n It for the Long Run is ultrarunner Damian Hall’s story of running a first marathon aged thirty-six, dressed as a toilet, and representing Great Britain four years later. His midlife-crisis running problem escalated to 100-mile ultramarathons and record-breaking bimbles, culminating in his 261-mile Pennine Way run in July 2020.
In 1989, Mike Hartley set a record/Fastest Known Time (FKT) for the Pennine Way, running Britain’s oldest National Trail in two days and seventeen hours, without stopping for sleep. Hartley’s record stood for thirty-one years, until two attempts were made on it in two weeks in the summer of 2020. First, American John Kelly broke Hartley’s record by thirty-four minutes. Then Hall knocked another three hours off Kelly’s time.
Hall used his record-bothering run to highlight concerns for our climate and ecological emergency: his attempt was carbon negative, he created no plastic waste, and he and his pacing runners collected litter as they went, while also raising money for Greenpeace. A vegan, Hall used no animal products on his attempt. Scrawled on his arm in permanent marker was ‘F F F’, standing for Family, Friends, Future.
Packed with dry wit and humour, In It for the Long Run tells of Hall’s nine-year preparation for his attempt, and of the run itself. He also gives us an autobiographical insight into the deranged, custard-splattered, hedgehog-dodging world of ultramarathon running and record attempts.