Book Review: There is no map in hell by Steve Birkinshaw

What a book, and what a run! There is no map in hell describes Steve Birkinshaw’s epic attempt to run all 214 Wainwrights in the Lake District in as fast a time as possible. Starting and finishing at Moot Hall in Keswick, as is standard for a Bob Graham Round, however Steve’s route was over 300 miles.

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The record for running all of the Wainwrights was set by the fell running legend that is Joss Naylor, who completed his route in 1986 in 169 hours (just over 7 days). Steve’s target was to complete the whole thing in under 7 days.

While the second half of the book covers the actual attempt, the first half is equally entertaining, with Steve’s upbringing and orienteering events as a child, before finding his true calling on the fells. Obviously Steve didn’t just decide one day to ‘have a go’, it took years of training, gradually increasing the distances, with the Bob Graham, Ramsay and Paddy Buckley Rounds, along with the famous Lakeland 100 and Dragon’s Back Race.

I look at some of those races and wonder if I could finish any of them. I don’t do enough fell running to be a natural, and as such I always struggle on the descents (unlike my beautiful wife who descends with absolute joy). Recently we also watched a couple of short films on Youtube about Nicky Spinks, another fell running legend, who managed a double Bob Graham Round in less than 48 hours. Simply astonishing, as was Steve’s Wainwright route.

This book is full of running, so it was a perfect read for me, and if you’re not a running, there is still a lot to be had, motivation, dedication, pain, blood, sweat and tears, as well as 214 Wainwrights.

 

One thought on “Book Review: There is no map in hell by Steve Birkinshaw

  1. Pingback: Running Books by the Dozen | Beards and Triathlons

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