Owter is a new book service which helps authors get a better return on their book sales. I will be recommending good running and outdoor books via my page on the site.
The second is Jonny Muir’s ‘The Mountains are Calling’, in which he considers the origins of running in the hills, the beauty of it, and also the recent commercialisation of the sport (which definitely grates with him and some with whom he speaks). It fully justifies its longlisting for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year. When I reviewed it I described it thus:
The first point to make about Jonny Muir’s book is the clarity and quality of his writing. The book’s subject is ‘running in the high places of Scotland’ which gives him a huge scope, range and landscape to cover. It is significant that he lives in this environment, and runs in it, for pleasure and competition. But it is the people that he meets and their stories that give such a great counterpoint to his own experiences that fascinated me most. Muir Running through the narrative, but not dominating it, is the Charlie Ramsay Round, which he seems fated to attempt – and finally does. His chapter titles are well chosen and three will suffice to give both a feel for the subject (Mountain Madness) and yet Muir’s feeling for hill running (Beautiful Madness; and Epiphany).
Why not give it a read? It can be purchased directly (currently with £2 discount) at: https://owter.co/collections/all?page=2&aff=7
All three of my running books are also available from the same link (two also reduced).
I have had conversations with two friends with books out in May and June about that long wait from write/edit to publication, and the notion of feeling divorced from the whole process during that time. When researching it seems all consuming, in my case a seesaw of pleasure and pain, and signing off the proof can be some kind of relief.
When you see the end product there is the tangible pleasure of holding a book, and thinking how much of you it represents. You are then embroiled in the round of publicity that is absolutely necessary if you want to get the book known about, and hopefully purchased in decent numbers. Some find that easy to do, and others less so. You have decide for yourself how blatant your self-publicity should be, and accept being called a ‘media tart’ if you manage some spectacular paper, radio, or podcast appearance.
You want reviews to appear, but can’t bear the thought of a bad one. I still cringe inside when I think of the worst book review I have ever had:
If you want a copy of xxxxx, mine is in the bin at Geneva airport.
Actually I find it funny now, and often relay the story when talking on the subject.
It is even possible to lose your connection with your own work. One of the friends mentioned above recently said,
I haven’t really looked at it since receiving the hard copies. It seems surreal that I ever wrote it.
I have had similar feelings, but usually after a somewhat longer time has elapsed. I do know that something can come to me and I will want to refer back to one of books to get the story. This can produce two strange situations. Firstly, I might not be able to recall which book it was in (oh come on Steve, they are similar but not that much so!); or secondly, when I find it and re-read it I think, ‘did I really write that?’.
These thoughts have arisen because I have recently been mulling over the possibility of writing Book 4, and have been trying to write the synopsis. Possibly starting the long haul of another book also took me back to something I wrote earlier on this blog about finishing one of my earlier books [https://itsahill.wordpress.com/2015/05/26/when-is-a-book-finished/].
So, who were those two friends? Well, they have
written books on subjects very close to my heart.
Jonny Muir’s ‘The Mountains are Calling’ is (as I have noted elsewhere) written a lyrical style that brilliantly evokes the emotions one experiences in what Boff Whalley called running wild. It is the story of hill running in Scotland, ‘charting its evolution …. heralding its characters and the culture that has grown around them, ultimately capturing the irresistible appeal of running in high places.’ Jonny also writes a very entertaining blog.
Ken Field’s ‘Cartography.’ is (in publicity speak): ‘an inspiring and creative companion along the nonlinear journey toward making a great map. This sage compendium for contemporary mapmakers distills the essence of cartography into useful topics.’ I was critical friend, contributed a miniscule piece, and think it is a game changer. Ken also writes an interesting blog.
Over the three days before the book’s paperback publication there will be a Running Hard Blog Tour. Visit the blogs via the links below to find out more about the book, it’s author and how someone is planning on emulating Kenny and John’s training.
