Running for Their Lives by Mark Whitaker
The Extraordinary Story of Britains Greatest Ever Distance Runners

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This is an engaging, surprising and, by the end, rather affecting book that becomes as much about lifelong friendship as it is about sport.
-Guardian

Synopsis

In 1928 two extraordinary Englishmen competed in an unprecedented and fearsome event - a transcontinental road race across America that required them to run an average of 40 miles for 80 consecutive days. They were to become the most famous long-distance runners in the world: yet history has forgotten them. Peter Gavuzzi was a young working-class ship's steward, while Arthur Newton was a middle-aged intellectual who had taken up running to make a political point. Though separated by class, education and age, they became close friends and formed a successful business partnership as endurance athletes. They raced in 500-mile relays, in 24-hour events, in snowshoes and against horses; and they became the stars of a craze for endurance events that swept across depression-era North America. But as professional runners they were eschewed by the amateur running elite. Set against a turbulent backdrop of 1920s South Africa, 1930s Canada, war-torn France and 1950s Britain, "Running for Their Lives" is a story peopled with remarkable characters, unimaginable feats and tragic twists of fate. More importantly it is a homage to two inspirational and eccentric men who only now receive the recognition they so richly deserve.
 

About Mark Whitaker

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Mark Whitaker is a broadcaster and historian. After a first career as an academic, during which he taught in both London and Tunis, he joined the BBC in 1990. He was a reporter for BBC2's sports documentary series On the Line, and from 1994 to 2002 was a regular presenter of File on 4 on Radio 4. He then became a founding partner of the independent production company Square Dog Radio, which is named after a beloved Bernese Mountain dog. To his great regret he recently had to give up playing cricket. He lives in the West Yorkshire hills with his family and their animals.
 
Published April 1, 2012 by Yellow Jersey. 368 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Sports & Outdoors.
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Guardian

Excellent
Reviewed by Alexander Larman on Apr 07 2012

This is an engaging, surprising and, by the end, rather affecting book that becomes as much about lifelong friendship as it is about sport.

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