Monthly Archives: May 2012

A new review of Keep On Running – from crime-writer Peter Lovesey

“Keep on Running: The Highs and Lows of a Marathon Addict”, by Phil Hewitt, published by Summersdale Publishers, 46, West Street, Chichester, PO19 1RP, http://www.summersdale.com, cost £8.99. More than any other event, the marathon has inspired fine writing, and this outstanding book comes with endorsements from Jo Pavey (“A beautiful description of one man’s passion for the open road”) and Liz Yelling (“A wonderful and frank view of a first-time-marathoner-turned-running-addict”). The writer is the arts editor of several Sussex newspapers who freely admits that he has never troubled the likes of Gebrselassie and never will; indeed, his best time in some twenty-five marathons is 3:20:25. Yet as an insight into what it means to run the great courses, setting his own goals and finding joy in the most unpromising conditions, Phil Hewitt’s book pleased me as much as anything I’ve read since the classic Testament of a Runner, by W.R.Loader (1960). “I thought of the distance we had just run and I thought of what we had achieved in covering it. This is the way the common man smashes Shane Warne back over his head to bring up a triple century at Lords: this is the way we mortals smash home that FA Cup-winning penalty. This is the way we become heroes – if only to ourselves. Sporting glory is there for the taking every time you line up at the start of a marathon – and that’s the seduction.” London, New York, Paris, Amsterdam and Rome are there with lesser known courses, like the aptly-named Steyning Stinger over the Sussex Downs and “mud you could drown in” on the Clarendon Way from Salisbury to Winchester. As a writer, Phil Hewitt never stumbles. After all, this is a book about repeatedly flogging oneself for 26.2 miles, yet never once does he repeat himself. Each chapter is a fresh discovery, an inspiring insight into what it means to be dedicated to this exacting event. It is intimate, honest, entertaining and superbly written. “I was drunk on the whole damned thing, as drunk as I have ever been. It’s a world I love right from the nipple plasters through to the blackened toenails, right from the misery of the lonely long-distance training run to the adrenalin surge of the big-city finishing line.” Peter Lovesey

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So pleased you’re liking it!

I always knew that runners were great people. Now I’ve got proof positive, following the publication of my new book, Keep On Running (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Keep-Running-Highs-Marathon-Addict/dp/1849532362/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1335715601&sr=1-1)

It’s the story of my 25-plus marathons around the world – a tale of trying your hardest, “screwing your courage to the sticking place” as Lady Macbeth so delicately puts it, and pushing on.

It’s the story of motivation and a bit of madness, pursuing a goal, occasionally getting there and often coming a cropper.

As such, it’s a highly-personal tale – a bit self-obsessed, a little bit in my own bubble. And as such, I must admit I was a bit nervous when it first came out.

After all, we’d all rather remain ignorant of someone’s opinion than know that they don’t like you or your work, wouldn’t we? Well, I would.

But it’s been a fantastic journey in itself since “pub day”, as my publishers so quaintly call it – the day the book hit the streets in the way that I have been hitting them for years.

A fantastic journey because the response has been so overwhelmingly positive. Well, apart from the snotty runner who told me I couldn’t possibly consider myself addicted to marathons unless I’d run a couple of hundred.

The great news is that his snarliness has been the exception. The lovely thing is that people seem to have tapped into what I was hoping to get across – namely that running, however much it hurts, however much it occasionally disappoints, is simply the most gobsmackingly, joyously liberating thing open to man.

It hardly matters that the vast majority of us aren’t exactly knocking on the door of Olympic qualification. What matters far more is the pleasure that we get out of going for a run – the pleasure that keeps us coming back.

Even if a marathon goes wrong, then we’ll be back to put things right. If a marathon goes well, equally we’ll be back for more in the hope of making good even better.

Addicted? Well, yes. But addicted to something which brings happiness; something which relieves stress far more than it ever creates it; something which makes us all much more balanced, rounded people.

Do you spend your day fighting off hundreds of emails? Trying to fight back the tidal wave of work which seems forever on the point of washing you away?

Go for a run, and you’ve reclaimed your you time; you’re human again; stretch yourself, and you might even believe you’re superhuman.

And I hope – and I believe – that these are some of the things people are finding in my book. I want to fire up the non-runners; I want to over-excite the excited runners; and I want to reinvigorate the jaded runners (like me, just a bit, just recently, alas!)

Which is why I am so chuffed at the response I have got.

Here are a few comments I have had on Twitter:

hi phil, just wanted to say that it thought your book was great, really enjoyed it.

Already halfway through @marathon_addict book. Compiling a list of marathons, even more gutted to have missed out in the NYC ballot.

@marathon_addict I’m currently reading your book and it could me, except 35 when I started running. 2 halfs so far. Great read.

@marathon_addict Reading your book 🙂 Really enjoying it!!

And here are my two five-star reviews on Amazon:

5.0 out of 5 stars A runner’s must-read, 7 April 2012

With my first marathon coming up in 2 weeks time (the London Marathon 2012) I had this book on pre-order when I saw it was coming out, hoping it would bring me inspiration!

I’ve just finished reading it today and I think it is a great read for all marathon runners and aspiring marathon runners! I really enjoyed reading about the ups and downs of Phil Hewitt’s 23 marathons around the world. He talks frankly about his awful marathons and inspirationally about his great ones. He really gives an insight into what can be experienced over 26.2 miles and before and after a marathon. There are some photographs on the inside front and back covers (8 in total) and I would have liked to have seen more, but it’s not a big issue. He has been to a number of big city marathons but he’s also done more unusual and smaller marathons which are really interesting to read about.

It’s an easy and enjoyable read that I’m sure would appeal to all runners. If you’re not already signed up to run a marathon then this book will make you want to, even after reading about Phil’s worst experiences! Highly recommended!

5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant motivation, 6 April 2012

This book is brilliant. I have never reviewed anything on Amazon before but felt this book was worth it. It will make you want to enter a marathon today. If you have one on the horizon, as I do (VLM 2012), then it will raise your excitement levels sky high.

Ah yes, runners are wonderful people. Mwah! Mwah! I love you all!