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Book review: We Can’t Run Away From this

Written by Fiona

December 09 2022

Ultra runner Damian Hall has written the book We Can’t Run Away From This, which is published by VP Adventure Books. The book examines the impact of running on the climate and ecology. It includes a wealth of insights from experts and also prompts us all to think about our kit, food and travel – and to identify simple changes we can make to our behaviour.

To buy the book, see VP Adventure Books. (I gain a small commission from sales through this link.)

Damian, who is a successful runner, has been talking a lot about the topic of running and the environment for the past few years. When he has taken on running challenges, such as setting a running record on the Pennine Way, he has acted on his strong beliefs that we all need to be doing more to reduce climate change.

When running, Damian picks up litter. He also eats a plant-based diet, which is claimed to be the environmentally friendly. He has spoken about aiming to reduce his carbon footprint in different ways and as a runner.

His book is more than just a personal rant because it comprehensively tackles a range of pertinent topics, including the impact of running on the environment, how we need to think more about the kit we buy, diet and, ultimately, the benefits of running, too.

There is a lot of thoughtful research and plenty of examples so that the reader can collate and consider the evidence for themselves.

There are some easy to understand fact boxes and some really useful check lists of what we can do to make changes as runners. I like that I can have a first glance at chapters, with fact boxes and check lists – and then end up drawn into fully reading more of the research and discussions.

I have picked up and put down this book many times since receiving it, working my way through it in chunks.

Damian Hall. Credit: Steve Ashworth / Endurance Creative

I guess it’s difficult not to want to point the finger at the author himself and question if he is doing all he can to limit what he calls the current climate and ecological emergency. Could Damian travel less both at home and abroad, use less kit, eat a better diet? As far as I am aware, he does do the best he can.

Then again, Damian also questions if concentrating on our individual carbon footprints is really the answer.

The climate is a very serious topic and many runners would like to do their bit to reduce their impact. Damian manages to put across many important messages, backed up with some in-depth research, but also in a mostly very readable format.

It is thought provoking and has made me stop to think about how I behave as a runner.

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