Run Wild, by Boff Whalley
Sunday 17 March 2013
Raised as a Mormon in Burnley before going on to found an anarcho-punk band (Chumbawamba), Boff Whalley must be used to questioning accepted norms, and his target here is urban running in general and big-city marathons in particular.
Why put up with the regimented herding, traffic pollution and possible knee problems inherent in pounding along metalled roads, when by heading for the country runners can enjoy an infinite variety of terrain and scenery, he asks. Most people run marathons to feel a sense of achievement but find the actual experience far from pleasant, he argues. In his view there is much more enjoyment to be had off-track, not only physically but emotionally, as his approving quotations from back-to-nature writers such as Ralph Waldo Emerson make clear.
None of these ideas are new, of course, as the author acknowledges: in recent years Christopher McDougall's classic Born to Run has explored the atavistic pleasures of running in the wilderness without the dubious aid of hi-tech trainers, while Richard Askwith's Feet in the Clouds celebrates Whalley's particular enthusiasm, fell running.
But this quirky, discursive and often amusing recollection of decades on the run around the world while playing in a band is a welcome addition to the genre, and by the end Whalley has made a highly persuasive case that his way, not the highway, is the only sensible path to take.
Published in paperback by Simon & Schuster, £8.99
GlastonburyWI to make debut appearance at Somerset festival
TV reviewIt has taken seven episodes for Game of Thrones season five to hit its stride
FilmPalme d'Or goes to radical and astonishing film that turns conventional thinking about immigrants on its head
Potter's attempt to create an Essex Taj Mahal was a lovely treattv
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Cyclist who knocked down three-year-old girl says his life has been 'destroyed'
- 2 Chelsea victory parade: Chelsea mocked on Twitter as 'tens of fans' pack the streets of London
- 3 US warned by Chinese media to stop meddling or 'war will be inevitable'
- 4 Woman, 21, dies after taking contraceptive pill that 'caused fatal blood clot'
- 5 Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
Stolen Instagram photo sells for $90,000
The New York Times sparks criticism after releasing an all-white reading list
Glastonbury lineup 2015: The Women's Institute to make debut appearance at Somerset festival
Dheepan, film review: Palme d'Or prize goes to radical and astonishing film that turns conventional thinking about immigrants on its head
Game of Thrones, The Gift, Season 5, Episode 7: Why two of the show’s most iconic characters just met
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
SNP fury as HS2 finds 'no business case' for taking fast train service to Scotland
EU referendum: David Cameron's rules are a 'democratic disgrace', says French-born Scottish politician set to be denied a vote
A nation of inequality: How the UK is failing to feed its most vulnerable people