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  • Published: 6 March 2014
  • ISBN: 9781448137909
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 304

Running Free

A Runner's Journey Back to Nature

From the award-winning author of running classic Feet in the Clouds, Richard Askwith makes a passionate and inspiring case for runners to get back to nature.

Shortlisted for the 2015 Thwaites Wainwright prize for nature writing

Richard Askwith wanted more. Not convinced running had to be all about pounding pavements, buying fancy kit and racking up extreme challenges, he looked for ways to liberate himself. His solution: running through muddy fields and up rocky fells, running with his dog at dawn, running because he's being (voluntarily) chased by a pack of bloodhounds, running to get hopelessly, enjoyably lost, running fast for the sheer thrill of it. Running as nature intended.

Part diary of a year running through the Northamptonshire countryside, part exploration of why we love to run without limits, Running Free is an eloquent and inspiring account of running in a forgotten, rural way, observing wildlife and celebrating the joys of nature.

An opponent of the commercialisation of running, Askwith offers a welcome alternative, with practical tips (learned the hard way) on how to both start and keep running naturally - from thawing frozen toes to avoiding a stampede when crossing a field of cows. Running Free is about getting back to the basics of why we love to run.

  • Published: 6 March 2014
  • ISBN: 9781448137909
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 304

About the author

Richard Askwith

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.

Also by Richard Askwith

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Praise for Running Free

A joyous, eloquent and lyrical account of one man's lifelong love affair with running... Running Free is simply the prod you need to make you step off the pavement and into the wild

Martin Love, Guardian


Iain Finlayson, The Times

A much needed breath of fresh air

Alexandra Heminsley, Independent

An escape from the stopwatch tyranny of PBs and split times, this is a reminder of how to run for sheer joy

Runner's World

Intelligent, evocative, passionate and above all enjoyable

Simon Redfern, Independent on Sunday

[An] idiosyncratic, enjoyable tale... Never less than compelling

Alexander Larman, Observer

Delightful and endearing…a contemplation of the beauty and joy of experiencing the world out there, beyond the tarmac

Boff Whalley, The Fellrunner

Very readable and inspiring

UK Press Syndication

The most beautifully written book I have read in ages... Askwith explains why his mind is forever wandering towards thoughts of running freely, up hills, across fields, and through forests whose damp leaves look “like smashed Marmite jars”. You can’t read such metaphors without being moved by them — literally

Amol Rajan, Evening Standard

I finished Askwith's book feeling an urgent need to run up the nearest fell, with no watch and no plan. Just me and my whistle, running free

Rose George, Guardian

[Askwith's] prose is as easeful and exhilarating as his energy and attitude

The Times

A captivating book, well-written

Cumberland and Westmoorland Herald

An inspiring account of running in natural surroundings


Richard Askwith’s memoir/guide Running Free inspired me to lace up my trainers and go yomping through the nearest woods

Sarah Franklin, Sunday Express

The paperback is worth picking up for any keen runners… [Askwith’s] flowing prose will inspire you to slip on your trainers and head outside


As a manual for sheer enthusiasm it can’t be bettered

Good Book Guide

His wonderfully evocative history of that north country oddity, fell running, captured my imagination on my first reading, and it has recaptured it on each subsequent one

Dr Sam Edwards, Outdoor Fitness

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