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There Is No Map in Hell: The Record-Breaking Run Across the Lake District Fells

Narrated by: Stewart Crank
Length: 6 hrs and 56 mins
Categories: Sport, Other
4.5 out of 5 stars (41 ratings)

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Summary

In 1986, the legendary fell runner Joss Naylor completed a continuous circuit of all 214 Wainwright fells in the Lake District, covering a staggering distance of over 300 miles - plus many thousands of metres of ascent - in only seven days and one hour.

Those in the know thought that this record would never be beaten. It is the ultimate British ultramarathon. The person taking on this superhuman challenge would have to be willing to push harder and suffer more than ever before. There Is No Map in Hell tells the story of a man willing to do just that.

In 2014, Steve Birkinshaw made an attempt at setting a new record. With a background of nearly 40 years of running elite orienteering races and extreme-distance fell running over the toughest terrain, if he couldn’t do it, surely no one could. But the Wainwrights challenge is in a different league: Aspirants need to complete two marathons and over 5,000 metres of ascent every day for a week.

With a foreword by Joss Naylor, There Is No Map in Hell recounts Birkinshaw’s preparation, training, and mile-by-mile experience of the extraordinary, and sometimes, hellish demands he made of his mind and body, and the physiological aftermath of such a feat. His deep love of the fells, phenomenal strength, and tenacity are awe inspiring and testimony to athletes and onlookers alike that "in order to attain the impossible, one must attempt the absurd".

©2017 Steve Birkinshaw (P)2019 Vertebrate Publishing

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amazing

really enjoyed this account of an amazing adventure and achievement.

it's a shame the narrator was poor with strange accents and awful pronunciation of local areas and mountain names

1 person found this helpful

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Great Book

Great Book very enjoyable read very inspiring listened to it while I was running over the south downs

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read don't listen

narration is terrible fake Yorkshire accent for Jos whos cumbrian great book ruined #readitdontlistentoit #ruinedagreatbook

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Brilliant and a little bit nuts!

knew of the Wainwrights and Jos Naylors run but this puts the detail to the task. Just amazing. A fabulous feat!

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great story of a great man... ideal for runners

an ideal book for anyone who loves the lakes and fell running. it's like you're feeling his pain.

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Great read

There is No Map in Hell is a phenomenal book. Steve is a truly inspiring man; the way he writes is honest and engaging in detailing not only his incredible journey, but the sacrifices he made to push his mind and body to achieve such a remarkable record. The narration was excellent and I found myself drawn in from the very first chapter ... easily one of the best stories I have heard this year!

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Inspirational with tonnes of detail

There is No Map in Hell by Steve Birkinshaw and narrated by Stewart Crank is about running all 214 Wainwright's in one go, in world record time, and all for charity.

With a foreword by Joss Naylor which sets the scene nicely for how difficult the feat is, the prologue gives some basic information of the route and some stats, and how Steve was feeling before the run. Some immediate rapport is built whilst Steve discuses his childhood, with descriptions of experiences that many of us can relate to in some way or another (either from his point of view, or his parents!).

There are a lot of interesting discussions throughout the audiobook. Personally I appreciated hearing Birkinshaw's reflections on his feelings around his illnesses, both as a child and later on in life, the effect that has had on him and how that has changed over time. It was also interesting to hear how he started to find his strengths – identifying them one by one along with his weaknesses and accepting those. Working to those appeared to be a very important contributor to his development both in his sport, and in his life. There definitely seemed to be a few good life lessons that could be taken from his reflections and discussions of his life and experiences. Birkinshaw is very honest and varied in his discussions, and gets some of his potentially more controversial comments or beliefs out in the open early on. It really manages to give a decent picture of who Birkinshaw is as a person.

Birkinshaw gives a good overview of his running achievements before going into great detail around his world record breaking run. He continually returns to the discussion around personal satisfaction and risk, impact on performance both mentally and physically, and the effects these things have on other people as well as himself. The comments made around process, reasons, and the huge logistical effort that goes behind these kinds of events really brings it home what a huge achievement this is, and puts into perspective some of the other achievements that have occurred - not just running the Wainwright's. It definitely gives food for thought for those wanting to take on a challenge or something similar. The accounts from other members of Birkinshaw's team give a fresh perspective continually, and keep things interesting when he goes into detail about the run itself.

During the audiobook, I found it easy to listen to, and felt that there is no necessity to be interested in running in order to appreciate his achievements. There is no dwelling or waffling, and I didn't find myself getting bored or distracting in my listening. Crank is well enunciated, with good cadence and emphasis where necessary. There is a useful distinction between varying voices throughout, and good clarity in the narration by Crank. By the end, I really felt for Birkinshaw and all of his supporters. What an amazing achievement, and a beautiful example of support and well-wishing from a community.

If I had one criticism, it would be that unfortunately, there are some slightly incorrect pronunciation of Welsh place names, but by and large I would recommend this audiobook to all those interested in personal challenges, and for anyone who wants the motivation to get outside for a run!