassos Alexander makes great play out of the fact that running is a simple sport enjoyed with limited resources and therefore accessible to all. However his privileged position allows him the means and opportunity to make use of all types of specialized training, physios and medical practitioners something that is out of the reach of most of the ordinary running population.
I am not saying this is a bad book it is quite enjoyable but nothing special. For the true meaning and spirit of running I would recommend that you read James Fixx "The Complete Book of Running", Charlie Spedding's excellent "From last to first: How I became a Marathon Champion" (his winning of a bronze medal at the LA Olympics never really received the praise it deserved.), Richard Asquith's outstanding biography of Emil Zatopek "Today we die a little: The rise and fall of Emil Zatopek"