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4.6 out of 5 stars136
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 16 June 2004
My expectations for this book were quite low, anticipating yet another “unfit journalist tackles extreme sport/ epic adventure, suffers humiliation but finally emerges triumphant in the game of life” type yarn.
I was wrong! Firstly Richard Askwith is an exceptional writer (he’s a journalist on The Independent newspaper) with a beautifully vivid and entertaining style. Secondly he’s really done his research and backs this up with fifteen years involvement in the sport. Thirdly, and most importantly, he obviously loves this mad sport of fell running with a passion and this gives his book a depth and warmth and integrity. Sports writing at its best. Highly recommended !
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on 10 April 2005
I am a keen reader and was brought up in the lakes and watched the fell races as a child.
This book grabs you and makes you want to be able to run these events.They show the side of sport that most never see,the sheer enjoyment of the elements and the respect shown for all competitors not just the winner.
Yet the tales of the elite should be read by all ,they are an example to all of what can be achieved.
Read it and you get hooked,I've done the auld land syne race he mentioned at the end and said never ,ever again,but the book inspires you to try again.
Read this book or you are missing out.
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on 8 August 2005
With an interest in the outdoors, walking, running and the Lake District this book seemed to have it all for me.
I quickly found myself dragged into Askwith's world as he questions himself & his ability, and in doing so relects on the 'sport' and characters of fell running, and endurance racing.
I'd already started recommending this book before I'd even finished. The author vocalises thoughts that most of us outdoor junkies have had at one time or another, but that normally are unspoken.
I've not had such a good read of a (nominally) "sports" book since Joe Simpson's 'Touching The Void' which I first met many years ago.
This is a completely different type of subject matter, and intensity, but has a similar been there, done it, and come back feel of it that bundles the reader along in an understanding of the joys involved, especially during the down times.
Heartily recommended.
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on 2 January 2005
If you wanted a gentle retirement do not read this book!
I am a keen walker, having completed 184 of the Lakeland peaks (only 30 to go). My most notable achievement is the Lakeland 3000s. I have enjoyed doing more than Wainwright advised.
At the age of 44 I was looking forward to a gentle wind down. Then a friend (?) got me this book for Christmas. It is gripping reading, but not just for the pleasure of the read itself. It has reminded me of the freedom of the fells and the points at which we are most alive. The Fells are not appreciated most for the pretty views, but by being immersed in them, and the way to do this is to run in them
And the sport of fell running has not been tainted by commercialism or competition. Just to finish a race is success. And no one has egos on the fells.
The most striking chapter concerned a race in which the weather was appalling. One competitor of 38 completed the course. But all had succeeded in making the right judgement to abort the race when they judged conditions were too severe for them. Fell running requires taking responsibility for yourself, which in this age of the Nanny-State is a refreshing change.
One final point. Richard is not a champion fell runner. He is in awe of the greats (like Joss Naylor and Billy Bland). But his achievements in middle age put most of us to shame. He puts this across with great modesty, and as I read I was willing him to succeed. But he is no elite athlete and what he has done I could do too.....
A must read for anyone who loves the hills and wants to understand the crazy individuals who run them
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on 13 July 2004
It was a real treat for me, a fell runner for over twenty years, to read about the runs and characters of the sport. But this book is beautifully written and will be enjoyed by those who previously had little knowledge of, or interest in, running over the wild places of Britain.
The best book I've read for ages - it should win prizes.
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on 15 June 2004
I wouldn't normally have picked up a book on fell running but a friend recommended it and I was so glad they did. From the moment I started I was hooked as Askwith takes the reader on a roller coaster of a breathless ride through endurance in the name of sport. The characters and "heroes" along the way are fascinating. Thanks for a great read.
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on 24 October 2004
I've never read any sports books before, but this is truly inspiring and more. Whether you're a hardened fell runner and know all the names from the lakes, like running in the hills, or you're injured and can't get out at the moment, this will make you want to get out there.
As well as having some great accounts of races and feats, past and present, you get to meet all the big characters, the history of all off-road running, and a feel for a year of racing, in an enjoyable structure. Through this he also gives a great comment on social history of these regions, and an understanding of the strengths and failings of all of British sport. He brilliantly describes in non-cliched ways, the thrills of running and why we all do it, and why the sport is growing on the background of a changing, risk-free and inactive society
It has everything from humour, thrills, history, philosophy and humanity.
Get it, even if you don't run (yet)
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on 9 September 2004
I've run for nearly 25 years and have been running on the hills for most of those. Unfortunately (as these things go) I'm no longer as fleet of foot as I used to be but this book was both a nostalgia trip and an inspiration. My only criticism was that it focussed on Lakeland fell running but despite that Askwith recognises that there are far more stories from elsewhere in the UK - Scottish Hill running only warrants a tale of the Ben Nevis race and brief accounts of some of the classic "rounds".
Once you've read this, Hugh Symonds' "Running High" would be a natural follow on.
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on 22 January 2007
A great read that switches between fell running history, a year in the fell running calendar, and the authors own attempts at the Bob Graham Round.

I'm currently training for my first marathon, but reading the exploits in this book puts the whole thing in perspective - it's a walk in the park compared to some of the challenges covered here. A great incentive to get out and train!..
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on 15 August 2009
I picked up this book from the library (sorry Amazon) because I enjoy hiking and running. Both are demanding in their own right and I've always had an awed respect for the individuals who combine the two in fell running.

The book exceeded my expectations. Essentially it has 4 strands:

1) Scenes from the fell running year - following the progress of the British fell running circuit and its regulars over 12 months

2) The history of British fell running

3) Profiles of and interviews with great British fell runners of the 20th and 21st century

4) The author's own 15 year love affair with the sport, including his efforts to complete the Bob Graham round: 42 Lakeland peaks in under 24 hours.

Richard Askwith's passion for this incredible and exhilirating sport resonates off the page. Reading the book gives you a true sense of the beauty of the fells, the physical exhaustion and exhiliration of fell running, and the steely determination, navigational skill and simple love of the outdoors that characterises its participants.

I've tried to read several other books about running and runners, but the passion of the sport somehow seems dead on the page. Feet in the Clouds is set apart by how beautifully it is written and the infectious allure of Askwith's love of fell running. I found myself deeply moved by this book. I will confess that as I read the last few chapters I even cried. In public. It's that good.
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