On Monday 16th October there will be three stops on the tour:
- Jonny Muir’s Heights of Madness blog has a guest post from me on the writing of Running Hard
- Ceris Jones discusses the design of the book cover (plus the other 2 in the fell running trilogy) with the designer, Heather
- Ed Price has written a review of the book on his blog
On Tuesday 17th October three further stops will be at:
- Steve Birkinshaw’s blog, where I have written a guest post on hard training (one of the book’s themes)
- The sabbatycle blog for a discussion between Dan Haw and I on Kenny Stuart and John Wild’s training methods and their applicability to a modern fell runner (Dan)
- Running legend Nicky Spinks’ blog for her review of the book
Finally, on Wednesday 18th October the last three stops on the tour will be:
- The Young Feller blog for a Q&A session between Cal Ferguson and I on running on the fells
- a review of the book by runner and author Moire O’Sullivan on her blog
- An extract from Running Hard on Ben Mounsey’s blog
The paperback version of Running Hard will be published on Thursday 19th October and can be obtained from all good bookshops and online at Amazon.
About the book
Running Hard: the story of a rivalry. Sandstone Press. Format: Paperback. ISBN: 9781910985946. Publication Date: 19/10/2017. RRP: £9.99
For one brilliant season in 1983 the sport of fell running was dominated by the two huge talents of John Wild and Kenny Stuart. Wild was an incomer to the sport from road running and track. Stuart was born to the fells, but an outcast because of his move from professional to amateur. Together they destroyed the record book, only determining who was top by a few seconds in the last race of the season. Running Hard is the story of that season, and an inside, intimate look at the two men.
About the author
Steve Chilton is a committed runner and qualified athletics coach with considerable experience of fell running. He is a long-time member of the Fell Runners Association (FRA). He formerly worked at Middlesex University where he was Lead Academic Developer. He has written two other books: It’s a Hill, Get Over It won the Bill Rollinson Prize in 2014; The Round: In Bob Graham’s footsteps was shortlisted for the TGO Awards Outdoor Book of the Year 2015 and the Lakeland Book of the Year Award 2016.
The formal launch of the book is on Fri 27 October in Skipton, where I will be in discussion with Kenny Stuart and Ben Mounsey [more info].
The seven quotes on the ‘Running Hard’ cover are from some absolutely top runners. These are the full versions of what they all said on reading a preview copy of the book. The book is published Thu 16 Feb, with two book launches on 18 and 20 Feb.
‘Kenny Stuart and John Wild are two of the greatest ever fell runners, with records that still stand today. This meticulously researched book is a compelling and fascinating account of their lives, and their rivalry and friendship.’
Steve Birkinshaw, fastest person to complete the 214 Wainwrights in one round
‘Recollections of races and post-race celebrations by such top fell runners as Jos Naylor, Billy Bland, Hugh Symonds, Jack Maitland and Malcolm Patterson are filled with insight and humour, and demonstrate the unique blend of intense rivalry and friendship that typifies fell running.’
Jeff Norman, Olympic marathoner and former Fell Runner of the Year
‘An in-depth and inspirational account of the fierce rivalry between John Wild and Kenny Stuart, two of mountain running’s finest-ever exponents. Steve Chilton explores the background, the characters and the head-to-head battle for the title of 1983 British Champion between these two ultra-hard men of the fells, and captures the unique spirit of running in its purest and most extreme form.’
Julian Goater, author of The Art of Running Faster
‘Running Hard is a funny, in depth insight into well-known and not so well known champions but, cleverly and importantly, also the characters behind these champions. It’s these characters that bring the book alive and make you wish you were stood on the fells watching their battles in real life and then listening to their post-race banter afterwards.’
Nicky Spinks, double Bob Graham Round record holder
‘A fascinating book that paints a captivating picture of an exciting head to head race for the ultimate championship title. Steve’s race reports are as edge-of-your-seat as a car-chase in a film; you’ll be devouring the words and turning the pages fast. He brings to life a whole new world of fell-running history – a must–read for every off–road runner.’
Claire Maxted, editor of Trail Running magazine
‘There is something primeval about hill running: a simple test of man versus mountain. The sport is a modern-day survival of the fittest and in the 1983 hill running season, two men literally seemed to be running for their lives.’
Jonny Muir, author of Heights of Madness
‘Two great athletes changed the face of fell running forever. Picture John Wild, road racing professional and international track and cross country champion, and Kenny Stuart, champion fell runner and winner of many classic mountain races, duelling over the toughest of terrains and weather conditions. Read of their courage, mental toughness and strategies in a modern, but almost Boys Own, battle and decide for yourself who is Wilson of the Wizard and who the Tough of the Track.’
Steve Jones, former holder of World Best time for marathon