Ian Mortimer


What's New?

10 February 2019
Why Running Matters

The webpages for my forthcoming book about the meaning of running, Why Running Matters: Lessons in Life, Pain and Exhilaration - from 5K to the Marathon, are now live (mostly). Are you one of the 599 parkrun helpers acknowledged in the back? You can check by the 'look inside' feature on amazon.co.uk.

9 February 2019
Exeter Half Marathon

Success! I improved my personal best for the half marathon today by almost one and a half minutes. I recorded 1:39:00 for the Exeter Half Marathon - the official results are here - but that was from the whistle and I started at the very back of the crowd of about 300 runners, so I actually finished in about 1:38:50. Very pleased with that. Did it in my new running shirt too, with the cover of Why Running Matters on the front...

...and the covers of sixteen other books of mine on the back.

I've got to say, it was hard work. When I returned home, I checked on Garmin Connect and saw that no less than 83 percent of my race was run in zone 5 (over 90% of maximum heart rate).

4 February 2019
The snow has gone

I know I should not speak too soon, especially after the late snow falls last year, but I was so pleased to find the sun out today, and to realise that the overnight rain had washed away almost all that was left of the recent snow, that I just had to go out for a good long walk. I went up to Cranbrook Castle with a camera, and took pictures of the best preserved portion of the ramparts of the Iron Age hillfort.

And this is the view looking north east, towards the general direction of Exeter, on the way down.
Oh, and why not - here's a picture of Moreton, from the lane at Brinning. (My house is to the right, near the church.)

3 February 2019
Resolutions for 2019.

It's now less than six weeks until the publication of Why Running Matters. In that book I resolved to run forty-five parkruns and five half marathons in the year I turned fifty (2017) and to write about the meaning of them all. Now, I'm not intending to do that again, but it seems a bit of a shame not to set myself a new goal. So this year's running resolution is to run ten half marathons, hoping that by the end of the year I should have clocked under 100 minutes (1:40:00) for at least one of them. (My fastest to date is 1:40:25 at last year's Great West Run.) The ten I'm planning to do are: Exeter (9 February), Brighton (24 February), Bideford (3 March), Bath (17 March), Taunton (7 April), Plymouth (19 May), Torbay (23 June), Bristol (15 September), Salisbury (29 September), and the Great West Run (29 September). With that in mind, I set out for my final long training run today in Exeter, along the canalside path, where there was no snow or ice, and did a fast ten miles. Very pleasingly, I managed to set a new personal best for the distance, 1:13:26. At that speed, I should be able to run a half marathon in similar circumstances in about 1:37:30. So, here's crossing fingers for next Saturday, and running Exeter's City Community half marathon in less than 100 minutes.

My other New Year's Resolution is to finish the text of The Time Traveller's Guide to Regency Britain. This book is behind schedule, for a number of reasons. But chapter three is now done and chapter four underway, and I am enjoying working with the textures of the history: the contrasts of wealth and poverty, of forward thinking and resistance to change, the traditions and the innovations.

24 January 2019
Why I hope The Favourite does not win ten Oscars.

As a historian, the lack of historical veracity in this film depressed me. So I felt I should explain in a note - if only to reach out to other like-minded souls. You'll find it on my Notes and Essays page.

22 January 2019
Audiobook Recording finished

I finished recording the audiobook of Why Running Matters yesterday. It's the first book of mine that I've read completely - previously I had only done the last chapter of Centuries of Change - and I have to say I really enjoyed it. I had a brilliant, very patient producer in Lucie McNeil; and the studio, Chatterbox, is a great place, very romantically situated in the remains of an old mine, Wheal Kitty, on the cliffs above St Agnes, on the North Cornish coast; but the best thing was the actual reading. When I look at my words on the page, I see just black and white, but in reading them aloud - in giving them pace and emphasis, tone and expression - it's as if I am turning them into colour.

8 January 2019
Why Running Matters

I see that Summersdale have released the cover for my forthcoming book about running, Why Running Matters. Publication of the paperback is due for 14 March 2019. Recording the audiobook should begin shortly - but I currently have a cold, so it's been set back a bit.

What was new in previous years