Profile for Chirpy Les > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Chirpy Les
Top Reviewer Ranking: 2,961,068
Helpful Votes: 10

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
Chirpy Les

Show:  
Page: 1
pixel
Tea with Mr Newton: 100, 000 Miles - The Longest 'protest March' in History (Desert Island Athletics Histories)
Tea with Mr Newton: 100, 000 Miles - The Longest 'protest March' in History (Desert Island Athletics Histories)
by Rob Hadgraft
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A long way home, 7 July 2011
Let's be honest. Pre-war ultra-marathons weren't exactly a mass market competitive sport, and Rob Hadgraft may never outsell Rowling on this one.

But Arthur Newton is an intriguing character whose most famous legacy is the hugely successful Comrades Marathon between Durban and Pietermaritzburg. Anyone over the age of 38 can take heart from knowing that that's the age that Newton took up running. And boy, did he run - 25 miles a day in 1923 - the father of the long, slow distance, and awesomely fit into his late middle age.

Often a solitary runner, at first very shy and through his life always formal and reserved, a lifelong batchelor, there is something unknowable about Arthur Newton. What did go through his mind as he put in those vast distances and learnt how to suffer on the dusty roads?

Newton's original cause for running was a land dispute over native resettlement, and Hadgraft has a hard job to translate the cultural prejudices of pre-war South Africa for a modern audience. The reader may want to stick to the running - but the biographer does rightly leave you niggled that Newton's attitudes never changed with the times.

And so perhaps the most uplifting part is in Newton's advancing years. Happy to coach others to break his own records, delighted to see his sport thrive, a man of immense encouragement and hospitality. There's a vision for the well-lived sporting life.


How to Run: From Fun Runs to Marathons and Everything in Between: All You Need to Know About Fun Runs, Marathons and Everything in Between
How to Run: From Fun Runs to Marathons and Everything in Between: All You Need to Know About Fun Runs, Marathons and Everything in Between
by Paula Radcliffe
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: £11.24

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars To your marks ..., 7 July 2011
Perfect for someone training (say) for their first 10km race, stepping up to their first half marathon, or wanting to take a minute off their parkrun time. You should give it to your friend who has just got a place in the London Marathon. It is very clear, attractive, accessible and thorough. Excellent advice and some clear training tips and plans.

Just three thoughts:

1. We're a long way from Alf Tupper, grinding out grim miles on some northern moorland in the rain. This is the world of core stability, gym balls, sunshine in the Pyrenees, and a warm track in Lanzarote. The book does make it look appealing.

2. She is a stretchaholic. Paula Radcliffe honestly does do more stretching than running (almost). She is immensely fast, so the rest of us would do well to listen.

3. But a whole page on what to look for in a pair of running socks? Really?!


Mission Explore Camping
Mission Explore Camping
by Geography Collective
Edition: Paperback
Price: £4.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quirky spectacles on the world, 7 July 2011
Another nice little book in the series. Weird and wonderful mini-adventures, amusing little cartoons, and fifty little challenges to try. Camping yes, but most of them don't even need a tent, and you can do them in your park or garden.

Ages 4 to 10, everyone enjoyed Bug hotel (with a visitors' book) and Ice melt (how long can you keep your ice cube alive). Surely no-one will do all fifty, but everyone will find one or two to enjoy.

It isn't just froth. There is a philosophy behind Mission Explore, and it is to do with looking again at the local environment, taking time to notice and learn from little parts of the world, and having fun outdoors.

We're a long way from Marcel Proust, but it was Proust who said that we shouldn't see new landscapes, but see landscapes anew. Mission Explore would probably agree.


From Last to First: A long-distance runner's journey from failure to success
From Last to First: A long-distance runner's journey from failure to success
by Charlie Spedding
Edition: Hardcover

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fast runner, dry humour, 7 July 2011
Only a couple of comments to add.

1. Great title, but just to dampen it down very slightly, Charlie Spedding wasn't last for long! He does in all honesty have to delve quite deep into his pre-teen schooldays to find that phase of his stellar athletic career ...

2. It is very nicely written, with a lightness of touch and some lovely dry asides:

On an operation that nearly killed him:
He told me that he had never lost a patient, but for a moment he thought he was going to lose me. I found that all the medical staff preferred to talking about misplacing me, rather than say 'you nearly died.'

On abuse when he was out training:
I would often have cars tooting their horns at me, or pedestrians shouting little gems of wit and repartee along the lines of 'Get your knees up!' or 'Have you missed the bus?' Depending on my mood I would either ignore them, or simply indicate that I had two miles left to run.

A very enjoyable read. Should inspire anyone to string together 26.2 sub-five minute miles. Or at least, try.


Page: 1