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The End of the World Running Club #1

The End of the World Running Club

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Perfect for fans of The Martian, this powerful post-apocalyptic thriller pits reluctant father Edgar Hill in a race against time to get back to his wife and children. When the sky begins to fall and he finds himself alone, his best hope is to run – or risk losing what he loves forever.

When the world ends and you find yourself forsaken, every second counts. No one knows this more than Edgar Hill. Stranded on the other side of the country from his wife and children, Ed must push himself across a devastated wasteland to get back to them. With the clock ticking and hundreds of miles between them, his best hope is to run -- or risk losing what he loves forever.

456 pages, Paperback

First published June 27, 2014

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About the author

Adrian J. Walker

11 books383 followers
Adrian J Walker was born in the bush suburbs of Sydney, Australia in the mid '70s. After his father found a camper van in a ditch, he moved his family back to the UK, where Adrian was raised.

His second novel, The End of the World Running Club, is a post-apocalyptic running fable about hope, love and endurance. It is being published by Del Rey UK, in May 2016.

His third novel, Colours, is the first part in a dystopian sci-fi trilogy and is available now.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,525 reviews
Profile Image for Emma.
986 reviews1,004 followers
February 10, 2017
I'm DNFing this book because the main character is a whiny man child and I can't listen to him any longer.
Profile Image for Annet.
570 reviews736 followers
January 9, 2020
Looking back ....this was a pleasant surprise, good quality apocalyptic read....

Imagine your country (in this case the UK) is hit by a catastrophic asteroid strike. By chance you realize this in time, take your wife and two kids into the cellar, grab some food and water, and survive. And when you finally get out, the world is full of death and destruction. And then a long road of survival begins in a desolate and destroyed country, you meet some people along the way and form a team, and head for Cornwall where supposedly, ships leave for parts of the world where there is still a life possible. Along the way, you and your family get separated. The world is dark, some people you meet are good, some are bad. Food is scarce.
And you start running to find your family again and make it in time and reach the ships .....
That's about the story of The end of the World Running Club. Not a pretty story, but truly intriguing. Kept me reading on and on from start to end. Great read. Makes you think what you would do in these circumstances. Some tears even at the end....

"A vivid, gripping story of hope, long-distance running and how we break the limits of our own endurance, just lung-burstingly good"...
Profile Image for Reading Corner.
88 reviews109 followers
September 5, 2016
I enjoyed reading this one but it was nothing spectacular.The story was entertaining but had a few holes in it due to badly explained moments.Most of the characters annoyed me especially the protagonist which I think was the point because he had a loving family and his health but he still managed to be the biggest crybaby in the book.However, I think he was the most realistic character because many of us will find faults in everything,even after the end of the world.

Byrce was a funny character and had some great lines which did make me laugh out loud.The writing was overall very good but sometimes I got confused trying to picture what the author was describing.This book didn't stand out for me but I did enjoy it and had it finished in a matter of days.
Profile Image for Andrew Smith.
1,081 reviews620 followers
January 7, 2021
Ed was asleep when it started, still feeling the effects of a drink it two too many, and by the time he worked out what was going on it was already almost too late. Grabbing the only shelter he could think of he secreted his family (he, wife and their two children) away into their cellar while asteroids worked their horrors.

I must admit that I was drawn to this book by its title: apocalyptic events and running had ticked a couple of boxes before I got to page one. I also liked the fact that it was set in the UK. I've read quite a few books in this genre, but none set on these shores. Alas, from the start this one provided a somewhat rocky ride (apologies for the pun). The early events were well written but didn't convince. Would it really happen like this? I didn't think so. Then the account of the initial aftermath for Ed and his crew hit a few false notes for me too – the behaviours just didn't feel quite right.

I don't wish to give too much away so I’ll be a bit sketchy from here. At some point after the asteroid strikes, Ed finds himself part of a small, dysfunctional group which included:

- A huge man who moaned and shouted a good deal and clearly disliked Ed.
- A small military woman who the huge bloke also disliked, though not half as much as she disliked him.
- An Aussie who claimed to have once run the breadth of Australia. Needless to say, the big guy didn't believe a word of it.
- A posh-boy ex-banker. I don't need to tell you what the moaner thought about him.

