Two disclaimers, before I start this review :

  1. I have been a HUGE fan of Nick Butter ever since I read his account of being the first person to run a marathon in every country. I reviewed “Running the World” here, in fact. He is a young man for whom I have the utmost respect. Meaning I set out with the intention of loving the book 🙂
  2. I listened to “Run Britain” as an audio book. But I can still review it, can’t I? This will be my first audio-book review, by the way.

Having got those 2 little bits and bobs out of the way, let me say that I (obviously!) absolutely loved this audio book, which I listened to while on my own v-e-r-y slow and v-e-r-y modest runs in my local Delhi park.

Nick Butter is a natural story teller, with a keen eye for detail and human quirks, and his account of attempting to be the fastest person to run round the entire British coastline is a huge adventure and is a fun read.

It is also a crazy inspiring read, because of…gosh, where do I start?

The distance.

The time involved.

The challenge of running 2 marathons a day in order to cover the distance.

The fact that he broke 2 bones, but just battled the pain.

The challenges and the sheer overwhelming logistics involved, never mind the injury and sickness set-backs, would have seen off most people. but Nick, wonderful Andy who drives “the council van” and looks after Nick day in day out for over 4 months, his partner Nikki, their adorable dog Poppy and a whole host of lovely folk who come and go – they all combine forces and make this amazing achievement happen.

It really is against all odds.

Nick has an affectionate way of describing the people he meets along the way, most of whom seem genuinely kind and lovely, though there is the odd pain in the neck.

He is lyrical in his descriptions of the British coastline, and as he runs, his love for the country is clear.

He never takes himself too seriously, happy to describe frequently getting lost, being grumpy and ungracious at times, how he looks after weeks of no showering and wearing the same old sweaty clothes day after day after day. He is funny, candid and brutally honest about himself.

I was simultaneously egging him on to the finish line, while dreading the end of the book. I had become totally immersed in this journey.

The description of Nick’s final run, as he closes the loop after running 5,250 miles, is emotional and yes, reader, I cried.

Trotting through my Delhi park in the brutal summer heat, I wept with emotion for a young man I don’t know running along a beach in Cornwall to the finish line of a truly extraordinary adventure.

I think it was actually all the more moving, listening to Nick telling his story in his own voice, rather than reading the printed words.

I loved the fact that he intersperses Andy’s diary entries (read by Andy) at certain points in the story, meaning we see both sides of things. Andy is nothing short of a hero, for supporting Nick through a punishing challenge.

Super fun read/listen.

Highly recommended.

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