Wednesday 13 March 2024

The Race Against Time

Adventures in Late-Life Running
Author: Richard Askwith
ISBN: 978178729525
Hi Everyone

Every time I go away on holiday, I have to purchase a new book. It is a tradition that cannot be denied. Of course, I am amongst other things a 'runner'. I have been since I was 10 years old and I will be for as long as my body allows. 

This book caught my eye because Richard Askwith was asking the question "Why do some runners seem to be untroubled by age?" I don't know about anyone else, but I am finding that the people around me and the internet have a belief that the older we get the more we should sit on the couch and admit defeat. Take a look at mid-life on any platform and you will find a few that say "go for it" while the rest say things like: don't do cardio you will gain weight; cardio will up your cortisol (well so will sitting around eating the cake that I do instead of running); exercise this much or that much or this little.

NO! I'm done with all this nonsense.

Running and in fact any form of exercise, is the best way for me to de-stress. I wish I had known this about myself years ago as the world around me got busier. I tried to slow down - people told me I should - they were wrong. 

Get outside and run! If you can't (we aren't all born to run) then walk, skip, hop, dance. The options are endless, just find the things that light you up like they did as a child. And stop with all the 'I need to exercise antics"..... call it "Play" like you did as a child. It is all the same thing but if you call it "play" then it is much more enjoyable.

Anyway, this book is full of examples of people continuing to run way beyond the expected:
  • Angela Coson, winning another gold at seventy-five
  • Charles Allie, running 400m in under a minute on the eve of his seventy-fifth birthday
  • Alan Carter, racing to world championship gold at eighty-one
And how about Ilda Keeling, 104 pictured doing press-ups at 104 years of age.

Come on, don't use the I'm too old to start excuse either. Many of the people in this book started running in mid-life.  I tell you this book is inspirational in many ways. I am impressed by the easy-reading language, the photos, and both Richard Askwith's journey and the people he met along the way as he sought to find the answer to his questions.


Richard Adkwith, a long-term running enthusiast, was sunk in mid-life despair. Plagued by injuries and demoralized by failing strength and speed, he was on the point of giving up for good. first, though, he wanted to solve the mystery: why do some runners seem to be untroubled by age?

The result is a thrilling life-affirming quest, culminating in a transformative adventure at the World Masters Athletics Championships. Colourful, informative and inspiring, The Race Against Time offers a resounding message of hope for any runner who has felt their joy in their sport fading as they grow older.

It is a story of cold science and heartwarming resilience; of champions and also-rans; of sprinting centenarians and forty-something super-athletes barely touched by age. Its heroes are experts and enthusiasts - scientists, coaches, runners - from many countries, each with a different story to tell. What unites them is a belief that you don't have to take growing old lying down.
This is a book for anyone who has ever felt the healing power of running. A moving account of one man's journey from despair to hope, it is also an exhilarating guide, showing how timely adjustments to lifestyle and training can slow the effects of aging, while sheer human spirit can, if you are lucky, keep you running happily and healthily, all the way through life's later decades. 

About the author:

Richard Askwith has been a journalist for over forty years. He has written six previous books, including his modern classic on fell running, 'Feet in the Clouds', which won the Best New Writer category at the British Sports Book Awards and was shortlisted for the William Hill and Boardman Tasker prizes. He is now one of the UK's most celebrated writers on sport. 'Running Free' was short-listed for the Thwaites-Wainwright Prize, and his evocative biography of Emil Zatopek, Today We Die a Little, was shortlisted in the Cross Sports Book Awards. 

Happy reading

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