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How Not To Run: A Journey to the Roof of the World By Shauney Watson

Release date: 16th January, 2019
Publisher: Pitch Publishing

List Price: 12.99
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As we career towards ‘Blue Monday’, allegedly the gloomiest day of the year (21 January), so the virtual and actual bookshelves of on- and offline retailers groan under the weight of books dealing with personal fitness and how we can improve it.

Many of these publications hold great motivational appeal, but ultimately, if you want to join in, you must first want to make the effort and commit to not discarding your brand new training kit before the end of March. Regrettably, far too many ‘new year resolutionists’ call it a day within three months.

However, if you’re engaged in a continuous ‘should I, shouldn’t I’ conversation with yourself and dislike the standard, photo-filled inspirational message that bellows from so many fitness titles, you may prefer to read about someone else who was inspired, who calls her book How Not To Run which opens with several references to the joy of drinking rum and Coke.

Shauney Watson would probably describe herself as a ‘weekend runner’, someone who ran in order to improve her poise when riding her horse, who became a lover of marathons, ultra-marathons and trail races after wanting to do something for ex-servicemen and women affected by PTSD.

Propelled by the rashness of youth, Watson signs up for the Loch Ness marathon. She trains, remains disciplined, raises money for Combat Stress and completes the race, after which she encounters ‘post-marathon blues’, a psychological void suffered by many who have been focused on completing their first 26-mile race. The only thing to do is start concentrating on a fresh challenge: how about the Mount Everest Marathon?

What follows is an endearing tale of Watson driving herself on despite a series of almost inevitable setbacks and, on occasion, indifferent preparation.

A turning point arrives when she decides to race the 55 miles between Glasgow and Edinburgh having previously run no further than 31 miles. It’s a torrid trip, but with a fellow racer, Watson makes it to the Scottish capital’s outskirts, a moment of pure joy when she experiences the ‘bubble’ for the first time. The bubble, we discover, is “that state you find yourself in when pushing your body to its limit and holding it there…”

New year resolutionists, take note.


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