Book review: Everything Will Work Out in the Long Run, by Dave Urwin


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It was on a Tak-Ma-Doon run with Norry McNeill that I was put on to this book. Norry and I were debating the merits of running books – both vehemently agreeing that Murakami’s tome was a bit wanky – when Norry mentioned Everything Will Work Out in the Long Run.

So, I went and bought it.

The book is a biography based on Dave Urwin’s journey from acid-tripping wastrel to ultra-running athlete. There are two broad strands to how the book is written. Firstly, we have Dave’s back story from birdwatching kid to student to wannabe musician and all of his battles throughout. There are dark moments based on drink, drugs and mental instability – and Dave focuses on how running helped him become a better person.

The second strand is his journey from couch to 100 mile. It is pretty much chronological, and therefore easy to follow.

The book is a self-published effort, sold on eBay, with Dave personalising the inside with a wee anecdote or two. It’s a nice touch. Some people see self-publishing as some sort of philistine act of arrogance. I think it is brilliant. So long as the book is well edited. I was pleasantly surprised by the editing in Everything Will Work Out in the Long Run.

Given my conversation with Norry in talking up the book, I could see why he was so taken with it. The running and some of the personal stories resonated. And the jokes, the mirth and comedic undertone – self-deprecation ahoy – worked really well.

However, I didn’t fully connect with Dave’s personal life story as much as his running journey. The reason? Well, I have mulled that over for a while. I think, simply put, is that I am lucky not to have had some of the challenges in my life that Dave has. In that regard, I am thankful. But, there was, and is, a fair bit of resonance between Dave’s running life and mine. And thus I enjoyed those sections more.

This is a personal, heart-wide-open, story. I’d recommend it as it will no doubt cut across many people in the ultra/running world. There will be connections and moreover, it is well set out; cleverly interspersing life and running to make it an interesting read. And, it is a real person and not some lackey ghostwriter’s efforts on behalf of a contractually obligated superstar. This is Dave’s story, by Dave and I think primarily for Dave. There an air of cathartic release in the book I’d guess.

7/10

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