Don't Stop me Now Vassos Alexander

Proof of RTTS breakfast reading

My lovely friend Cari sent me this in a parcel of books very recently – we’ve been reading friends for well over a decade and since she’s started running, running/reading friends, and there has always been a flow of books between us. Even though I have reading plans and challenges to do, given the circumstances of doing my first ultramarathon this past weekend, I pulled it from the shelves to take with me for that essential very-early-morning pep-talk read. And it worked well! So thank you, Vassos, for a great book which helped me through that morning and was fun recovery reading, too.

Vassos Alexander – “Don’t Stop me Now: 26.2 Tales of a Runner’s Obsession”

(05 July 2019: BookCrossing)

Based around the 26.2 miles of the marathon at the end of his first Ironman triathlon, one chapter per mile, and the frankly hideous time he had, explained by various errors he made, this also covers his journey into running and also pieces by different runners and their own stories, from Olympic medallists to a random man he collided with on a bridge and his own children. As a sports journalist he’s had access to some greats, and it’s lovely to see favourites there.

I hadn’t realised when I picked it up to take with me that he actually did Race to the Stones as his own first ultra, but when I did realise, I quickly leafed through to that section and gained some last minute inspiration, how lovely and appropriate was that? Talk about reading books in the place they’re set!

I really liked the honesty of both Alexander and his interviewees – from Donovan Bailey, the sprinter’s, new respect for endurance runners in the midst of hurt after a long run to Alexander’s own desperate toilet break (if there’s one thing runners love it’s a toilet story). I also liked his use of the well-known term “hangry” (crossly hungry) and the previously unknown “runpy” (lack of a run grumpy), the latter of which I am indeed right now myself.

An entertaining book, there are always new tricks of the trade to pick up or mistakes to avoid, and I liked the context of his work reporting on sports allowing him to run in all sorts of different places.