The English Sombrero:Nothing to do but run on Amazon.com
Don Simmonds is a man you’d love to hate. A brash, arrogant used car sales man who overindulges at every opportunity. At 26 stone he can barely walk from the carpark to the pub. One Sunday after getting held up in traffic by a half marathon and therefore missing out on a car deal, Don vents his anger in the pub. Surrounded by his regular drinking buddies he thinks nothing of insulting the runners; calling them a “bunch of wankers.”
An old gentleman confronts him and demands an apology on behalf of his marathon running grandson. Bolstered by alcohol and the knowledge that few people have his kind of money; he makes the gentleman a bet of quarter of a million pounds that he will run the half marathon in a year’s time in under an hour and a half. He is more than a little surprised when he gets taken up on his bet.
This is a great story that has the feel of an old style Ealing comedy about it. Mind you the actor who would play Don would have an impossible task as he has to go from 26 stone to a sensible running weight. An inspirational tale of one mans will and determination.
I liked the book from the first chapter and enjoyed going on the journey with Don. I loved experiencing new things with him and meeting some great Spanish characters along the way. The book is written with a lot of love for Catalonia and its people. We see the character of Don grow throughout the book and he becomes a genuinely nice bloke you end up cheering for. Having run a few half marathons myself I thought the book was spot on, but going from 26stone to running anything is quite a challenge! I could have done without the subplot of the Russian gangsters, but it did show yet another facet to Dons character.
Enjoyable and inspirational read, I recommend it.