Events from this point seem to lurch from one set-piece to another, with dull interludes breaking up the action. At times I thought it read like a cheap television series, full of scenes that didn't quite fit together and full of characters I struggled to feel any empathy for. There were very few nice or helpful people here, instead the world now seemed to be populated by buffoon caricatures, weird cult groups and vicious gangs. Where did all the normal people go?

Then I had a couple more specific grumbles:

1. There is some running here but the detail wasn't quite right. Some long distances were covered but there was little to no reference to the struggles and strains of such an endeavour, over and above some general complaints regarding tiredness. What about the blisters and muscle strains? What about looking for some helpful footwear to make life a bit easier? I know this is delving into the micro detail, but any book purporting to cover long distance running should at least attempt to nod it's head to some basic associated issues.

2. Moany Man’s constant shouting got right on my wick! It might have been bearable if it were on a printed page but on audio I was forever being assaulted by the narrators voice hollering in my ear! Be forewarned if you decide to go this route.

On the upside, towards the end I did start to care a little about a couple of the survivors. But really only a smidgen. In summary, I found this to be over-long and poorly conceived. If you're a fan of this type of tale then take it from me, there’s much better stuff out there. About two and a half stars but rounded down due to the hollering.

Profile Image for Dannii Elle.
2,065 reviews1,476 followers
March 17, 2017
I received this in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. Thank you to the author, Adrain J. Walker, and the publisher, Ebury, for this opportunity.

I was so excited to begin this book. A dystopian fiction without a teenage girl protagonist, you say? Count me in. Unfortunately, what inspired me to read this also became the reason for my dislike. I found it so hard to connect with this story when faced with my own hatred of the protagonist.

The protagonist in question, Edgar Hill was basically a slob of a human. He did the bare minimum for his wife and children, and spent the whole novel lamenting his current unfortunate predicaments. The entirety of this was concerned more with his character progression than the actual end of the world, where my own interests lay. When you hate someone as much I did, it is hard to care about his alterations or his progress. It literally took the world ENDING to get him to think about becoming the husband and father is family deserve and desire, and I found this pretty unforgivable.

The writing was beautiful and the plot was enticing, but Edgar just ruined this for me.
Profile Image for Mark Matthews.
Author 23 books372 followers
August 19, 2014
(Review originally from my blog: http://www.markmatthewsauthor.com/201...)

I don’t really do running clubs. I run as I dream—alone. But if I did join a club, it would certainly be to run through a post-apocalyptic wasteland with some new found mates, trying to reach my family before they shipped off forever. This is part of the scenario in the book, “The End of the World Running Club," a novel by Adrian Walker. The novel is a wonderful, harrowing, epic, witty, and emotional story of the apocalypse and one man’s attempt to be the father he wanted to be after the world ends.

I almost cried at the end of this book. Well, I did cry, but nobody saw. If a tear falls in the forest….

The main character, Edgar, is a more than a tad lazy, not a terrible man, but on a scale of 1 to 10 his parenting efforts stop at a 6. One morning after a bit too much to drink, the apocalypse starts to rain down, and he is forced to rise to the occasion. It’s time to bunker down. Throughout his adventures, he encounters others who are doing their best to survive, and of course many who have turned savage. Sometimes there is a great notion in the moral decay, but often there are hidden and deadly motives. I couldn’t help but imagine the cast of The Walking Dead in comparison journeying through this land. In other ways, this is a UK version of “The Road." It is told with a dry wit, more stoic, almost darkly comedic at times. The philosophical interludes of the main character reflecting on the human condition were told with such unique insight I could have listened all day.

