Running and Stuff a review

The other day I had the misfortune to read a post on Facebook about the relative merits of a particular brand of bike wheel. The details are lost on me regarding anything connected to bikes. I'm just not interested. I also believe that the moment when you find yourself spending more time buying, maintaining, comparing and talking about the gear that you need for your hobby than the time you spend actually doing it, wellwell you're missing the point. Surely.

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So this book immediately struck a chord with me. Despite it's title it is not about stuff. For now, at least, club running is still relatively unpolluted by the vapid mindset of those who think that a) they can buy their way to a faster personal best and b) it's even vaguely interesting to anyone else which brand of super sleek socks they are wearing as they do so. Like most in the world of ultra running, James Adams just gets on with it. There is a complete lack of pretension about the remarkable running feats that Adams had accomplished. Of course, he would be the first to say that there is nothing remotely remarkable about his achievements in the races and events that he has battled and sworn his way through. But I'd disagree. What is notable is the fact that this very ordinary runner, with very ordinary talents has continued where many others simply cannot find the will to. Perhaps this is his secret: there are many passages in which his suffering seems not to be something that has to be contained and fought with, but rather something that he accepts and gives into by continuing to move forwards one step at a time.

And so it is with this message that the book brims with humour and life. This is not a 'how to' book. You won't find detailed accounts of training, nutrition or equipment. There is no agenda or proselytising here. Instead we are left with a series of well-written accounts of the stuff that running long distances does to a person. There are glimpses here of the way in which ultra distance events both strip you away and also build you at one and the same time. There are glimpses here of the brutal magic of running through the second consecutive night without sleep. And there are glimpses of the way in which Adams has seemingly refused to take himself seriously. He openly admits that part of his motivation for ultra events is so that he has better stories to tell. He's successful. And entertaining they are too.

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Posted in Home Post Date 12/03/2020






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