A Book Review By Sherie Griffiths @sherieamore1
There are a number of feelings that Doug Richards’ “Running Hot and Cold” stirs within you but the main one is the feeling of being beside him throughout his entire journey as we read about his life through running.
From the “warm glow of health and happiness” that he attributes to having been afforded to him by running, the “fear of being caught walking” by his supporters and the “tears of pride” as he completes a marathon with a personal best time, Richards beautifully describes feelings that all runners have experienced. As a result, even with the incredible races he has experienced, he makes a reading runner feel as big a part of the wider running community as he is.
The camaraderie between the “Tent 40” campers and the “Elephant 10” is powerfully depicted by Richards and goes a long way to emphasising just how much a shared passion can bind people who would otherwise be strangers. His friendship with Miles and Jon and his empathy in adverse circumstances is one of particular beauty within the novel.
Richards places great emphasis on the fact that despite his incredible catalogue of worldwide runs through the Sahara Desert, over the Great Wall of China and right through the icy heart of Siberia he is a normal man with a normal family from a normal background. This affords the reader tremendous belief that they can achieve anything they set out to achieve. It is delightful to see that at points in his life he is able to share his passion with his children – in Africa with his daughter and through a newly formed Parkrun with his son and help pass the connectivity of running down through the generations.
“Running Hot and Cold” is an extremely powerful book. The title is a perfect euphemism for the feelings of elation when on a running high and the feelings of self doubt that plague us all when we lose motivation. “Running Hot and Cold” is not however just about running in different climates. It is about running even when you don’t want to. It is about running as a binding camaraderie between people. It is about how running can save you even when you feel that it can’t. By the end the reader will feel as though they have experienced Richards’ life with him. They will relate with a number of ordinary life situations that he touches on and they will be elevated to the point at which they feel they can do anything. A beautifully written life story that all runners can enjoy, laugh at and empathise with.