This book is probably 75% apocalyptic story, and 25% running tale, but there is endurance and perseverance inherent in every move. You’ll spend time trapped in a cellar gasping for air and water and smelling the stink of your own body. You’ll spend time in ravaged cities with scavengers and in military bases trying to salvage something out of the wreckage. But you’ll also find great passages of running, most of which focused on the mental aspect of running. You’ll want to meet Jesus, you’ll want to holler at the rising sun, and you may highlight a ton of passages on your kindle, like I did. Take this one for example:

“That other beast inside you, the one you rarely see? You have it tethered tight. It watches and waits while you mess up your life, fill your body with poison and muddy your mind with worry. For some it takes just one call to free it. For others it takes five hundred miles of agony. But mine was free now, for the first time since I was a boy, running with a grin like a wolf through moonlit bracken. Pain ran alongside me, kindred and beautiful and garinning my grin. I’ll always be here, it said. Always, but now we’re friends.”

Any club that helps a runner make a friend of the pain and sets their beast free is right on.

When I wrote On the Lips of Children and The Jade Rabbit, I was trying to depict running a marathon as more than just running, but as a harrowing adventure of endurance and proving your strength for that which you love. It’s a good thing I hadn’t read this book first, for I would have found that the story I wanted already had been written. I stumbled upon it by accident as part of the incredible Kindle Unlimited program and am glad I did.

Profile Image for Juli.
1,899 reviews490 followers
January 3, 2019
Edgar Hill is overweight, self-absorbed, lazy, selfish, indifferent. In a sort of grand comeuppance, the universe rains down the apocalypse from the sky on Edgar's cozy little life (after he completely ignores warnings of the possibility for weeks) and destroys everything. Now Edgar has to learn to survive in a world where nothing comes easily...where death lurks around corners....where some survivors go insane or turn almost feral...where he has to truly work to save his wife and children. Edgar finds himself running a race across the UK to find his family after they are separated by an international task force rescuing survivors. Edgar has to find strength and endurance that seems impossible while battling evil, physical pain and the elements.

I found myself shaking my head multiple times at the self-absorbed whining Edgar uses to explain his behavior in the first 2/3 of this book. But....aren't we all a bit self-absorbed at times? Don't we all fall a bit short as a spouse, a parent, sibling, daughter/son, friend, boss/employee.... Don't we all make excuses for our shortcomings? Blaming others. Bending our perceptions of our own thoughts, actions, failures. I know I do. Just imagine if an apocalyptic event hit....no more safe, warm house to live in...no more police....no more grocery store or gas station down the street...no more cars....no more anything. And panicked, out of control survivors out there looking to steal what little you do have or do harm to your family. If parenting became more than buying food, paying bills and driving kids to soccer practice.....what would happen?? Edgar finds out. BOOM. Everything gone. He has to be a man.....a Real Man.... responsible for actually protecting, feeding, and caring about his family. He has to come to grips with himself...and become More. Edgar goes on a journey...not just a physical one, but a mental one as well.

This is an amazing story! All of the characters Edgar meets along his journey face choices....and all choose their path. Some choose to sacrifice to help others....and some choose to benefit themselves. Very realistic. Some people are just as dangerous as the natural disaster that destroyed everything. And others, met totally by chance, are a blessing beyond measure. I loved how even minor characters had something to add to Edgar's story from the people who made the journey with him to minor encounters along the way. Edgar has to morph from a fat, lazy person into a long-distance runner. He openly admits that he has never run a single step by choice in his life.....and has to find the strength in himself to run hundreds of miles to find his family. He makes a choice....and it's quite the journey.

I like reading apocalyptic action stories. I enjoyed this one more than most because it had a different purpose. The story isn't just about surviving a catastrophe....it's about coming out on the other side a better person. This is the first book by Adrian J. Walker that I've read. I'm definitely going to read his other books. I like his writing style and the way endurance running figured into the plot.

