From One Extreme to the Other. A new book by Mike Hartley

Anyone who knows Mike will be aware of how modest he is about his remarkable achievements in the great outdoors and chatting with him you have to almost tease out information.  Therefore it is great news that he has managed to sit still long enough to get it all down on paper and his book ‘From One Extreme to the Other’ has just been published. Mike was kind enough to send me an early copy.

This is an extraordinary account of an extraordinary individual. Mike’s beginnings in the outdoors are, to me anyway, somewhat surprising for someone who was to become a record holder for many of the UK’s ultra-running challenges.

The Club’s core, and associated, activities are a theme throughout the book ranging from climbing in the UK to Yosemite, caving, sea kayaking, peak bagging, cycling and of course ultra-distance running. The only activity that he doesn’t seem to do much of is walking, unless you count traverses of the Scottish Highlands with an inflatable canoe strapped to your back.

The book covers Mike’s Coast to Coast record, Pennine Way record, representing GB in various 100km races, and perhaps his most astounding challenge of all a consecutive run over the Three Big Rounds, The Charlie Ramsay, Bob Graham & Paddy Buckley Rounds, which had never been done before. Surely the ultimate test. 

There is an absolute obsession with training and focus on achieving interim targets leading to the ultimate goal for the year. Having pushed himself to the absolute limit of distance and speed to a point where at the finishing line of an event he had nothing left to give, within days he seemed to feel his physical body had cheated his mind, and that with more determination and more focus he could have gone even further and faster. As a result the next project was sought after and targeted.      

Whatever your specific interests in the outdoors are there should be lots in the book for you. However for any budding, or even experienced, runners out there if you want a road map about how, with total dedication and focus, you can improve your fitness and achieve your targets this is definitely for you.  Although it does also do a pretty good job in detailing the pain and suffering involved!

The Club, its many ‘classic’ endurance events, current and past eminent ‘bog trotting’ members are mentioned throughout. It’s like a Club journal on steroids. A full review will no doubt appear in the 2023 RCJ.   

For anybody interested in the outdoors it’s a great read and I would thoroughly recommend getting a copy which can be obtained from: Limestone Books, 3 The Shambles, Settle, BD24 9EH. Phone: 01729 268180.

Andy Llewellyn

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