Book review: Keep On Running by Phil Hewitt


Picture it. Bristol Airport on a Wednesday night. No reading material on me to make the first 20 minutes of the boarding and flight process pass quickly. This is just not on. I needed a book.

So, I hit WH Smith in the departures lounge and head to the sports section to see if I can find a suitable distraction about running. There was one choice. Phil Hewitt’s Keep On Running (The Highs & Lows of Marathon Addict). 

I bought it. Well, it was either that or stare at the menu during take off and landing.

The book tells of Hewitt’s personal journey into marathon running. It was by accident, by dint of another’s procrastination if you like, that compelled Hewitt to first don his gutties and run the London marathon. He got a free place in return for writing about it.

And like many, he became hooked.

In all, Hewitt covers off his 25 marathons ran at the time of publication. He’s run city marathons in London, Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin and Dublin. He’s run on the Isle of Wight, across moors and in some small events too. He chronicles his experiences of balancing being a runner with being a dad and having to earn a living.

The similarities between Hewitt and I are quite frightening. He is obsessed with times and records. He has two young kids and a busy job. The period he covers off is from his mid-30s into his forties (I am 36). He loves rock music – but maybe not as heavy as me. And he just loves to run. Unlike me though, there is only one love for Hewitt: the 26.2 mile distance, the marathon.

It is clear that Hewitt is passionate about running the marathon, well you don’t do 25 otherwise. He waxes lyrically about everything from jelly babies to hydration. In every chapter he talks about how the prep went, his life and the race itself. At the start this is interesting, but as we move towards the end it becomes about repetitive. The engagement which happens in Berlin, or the knowing nods when he bonks in Amsterdam are kinda replaced with ‘yep, he’s doing another marathon’ later on in the book.

However, this is a great read for anyone addicted to running, and lovers of the marathon. Hewitt talks about the challenge with great reverence and respect (sometimes too much in my view, there is an ultra community which pisses all over the marathon) and the experiences he shares are known to experienced runners and well worth first-timers understanding too. Keep On Running (The Highs & Lows of Marathon Addict) wouldn’t  be a bad stocking filler for the runner in your life the Christmas.

7/10

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