I listened to the audio book version of this story. Narrated by Jot Davies, the audio from Blackstone Publishing is just over 15 hours long. Davies reads at a nice pace and his acting performance is wonderful! Be warned -- the characters YELL a lot. There are fights, arguments, dangerous situations, injuries, mental breakdowns, etc....and the characters are often loud. Not a book to listen to at work....or turned all the way up with earbuds in. ha ha. :) Lots of yelling in various Scottish and English accents studded with various colorful metaphors. :) But, it really makes the listening experience a great one! This is one of the best audio books I've listened to so far....Davies made the story come to life. Awesome listening experience...after I learned to turn down the volume when a certain character gets angry. :)
Profile Image for Liz Barnsley.
3,471 reviews1,009 followers
October 19, 2016
Before reading "The End of the World Running Club" I'd heard a few things about it, both good and bad, turns out that it gets points from me mostly for addictive quality and for its main character, Edgar, who seems to have divided opinion - but who I loved because he was so utterly whiny yet absolutely determined.

Poor Edgar. Really. He drinks a fair bit and is not that fit, he's not particularly happy with his lot in life, finding family life somewhat mundane. Cue fiery asteroids from outer space decimating the UK and elsewhere, enforcing upon him some kind of actual responsibility.

The beginning of this novel was superbly engrossing, as things go pear shaped in spectacular fashion, descriptively you are right in there with the desperate survivors, I read the first 25% of this novel in record time. Then things settle down somewhat with more introspection from Edgar when his family are swooped away and he has little time to do anything except, well, run after them.

Teaming up with a hotch potch of other survivors a kind of twisted type of road trip begins as Edgar attempts to catch up to his family before they are beyond his reach. Literally by running after them. Across destroyed landscape, facing down danger and erm ok he's still a bit whiny really. But it is SO ENGAGING. The rest of the story also encompasses a sort of coming of age for Edgar as he realises what is actually important, hey it doesnt matter how old you are you can still suddenly come into your own. I liked this aspect of the story very much.

As for Bryce well. I'm not even going to go into that, he was our light relief and our conscience in a lot of ways - definitely a character I'd like to know more about away from the rest. Little small request to the author there perhaps?

Overall I really enjoyed this one, I read it over 2 sittings whilst gulping down lots of cups of tea, it is one of those books that you just bang through because you have to know where the journey ends. I was rooting for Edgar and wanting to slap him for the majority of the time, equalling a recommended tag from me.

Profile Image for Mel (Epic Reading).
917 reviews283 followers
November 13, 2017
The first four chapters would make an amazing short story about an asteroid(s) impact on Earth. I rate those four chapters 5 out of 5. And then the rest of the book comes... and ruins the magic.

The world is scorched, people die, horribleness ensues, and through it all our annoying, whiny lead character (an overweight, disengaged father of 2) leads us on his painfully boring trek.
I'm actually not sure why I kept reading The End of the World Running Club to the end. So let's look at what was good and what was bad.

The 4 Great Things
1) Like I said the first four chapters are fantastic. I absolutely loved them. Read them and make up your own ending.

2) The title, The End of the World Running Club, is clever given where the book heads. I do appreciate the sarcasm and irony that is used throughout the world ending story.

3) I loved that the lead character is an average 30-something man, Edgar. A father to two small children, with a wife, a moderate house, and a job he goes to because he must. He's the archetype of the regular middle class Joe existing in a first world society.

4) The end is a perfect combination of victory and sadness. A way to resolve a story such as this without coming out too optimistic is difficult and I do appreciate that Adrian J. Walker resisted the urge to tie it all in a bow.

The 4 Awful Things
Are you ready for this? The four things that were great are also the same four things I hated. Let me explain:

1) It is so frustrating to read four chapters of brilliance and then wait for that magic during the last 3/4 of the book. Only to realize as you approach the end that his boring, annoying dribble of a story is all you're going to get after the amazing start. Makes the rest of the book feel worse than it probably is.

2) In most running clubs you, you know, run. While a small part of this book is certainly about running (and it's clear our author has experienced a runners wall, high and all the emotions and pains that come with it); the reality is it's really just your average the world went to hell the moment we lost amenities book. The attempted scary, philosophical mini side stories fall flat. It's so sad to me that Walker created a world where so many things could be done and instead there is no depth to these events.

