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Summary

For listeners who enjoyed Alexandra Heminsley's Running Like a Girl and Bryony Gordon's Mad Girl, Running for My Life is a funny, heartfelt and inspirational story of one woman's marathon journey through mental illness.  

Suffering from depression but desperate for 'normality', Rachel Cullen found herself in failing relationships, the wrong career and a reliance on alcohol and chocolate to get her through each day. Stuck in an endless cycle of mental misery, she put on a pair of old trainers.  

She'd never been able to think of herself as a 'runner' before, and the first time she forced herself out the door, she knew it would hurt. Everywhere. She just didn't realise how much it would heal her, too.

©2018 Rachel Cullen (P)2018 Audible, Ltd

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Dreadful

The language is incredibly repetitive- I can’t begin to guess how many times she “pushed herself beyond what [she] ever thought possible”. The stories equally so- every *single* time she has a decent run it represents a transformation from non-runner to runner. Every single time she has a bad run it represents the end of all hope.

Labouring up the side of another cliche, her legs screaming at her to stop, she finds herself transformed. Again.

She is mean about those she can out-pace, notably her poor sister when running her first half (who is apparently so slow that the author can hardly run that slowly) and a couple of ladies she laps at Parkrun (who she thinks should have invited her to parties when she was at school). She smugly recounts over and over again how surprised one person or other was to hear her marathon PB- other runners at start lines, an old PE teacher... the time is given at least four times in the book.

She tries to present herself as supportive but belittles her PT clients, she paints herself as wide eyed and surprised by all things running but surely as a PT she would have access to basic information about training and injury prevention. Does she really expect us to believe that she had no idea what the overheard runner meant by ‘foam rolling my hammies”? She writes as if she discovered running for the first time in her thirties, but has been running intermittently since 17.

She seems fragile. I hope she is happy. I hope she is kinder to friends and family (and clients) than is apparent from the book. I hope she realises eventually that you can be a runner and a worthwhile person if you are slow or if you are overweight. And that it’s possible to be faster than someone, or thinner than someone, and still admire and respect them.

17 people found this helpful

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Narcissistic and not about running at all

I bought this book as someone who suffers from mental health problems as I thought it would be useful but it’s a terrible book. No offence to Rachel for her struggles with her own mental health but much of it comes across as the usual struggles teenage girls have with their bodies and is mostly self-centres and self involved. There are many points it is clear she required professional mental health assistance and did not receive it. There are times it is down right insulting to people... describing herself as a weeble when pregnant, saying she’s not one of “those” girls who wanted to get pregnant... where she belittles those of us who run-walk longer distance races because that’s the only way we can do it and much of the book is not actually about running. Equally when she continually goes on about being over weight (she says she’s 5 foot 9 and was 12 stone so a BMI of 25...) and I stopped listening at the bit she belittled her sister’s half marathon time. I would not recommend this book to anyone.

11 people found this helpful

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a lovely heart warming story

loved the positive take on a life managing mental ill health and feel very motivated to see if running could help to improve my mental health.

6 people found this helpful

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would not recommend

I liked the narrator but not the book. Couldn't even bring myself to finish it. Self indulgent, self absorbed content with little running. Her lack of empathy with other amateur runners such as her sister was infuriating. If you want to feel inspired to run there are MUCH better books out there.

10 people found this helpful

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A truly inspirational, touching and real story

Made me laugh, cry and inspired me to battle my own demons. Going for a run now.

4 people found this helpful

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ok story. grating narrator

fairly interesting story. it did jump around a fair bit and was confusing at times.

1 person found this helpful

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Brilliant !


Loved the narrator, read with great expression and humour. Very honest and funny. Highly recommended.

1 person found this helpful

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Not as much running as I’d like

It’s definitely not as good as some of the running stories I’ve read, such as Running like a girl. It talks through the authors while life from a young age and I found those chapters uninteresting. I stick with it and the second half is definitely better with more running stories but it’s not one I’ll read again.

1 person found this helpful

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Predictable Storyline, monotonous narration

A predictable story line, shallow, no real story or excitement.
Mono tonal narrator
Don't bother listening too this book

1 person found this helpful

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Brilliant listen

Absolutely loved this book. Very inspiring and resonated with me in lots of ways. Def worth a listen.

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  • Trinikami
  • 27-03-19

Wonderful Motivation for a Runner

Such a wonderful book. I'm a knew runner at the end I'm super happy to have been able to listen to her story. It's amazing what running can do for a person.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Katie pinnt
  • 21-02-19

Honest and inspiring

This book it not just about running. It also helps to reminds us that life is hard, and sometimes we just need to know it's going to be ok, I can get through this.
I loved the way it is written with the humor, honesty, and love. The author is very open with her struggles and it makes this book relatable to many people who read it.
I truly enjoyed listening to the book! If you need a reminder that you are not alone, pick this book.

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Theresa
  • 31-03-19

You should give this a hard pass

I can’t believe I made it to the end. I feel like I just completed a marathon! The story has lots of promise, but unfortunately the writing is sloppy, repetitive, and lazy. The narrator is someone I wish I liked, but can’t. She’s just kind of a “dick” (her word). The performance was stoically well read, but Ms. Martin’s accent was difficult to understand at times (for me, at least.)

1 person found this helpful