Richard Askwith

The Race Against Time
  • The Race Against Time

  • Never before have so many people run so many miles, or set themselves such ambitious targets, in pursuit of self-fulfillment: marathons, ultra-marathons, extreme adventures. And never before have people had such high hopes of remaining vigorous and active – young in all but name – long after retiring from the work-place. Yet that last goal, perhaps more precious than any of the others, remains elusive.

    It can be done, but only a few succeed. Most runners succumb to injury or illness in middle age; others are defeated by dwindling energy levels, or by the gradual falling-off of their peers. They can only envy the charmed few who continue to enjoy the life-enhancing joys of running well into what used to be considered extreme old age.

    Horrified by the thought of breaking off his life-long love-affair with running, Richard Askwith began to think seriously about a question with profound implications for every enthusiastic runner: how can you keep running, happily and well, for the rest of your life – ideally, well into your nineties and beyond?

    Askwith’s quest for the secrets of running longevity takes him on a long, mystifying journey: to laboratories and running tracks, cities and remote mountain villages, on several continents. He meets scientists and coaches, gurus and cranks, ninety-year-old sprinters and hundred-year-old marathon runners – and with each passing month his quest grows more urgent.

Richard Askwith has been a journalist for more than 35 years. He has written five previous books, including an evocative biography of Emil Zátopek, Today We Die A Little, which was shortlisted in the Cross Sports Book Awards. This marked his first foray into the world of Czechoslovak sport. His first book, Feet in the Clouds, won Best New Writer at the British Sports Book Awards and the Bill Rollinson Prize for Landscape and Tradition. It was also shortlisted for the William Hill and Boardman Tasker prizes. His 2014 book, Running Free, was shortlisted for the Thwaites-Wainwright Prize.

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