At forty-one I was overweight and unfit. As I turned 50 I was thirty pounds lighter, having spent my fifth decade training for, and racing multiple Ironmans, marathons, and other crazy adventures. This account of that fitness journey through my forties includes broken bones, severe chafing, regular cursing, rubber and lycra, an element of masochism … and cake.
So let’s get this clear from the start. I’m roughly the same age as Tim Lebbon is now, and did not get fit in my forties. I was, however, intrigued to see how he did it. And by the mention of cake.
I love cake.
This book threw me a little at the start – I was sort of expecting a tale of ‘oh how unfit I was’ followed by a training montage of sorts covering the next decade, with few juicy tales of derring-do, adventure and generally appearing out of the far end with the author being trimmer, fitter, and clutching the aforementioned cake.
Run Walk Crawl is definitely not that book. The training montage bit (without giving too much away) takes up a slim section near the start when our hero realises that he is somewhat overweight and unfit, and decides to do something about it. It’s not long before he’s running marathons, swimming triathlons and ultimately, taking part in more than one Ironman. And it’s the tales from those adventures that take up the majority of the book. And you know what? It’s great fun. For the reader, that is. Rather less fun for our hero getting up at the crack of dawn to go swim in a freezing lake, run up and down some hills and cycle what some would describe as ‘quite a long way’ afterwards. All for a t-shirt and a medal, and perhaps a slice of cake.
(Look, I know I said I love cake, and I really really do. But I’m not sure you’d catch me putting that much effort in. Probably explains my waistline.)
Tim Lebbon is a natural storyteller, and I found myself polishing off this book in the course of a couple of sittings. It’s a short book, but definitely filled with the tales of derring-do, adventure and with the author appearing at the far end trimmer, fitter and with the cake. Just don’t go into it looking for training plans – Tim’s approach seems to be ‘just get off your butt and go and do it, it’ll probably be fine’
I enjoyed this book a lot. Nearly as much as cake, and that’s saying something.
Run Walk Crawl: Getting Fit in my Forties by Tim Lebbon is published by Dreaming In Fire, and is out now. Many thanks to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part in the blog tour, and to the publisher for the advance copy of the book for review.