Don’t Stop me Now
Don’t Stop Me Now
For the most part I really enjoyed this book. I found the idea of 26.2 chapters clever and the tales of Vassos and his obsession for running were both witty and inspiring.
But which nobhead at the publishing firm decided they needed to page fill with boring athlete/celeb running stories?
I can’t help but feel a little frustrated having read this book. I enjoyed so much of it. But in my opinion there were around 30-40 pages which should have gone in the shredder.
It’s a clever premise. 26.2 chapters. Each one beginning with the author, Vassos Alexander, talking us through the latest mile in his ironman marathon. This is then followed by one of his running tales and then each chapter ends with a story from a different runner, the majority of them well known athletes.
Who is Vassos Alexander I hear you ask? He’s a Sports Correspondent working for the BBC. So I would say he’s on the very fringes of celebrity status. Vassos took up running in his mid thirties and became obsessed. I actually found it frustrating that he played down his own achievements somewhat.
I feel the majority of runners would be hugely impressed by a sub 3 hour marathon. Whether someone is a good runner or not is subjective to whoever holds that opinion. Vassos was keen not to come across as arrogant and compare himself with the quicker runners. But there were a few times I felt he was patronising to those who would class a 6 minute kilometer, in the latter stages of a marathon, as a real achievement. I know it wasn’t intentional, but that’s how I felt.
— Vassos Alexander (@VassosA) April 25, 2016
That aside, I thoroughly enjoyed reading about the ironman marathon. It’s amazing that he put himself through that pain. I found myself laughing at his quick-witted humour and willing him to succeed at the same time.
The tales of his own running adventures were very interesting too. From running just 100 yards down the street to finishing a 100km Ultra Marathon. I was engrossed throughout and to be honest, I wanted more.
What I didn’t like were the stories of famous athletes. Sally Gunnell, Paula Ratcliffe, the Brownlee brothers, Colin Jackson, Jo Pavey, the list goes on. I felt like I was reading the same thing over and over again. How they first started running x-country at school and suddenly realised they had a gift, blah, blah, blah, blah. I don’t care! If I wanted to read about these athletes I’d buy their autobiographies or go on Wikipedia. For me they had no place in this book.
I was thinking all along, if only he had replaced these with tales of interesting characters he’d met through his running, or people he had inspired. Low and behold in the final 2 chapters this does happen. They are by far the most interesting runner stories. Heartfelt and emotional. The passages from his two children, who Vassos has inspired to run, are just beautiful. If only the rest of the chapters finished in the same vein, this book would have been even more enjoyable.