Mud, Sweat and Tears by Moire O’Sullivan

After a recommendation from a good friend I recently read the book ‘Mud, Sweat and Tears’ by Moire O’Sullivan.

Without giving too much of the plot away, this is the story of how Moire came to, and ultimately fell in love with mountain running, leading her to made a solo attempt on the Wicklow Round. This is a gruelling endurance run spanning a hundred kilometres over twenty six of Ireland’s remotest mountain peaks. After twenty one and a half hours she collapsed, two summits from the end. Battered and bruised, yet undeterred, she returned a year later to become the first person ever to try again.

Morie

Without a doubt my favourite bit of the book is early on in the story when Moire describes her first fell race and how she tried to dress accordingly for the event to look like she was a ‘regular’. This had me grinning as I totally did the same thing!

I have no hesitation in saying if you love fell running or have a passion for the outdoors this book is for you. I was really gripped by her story and finished the book in about a day! Something that really stood out for me is how humble and honest Moire is about her feelings and emotions, there are so many points in the book I felt myself relating to how she was feeling. Despite not being a training book or guide in anyway or form I’ve certainly noticed some of her observations and pointers pop into my head when I’ve running since. Well worth a read!

Book available from Amazon

Visit Moire’s website

Just a Little Run Around the World

October 2015 I went to an evening hosted by Jagged Globe, amongst a series of great talks I was most looking forward to hearing Rosie Swale Pope speak. As soon as she started talking I was transfixed by her stories, something really struck a chord with me. I found, especially as a runner, I could relate to so much of what she was saying. I came out of that talk totally fired up and felt ready to take on any adventure that was thrown at me, and more!

I also instantly purchased Rosie’s book – Just a Little Run Around the World. This follows one of her most notably stories – a 5 year solo run of 20,000 miles around the world, to raise money in memory of her late husband.

From being followed by wolves to trekking across Alaska, and having to survive in temperatures of -62 degrees C. Rosie was knocked down by a bus and confronted by bears – I couldn’t take my eyes off the pages of this book. But don’t worry I haven’t told you all that happens there are plenty more epic moments! I can whole heartedly recommend this book to both runners and non-runners – I think anyone with a spirt of adventure will find this a fantastic read.

Available from Amazon.

Inspiring books by Women in Adventure

If you are feeling the need to be more adventurous, books are a great way to feed your imagination. You don’t have to be planning to summit Everest, trek across the Himalaya, or solo the north face of the Eiger to be inspired by these women and their adventurous approach to life…

Catherine Destivelle, Rock Queen (2015) (First published as Ascensions, 2013): Catherine Destivelle is one of the world’s most accomplished rock climbers and alpinists, making world-leading solo winter ascents of the Eiger, the Matterhorn, and the Grand Jurasses. Her book tells how she discovered a love for the mountains as a young girl, developing her talents through bouldering, rock climbing, and eventually solo winter climbing.

A career as a professional climber presents its own challenges for a naturally introverted character. Balancing the demands of sponsors and pressure to be publicised against her own instincts, and faced with decisions about whether to enter high profile competitions or attempt hard new routes, Catherine learned to follow her passion and do what she loves to do.

Cathy O’Dowd,  Just For the Love of It (Dec 13): This is Cathy O’Dowd’s story of how she became the first South African to reach the summit of Everest and the first woman to reach it from both sides. It includes absolutely gripping descriptions of alpine climbing, especially the summit attempts. Confronting the costs as well as the rewards, it gives a vivid description of the harsh reality of life at the absolute limits of human endurance and beyond.

It can feel hard to understand the motives of individuals that choose these tough experiences, but Cathy absolutely captures the atmosphere and landscape of expeditions in the Himalaya. With descriptions creating images as clear as pictures, there is no doubt that as the title says, she does it for the love of it.

Gerda Maria PaulerGreat Himalaya Trail: 1,700 Kilometers Across the Roof of the World (Oct 13): This book is about Gerda Pauler’s hike of the Great Himalaya Trail, 1,700 kilometers on foot across Nepal to raise awareness for the charity Autism Care Nepal. Despite her humorous descriptions of the journey, this is a serious undertaking requiring stregth of character and positive thinking. Crossing many high passes, some at altitudes of over 6,100m, every extreme of weather is encountered as well as the dangers of route finding, rockfall, and avalanche.

Taking four months to complete her adventure, Gerda is immersed in the local culture. Having visited the area over a period of 25 years she records her keen observations of the people she meets along the way, in particular the children and women. Changes are occuring, and there is a fine balance in delivering improvements in education and infrastructure that come with tourism and economic development while preserving the unique cultures and traditions of Nepal.