Book Review: Wild Running by Jen & Sim Benson
For every runner who tours the world running marathons, there are thousands who run to hear leaves and listen to the rain, and look to the day when it is suddenly as easy as a bird in flight George Sheehan
Jen and Sim Benson describe themselves as endurance athletes and authors/photographers of outdoor adventure guidebooks They are avid adventurers and have an immense passion for the natural world and wild places.
Wildrunning was first published in 2014 with 150 routes covering the whole country. This 2nd edition of the book keeps the best 50 of the original routes and adds a further 150 new routes.
Wild Running is the first UK guidebook for those who love to run and who dream of exploring Britain’s spectacular mountains, forests and coastal trails. wildrunning.net
Why would I wish to review a running book in a blog called Hill-Walking For The Over 60’s? Simple, a route is a route whether you walk it or run it – and I have 60/70 something readers who enjoy running as well as walking.
Over the years I have read numerous compendium route books – 100 best this and 100 greatest that. However, I have always been frustrated and confused with the way that the authors/publishers laid the books out.
This book is different!
The way it is structured and presented to the reader makes it easy from the outset to find a route suitable to your needs, requirements or geographic location.
The 200 routes are divided into 6 geographic regions, with appropriate sub-divisions to localise them more precisely. For example, where I live in the South & East the region is sub-divided into – Hampshire & the South Downs, Kent & the North Downs, In & around London, East Anglia.
However, it is the ‘Best For’ categories that really make this book stand out for me.
These 12 ‘Best For’ categories include Beginners, Urban Escapes, Summits & Views, Coast & Beach, Rocks & Scrambling and Weekends. But additionally, they have added categories covering accessible routes for running with buggies & wheelchairs plus post run wild swimming dips, all the way to the Ultra Running category for the super fit!
The book starts with tips and advice on kit, building fitness and technique, food & drink plus emergency procedures and a 10-point guide to staying safe.
Each of the routes detail the distance, ascent, start point and a unique link to the wildrunning.net website, where detailed maps and downloadable GPX data is available for every route. For quick reference, all of the routes are printed at the end of the book along with Lat & Long co-ordinates and 6-figure grid references.
Whether you are a beginner or an experienced trail runner you will enjoy the descriptive narratives and stunning photography that accompanies the routes. Even if you never intend to run or walk these routes, you will be engaged and enthralled by the beauty of this book.
This is an excellent treasury of Britain’s 200 greatest trail runs. But more importantly, it is a great resource of easy to challenging routes for all disciplines of outdoor adventuring. The format is very well thought through and extremely easy to follow. Whether you run, walk or ride, there is something for everyone inside.
This is a book to stay on the coffee table and not gather dust in the bookcase.
Further information about the book, the routes and the authors is available from the website wildrunning.net
For more about us and Jen & Sim’s adventure writing and photography work visit their website Adventure Places.
All images © Jen & Sim Benson
Can’t wait to get your copy – simple click the book and order
Disclaimer: I was supplied with a copy of WILDrunning by the authors Jen and Sim Benson, for the purposes of this review. All opinions are my own.