Cover Image: Running Tracks

Running Tracks

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Member Reviews

As someone who recently started running more consistently but had to stop due to covid, this helped with my sense of overwhelm because I felt like I was starting again after not being well. It was great to read about someone’s relationship to running and I’d recommend. I think this would have been a good audio!
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A really fun and humours look at running. The perfect Christmas gift for friends and family who have discovered the joy of running the pandemic!
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An interesting exploration of the authors love of running and music. Their enthusiasm really shines through the text. The writing is filled with humour.  This book would be of interest to anybody who loved Murakami's on running.  It would make a great gift for music fans and for those who love running.
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The subtitle of this book is: ‘The playlist and places that make me  runner’, which sums up the book nicely. 

I like Rob Deering, I like running and I know a little bit about the charity work he’s done around raising money and running. He talks a little bit about this in the book, of course. He raises money primarily for Parkinsons. More about it here, if you want to read a bit more:

Thank you to Unbound for the digital review copy, I was keen to read it for all of the reasons above.
This was not a long read and I fairly cantered through the chapters, laid out nicely in a kind of marathon mile by mile format. It’s what I would call a ‘chatty’ book - you can hear Rob talking you through it. I thought that maybe this would be good as a podcast/audiobook as there could be the songs included that he’s talking about too. I found that to be one downside - if I knew the song he was describing I was right there with him on every beat, sprinting down the finish line. If not, I had no idea. I’m sure there is a playlist available - there is a comprehensive appendix which lists all of the songs referenced so I could make my own running tracks, if I wanted to. 

After running for a decade and being fortunate enough to have completed 20+ marathons as well as countless half, 10ks, 10miles and parkruns, Rob’s descriptions of the races and the training he did really resonated with me. I love how passionate he is about listening to music when running - there is a school of thought and, let’s be honest, a few runners, who are sniffy about blocking out the pain of running. Music can get you over that line, real or imaginary. I have cried on long runs when a particularly meaningful or poignant song has reached me via  my headphones. I have also laughed out loud when an appropriate song blasts through on the shuffle, almost like my ipod is sentient and can sense that I really needed to hear Jason Donovan’s ‘love’ song about too many hearts being broken. I’ve listened to music on race courses where it’s heavy on the drums and it pounds through your heart, motivating you to run on. I’ve also listened to ‘Highway to Hell’ in the middle of Paris marathon, cursing the organisers for their hilarious japes. My point is, do what you need to do to make training more fun and by gum if that’s blasting The Orb through your music device, then do it. 

Rob’s description of his running journey is an impressive one, where he himself admits that he is naturally a pretty fast runner. He seems to fairly effortlessly reach 90minute half marathon times and nigh on nearly 3hour marathon times, although I have to say that this is not without training and heartache - he absolutely puts the work in, he just seems to be naturally able (a favourite runner to know). Having not reached these times and fairly unlikely to, it was a bit galling to read about that, although I think that’s to do with my own place and not his. 

Another thing that struck me was that Rob’s routes were so beautifully described - and so lonely. Reading those I was sad that I would never be able to run those as he does, simply because I’m a woman on her own. Having recently been assaulted on a run which left me with a broken elbow as well as some deep bruising and cuts, I am now warier than ever about running past men I don’t know, and certainly on my own. One of the most common questions I have been asked when I describe the assault is ‘What time was that?”.  Never does Rob mention that he was worried about going on his own in the dark, in the rain, on a route he wasn’t sure of and in a place he hadn’t been to before. I literally can’t do that. Again, this is absolutely nothing to do with Rob, and reading about the routes he’s completed along cliffs and through woods, down one side of a canal and back, was great and so descriptive. I wouldn’t have expected him to have mentioned that he is privileged to be able to do this, by virtue of being a white male. 

Ultimately though, I liked this and have been inspired to prepare a bit of a running playlist for me, rather than the shuffle playlist I’ve had for years, or the latest audiobook I have queued up. I’d recommend it for both runners and those who want to start running, although it might inspire you to to do a marathon so be careful!

Thanks again to Unbound for the DRC and to Netgalley, as always.
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I'd never come across the comedian Rob Deering before, but the title and description of the book definitely intrigued me. Running and music, what's not to like. I'm a runner and I also love listening to music, although unlike Rob I don't do them both at the same time. Many years ago I used to, but after a couple of close shaves where I didn't hear a car I decided that running with music wasn't the best idea for me. Plus, my mp3 player got wet one day and stopped working.
Anyway, Running Tracks is split into 26 chapters, each one taking about 10 minutes to read. This isn't a book to sit down and read continuously as each chapter stands alone. Instead I would read a chapter to two each morning, a couple more on the train and maybe another late at night. The end of each chapter also has a recommendation for a similar run and a similar piece of music.
Rob is almost an accidental runner, but once he started running he found his true passion, alongside music. His career as a comedian has taken him all over the country so he is in the envious position of having run in loads of interesting places, and often completing a tourist parkrun while out on the road. His taste in music might not always gel with mine, too many banging beats while I prefer banging heavy metal, but music when running can provide a great lift. 
Rob is also a fairly accomplished runner, having completed the London marathon numerous times, raising thousands of pounds for Parkinson's UK. Funnily enough today is the London marathon, and I was saying to my lovely wife that maybe I should enter a big city marathon. I did enter London over 20 years ago, but was unsuccessful, so maybe I'll have better luck this time around.
Anyway, I really enjoyed Running Tracks and gave it a big thumbs up 5 out of 5.
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