3) Edgar is the most annoying man ever. He constantly complains, gives up and is really lucky to have people with smarts and perseverance around him. I guess while I think I want books about regular people in extraordinary situations maybe I'm totally deluding myself. Maybe I read a lot of sci-fi and fantasy because I want exceptionally competent and capable characters..? All I know for certain is that Edgar made me want to throw him off a cliff; instead of cheering him up the cliff.

4) I am not a fan of a book that has you believe one premise throughout the entire book; only to throw that awry at the end. There was absolutely no reason for the moment of possible uncertainty that was written in. It's like it was put there because book clubs would salivate over it; not because it made sense to the story or added to the ending in any way. Additionally it felt forced and that is a huge pet peeve for me. Endings should make sense. There can be twists or reveals, of course, but they need to make sense and feel natural.

Just read Station Eleven instead
Maybe I've just read too many post apocalyptic books lately... or maybe I've just read the best of the best and now no one will ever measure up to Station Eleven (read it if you haven't; amazing piece of literature!). I was moved by Station Eleven, excited to tell everyone I knew about it and loved the side stories and philosophy. In this book the most moved I felt was to close the book and do something else.

Overall I'm not convinced that Edgar ever felt a genuine emotion towards anyone in his family, running club or whatnot. I'm not even sure he felt emotions about himself. When I should have been crying over events that happened I just felt 'meh'. When I should have felt joy and awe, I felt 'meh'. And when I should have been afraid for our characters and their safety I mostly wanted to cheer for the crazy people they were encountering because then maybe the story would end sooner. This just didn't do it for me. Call me out for being a hypocrite, I'm okay with that. Apparently a story about a boring person who barely feels emotions himself meant I just never had any emotions either (except ones that involved being frustrated and annoyed).

But seriously read the first four chapters and then imagine your own end; because they are brilliantly put together. And because the actually journey to the end is just a bunch of running, crazies and a whole mediocre mess of nothing.

To read this and more of my reviews visit my blog at Epic Reading

Please note: I received an eARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. This is an honest and unbiased review.
Profile Image for Gertie.
361 reviews280 followers
October 29, 2014
This book was a little surprising - it starts out with a bang, a character who is a bit miserable, yet relatable, who is struck by tragedy along with his family.

For a short period in the book (say 30% in?) I started to lose interest, thinking it was going to be a run of the mill post-apocalyptic book.

But then shit goes down. It's one thing after the other - and as most fans of post-apoc fiction will admit, we kind of like that sort of thing. Having the SHTF is a good thing in these kinds of stories.

By the time the title makes sense, the novel is more than half way through, and the gang is hit by still more obstacles — despite our penchant for the whole shit-hitting-fan business, I think most of us do want our main characters to overcome those obstacles. :-) Waiting to see what crazy challenge was going to come up next was part of what made this novel interesting; every time you think they've caught a break, something else comes up.

Many people would say this is a character driven novel. I'd have to agree, to an extent. While we don't really get too deep into the thoughts of our main character Edgar, nor the other characters who surround him, this story is very much about how the end of the world changes one man.
Profile Image for Stevie O'Connor.
Author 6 books56 followers
September 1, 2016
A really fantastic book that I would highly recommend. I don't want to spoil it, but this is a really emotionally intelligent book, full of dark humour, excellent plot twists and a certain kind of empathy and sweetness. If I hadn't been summer gallivanting, I'd have read this in a day. Defo going to check this author out for his other books....
Profile Image for Andy.
1,159 reviews76 followers
June 22, 2021
Wenn ich ein Buch nicht beende, da es schlecht geschrieben ist, bekommt es von mir auch nur einen Stern. Ich las neulich in einer Buchbesprechung, dass jemand den Autoren bereits mit einem Stern dafür belohnt, dass der das Buch schrieb. Ich fragte ihn, ob er auch so handeln würde, wenn besagtes Buch ein Musikstück wäre und er gezwungen, ein 90 Minuten langes Konzert davon voller Kakophonie zu ertragen. Lautes Tastengelächter seinerseits war die Antwort. Na also. Das ist es. Von mir gäbe es hier nämlich volle fünf Sterne, hätte der Autor das Buch
nicht geschrieben.

