Running into Trouble by Elle Spellman: Fast-paced, uplifting and clever tale about three women who each have very different reasons for wanting to complete a marathon - book review -

Expect to laugh and shed tears as Hannah, Malika and Cassie run through both the pain barrier and a full spectrum of emotions from anxiety, self-doubt and regret to unexpected happiness, self-discovery and the joy of new beginnings.

Running Into Trouble
Running Into Trouble

When you can barely run down the street to catch a bus, taking on the challenge of a full marathon sounds like a mission impossible.

But when you have something to prove, and not necessarily just to yourself, it’s a goal worth aiming for… even if fate has a way of making the journey even trickier than you had imagined.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Former book blogger and now debut author Elle Spellman has readers racing to the finish line in this suitably fast-paced, uplifting and clever tale about three women who each have very different reasons for wanting to complete a marathon, and leave themselves just three months to prepare.

And as we follow the trials and tribulations of their training sessions, we discover that, however strong your resolve to succeed may be, and however experienced you may be at this game, life has a funny way of getting in the way of your plans.

With only a little over twelve weeks until Bristol’s Great South-West Marathon, three of the city’s women are trying their hardest to focus on their ultimate goal… to run 26.2 miles.

For 48-year-old travel agent Hannah Saunders, it feels like she has made a terrible mistake. She only signed up for the race in a drunken moment after a night of drowning her sorrows with a bottle of supermarket red wine.

It’s just eight weeks since Dan, her previously loving and reliable husband and partner of 23 years, walked out of their house and quite possibly her life after telling her that he was seeing a younger woman who is his personal trainer at the gym.

So now the plan is to try to win him back by… getting fit, running a marathon and showing Dan just what he’s missing. And even though her first attempt leaves her pained, sweaty and gasping for breath, Hannah is determined to at least try.

Next on the fitness trail is Malika Sade who works in a recruitment office and has still not got over the grief of losing her close friend and colleague, Abbie, in a road accident on her way home from work just four weeks ago.

Abbie was a keen runner and Malika, who openly admits she has never been the athletic type, once promised her friend that she would one day run a race with her. And when she discovers one of Abbie’s running medals in a drawer at work, Malika decides that attempting the marathon will be a way of honouring that pledge.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

When an accident with two unruly dogs in a nearby park brings Hannah and Malika together, they soon realise they are training for the same race, and experienced runner Cassie, who is also training for her first full marathon, offers to help them out.

But, despite their good intentions, running becomes the last thing on the minds of the three women when unexpected troubles start to trip them up…

Spellman, who is herself a runner but finds it more fun to run with pals, is on to a winner with this beautifully observed and life-affirming story which celebrates the close bonds and healing nature of female friendship through the prism of grief, loss, divorce, new loves and motherhood.

Expect to laugh and shed tears as Hannah, Malika and Cassie run through both the pain barrier and a full spectrum of emotions from anxiety, self-doubt and regret to unexpected happiness, self-discovery and the joy of new beginnings.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Imbued with the author’s warmth, wry humour and a real grasp of what it means to share troubles and find strength in friendship, Running into Trouble is the perfect read for lockdown armchair athletes.

(Trapeze, paperback, £8.99)