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Customer Review

Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 31 May 2018
As someone who has had a running problem for nearly 40 years, I have read many books "about running by runners". Jonny's book arguably deals with a rather esoteric backwater of the sport, that of running up and down hills and mountains in Scotland, where sports brands, sponsorship and media exposure have no meaning and the raw realities of topography, flora and fauna and above all the Scottish weather move to the front of the stage.
This is running in the raw where simple survival can never be taken totally for granted.
Hill and Fell runners will devour the book as it gives fascinating insights into the exploits of their contemporaries who have achieved great things. Mainstream sports fans will never have heard of "Monarch of the Glen" Finlay Wild or the glass-ceiling smashing Jasmin Paris, but Jonny's unique access to athletes such as these results in chapters that are definitely not just for the insider.
If the book has a central theme, it is the Ramsey's Round, a circuit of mountain tops in the Highlands of Scotland that starts and finishes at Glen Nevis Youth Hostel, with a completion target of under 24 hours. Many of the interviews that feature in the book deal with runners who have tackled this monster, and describe the conditions they had to deal with. Jonny himself eventually joins the very exclusive club of completers and thus the author's insights become all the more relevant. (The semi-autobiographical thread is one of the book's great strengths.)
This is no encyclopedia of rounds, results and runners though. Jonny earns his living as a writer, and hill running is his hobby (obsession?). There are many passages that I read again. In places the book has a literary quality, not unlike Mike Cudahy's hard to find "Wild Trails to Far Horizons", that has its central theme the author's attempts to achieve the fastest completion of the 268 mile Pennine Way. Jonny is able to deal with lives of ordinary people with an extraordinary hobby with just the right tone, a feat he repeats in dealing sensitively with death in the hills in what must have been an extraordinarily difficult chapter to write.
So if Scotland, the Highlands, running, or even sports generally, interest you you will enjoy this book.
If you like proper Scottish weather and all that means in the outdoors there is also plenty to feast on here.
I'm now off to download Jonny's other books to my Kindle!
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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5
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