Book Review: ‘Running High’ by Hugh Symonds

a few maps etc which you munro baggers out there will no doubt pour over to figure out your opinion on Hugh’s route choice over the mountains. Some of his distances each day were really quite eye watering, bearing in mind he needed to meet up with his wife and family who following him round in a motor home.

The book is well written although, perhaps inevitably, it gets a little repetitive after 97 days of mountains! There will be highlights for anyone who knows the country well as familiar places are visited as Hugh moves from north to south.


In the book, Hugh doesn’t come across as at all arrogant, despite his Herculean achievement. In fact the books end suitably with a collection of other records set in the UK mountains. This section alone makes another inspiring read before you set out on your next fell race (or walk in the park.) Take a look at the statistics section in the back – it’s quite mind blowing.

Moving away from the book itself, how did he do it? well I have a few theories, and he wasn’t just lucky! Firstly I believe Hugh just loves mountains. I don’t think we should underestimate the power that the passion of loving mountains can built in you.

Secondly, this is a very positive book. There don’t really seem any moments when Hugh does what normal human beings would call ‘struggle.’ The language that he uses to describe his own journey is overwhelmingly success oriented and gives the impression that his determination to succeed was there from the start. I think that a strong element of goal setting and positive self talk clearly helped this amazing achievement along it’s way. He had mental strength in bucket loads, that is very clear.

Next, positive thinking alone isn’t enough! Hugh had very practical help along the way. His supportive family and regular visits from his doctor clearly provided the very necessary practical backup. The discussions on the massive quantities of food required are quite amazing, and worth the read for anyone considering an ultra marathon. It just goes to show that planning and a scientific approach all have their place alongside mental preparation.

Finally (personal opinion) I suggest that Hugh simply couldn’t stop running and that is possibly the reason he completed the challenge. Why else would he have carried on from Wales over the sea to Ireland when this was not part of the original challenge? What’s an extra 235 miles between friends?

Like the sound of this book? Find it here.

Wouldn’t you Chi Running instructors out there just love to have some video of his running to analyse?




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