Lives; Running

Lives; Running
David Renton was in his mid-teens a county standard middle-distance runner. He tells the story of how he began to run, and of the influence over him of his father’s own career as a rower. He describes his father’s attempts to find ideas that would guide his life and portrays running as a step towards a world of freedom.

Extract from the book:

I have raced along summer beaches and across frozen lakes. I have sprinted along canals and beside riverbanks. Once, I raced a friend around two laps of the largest outdoor swimming pool in Europe, the bathers lifting their legs upwards in an attempt to catch our trailing feet. I ran on the day of the worst storms the country had ever known, battling the wind on the way out, my fingers pointing out and up, my head ten degrees forwards of vertical. On the way back, I ran the same four miles even faster, jubilant at my speed, triumphing over nature. There were many victories.

I have run in joy, I have run in so many kinds of pain.

Today, the din of my feet on gravel is ponderously slow … I run slowly
and without style, just like a dad dancing.

Product details


David Renton is a barrister. Previously, he was for several years an academic historian in the UK and South Africa, holding senior posts including a Visiting Professorship at the University of Johannesburg. He lives in London together with his partner and their two children

About the Author

David Renton is a barrister living in London; a former academic historian and sociologist, and a one-time county-standard middle-distance runner. His writing can be followed at

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