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Photo credit: Quarto Publishing.

Running Beyond – Ian Corless book review

08-Nov-16

Last updated: 21-Dec-17

By James Eacott

Ian Corless is perhaps the most influential media figure in ultra, trail and skyrunning. His contribution to the coverage of the sport is massive and it’s no coincidence that his appearance on the scene coincides with that of its greatest increase in popularity. He is instrumental in bringing what was a bit of a crazy sport (reserved for those with a few loose screws) into mainstream media and onto the global stage.

Running Beyond documents a selection of races that Ian has covered, many on multiple occasions. From Western States and the Lakeland 100 to Ronda dels Cims and the dizzying heights of the Everest Trail Race, Running Beyond covers the best of what is out there. As well as detailed race descriptions, there’s interviews with some of the greatest in the sport and commentary that takes you deep into the moment.

In his foreword, Kilian Jornet puts it perfectly when he says “Ian’s photography conveys the passion of the sport, and the beauty of his images immerses you in the aura of each race. We are able to feel what the runners have felt, and it is the closest you will get without being there yourself”.

I’ve got a couple of go-to publications that, before the existence of sites like RunUltra, were the best place to find new events to add to my bucket list, but Ian’s book replaces all that came before – it’ll get your juices well and truly going.

What I really love about Running Beyond is the flow of it. There’s no set formula to present each race. Yes, with each chapter comes a map, profile, elevation, course records and so on, but it’s not rigid. It’s not an index or catalogue of events ordered month by month. It’s much more organic that than. Set over 240 pages, even though there are ‘only’ 30+ races, some have 10 pages dedicated to them. That’s due to the addition of runners’ stories, race directors’ tales and immense photography that requires many double-spreads to do them justice. It’s the perfect balance between informative and immersive.

PROS: What I like about the book:

  • The visuals. Ian’s photography is incredible. Even with no writing, Running Beyond would stand alone as a fantastic book.
  • The runners’ stories.
  • The profiles, maps, elevation gains, course records that come with each listing, because who doesn’t love to pour over a few stats?
  • At £20, it’s an absolute steal.

CONS: What’s not so good about the book:
*Author is still trying to think of something to write here.

Conclusion

Running Beyond is a wonderfully informative, visually inspiring, immerse-yourself-for-hours coffee-table book. For anyone passionate about the sport, travel or photography, this is an absolute winner of a Christmas present.

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