Warum? Da möchte ich gar nicht weiter ins Detail gehen. Andere vor mir taten das bereits ausgezeichnet. Nur so viel, Ed unser Protagonist ist ein Idiot. Dabei nehme ich an, dass dieser Umstand dem Autoren, als er diese Figur schuf, überhaupt nicht bewusst war. Der gute Ed hat den IQ einer altbackenen Semmel. Und mit der selben Intelligenz wurde auch sein Umfeld geschaffen incl. Plot.
Beispiel "Menschenflecken" (nicht meine Wortschöpfung), die bei großer Hitze entstehen wie einer Atomexplosion, findet man direkt neben alten Postern, die etwas zerfleddert sind aber immerhin. Solche Patzer gibt es immerzu.
Was ich noch kritisieren muss, sind solche linkischen Tricks wie Zeitsprünge, wenn man es als Autor nicht gebacken bekommt, diese für den Leser interessanten Ereignisse intellektuell umzusetzen. Die gesamte Katastrophe z.B. läuft für den Leser als lahmes Kammerspiel ab mit überirdischem Gerumpel und Hitze. Und dann ist es drei 🤔 Wochen später.
So wie "The Road" ein Meisterwerk ist Die Straße by Cormac McCarthy
ist dieser Roman das komplette Gegenteil.
Profile Image for F.R..
Author 31 books199 followers
September 21, 2016
The apocalypse has arrived and a man is forced to run (pretty much) from Scotland to Cornwall to find the family which has been evacuated ahead of him.

There’s a decidedly metropolitan middle-class viewpoint to this end of the world story. I suppose I should have expected that from the title, as a running club is a particularly middle-class pursuit. It’s made more noticeable though by the fact all the human threats they face come from either the working class or country folk. They come from the ‘other’ as seen by a middle-class man who had a nice house in the suburbs. The argument could be made that the book tries to mitigate against this by having two of the running club be from working class backgrounds, but when filtered through the viewpoint of our middle class narrator, they remain different and other to him. It doesn’t matter if he somewhat bonds with them, if a certain reliance does build up over the course of the tale, they’re still not really his type of people.

Much more than a book about the end of the world, this is a story about an inadequate husband and father who is trying to improve himself. But the apocalyptic scenario offers a number of scary, thrilling and inspiring moment to complement the navel gazing.
Profile Image for Elaine.
1,624 reviews1 follower
August 21, 2020
As a runner for the last 14 years, I looked forward to reading The End of the World Running Club because I was hoping to read about a runner who uses his formidable skills to get to his family and/or save the world.

Well, the joke's on me because that's not what I got!

** Minor spoilers ahead **

Life is hard for Edgar Hill.

He's a fat, pitiful, douchey, waste of space of a man, father and husband.

I think he may be clinically depressed but as I read on, I realized he was worse than that.

He's just a loser with no ambitions, no drive, no motivation so even though he lucked out on marrying a decent woman and being blessed with two healthy, beautiful children, he still hates himself.

He's considering how much easier his mediocre life would be if the world ended.

And then it does.

Meteors strike the UK, obliterating much of the country and turning it into a wasteland.

After being rescued by the military, Ed's perspective still hasn't changed much when he meets a few men at the barracks and goes on gathering missions with them, once again ignoring his family and their needs, relegating parental duties to his long suffering wife.

Will someone remind me why these two got married in the first place? I don't feel the love between them at all.

When he and his friends are out on a mission and return to discover his family have been relocated to another facility, the group sets out on a dangerous journey to rejoin his family.

When two of the men betray them and abscond with their only vehicle, Ed decides to make the last several hundred miles by running.

Even though he's a whale and has never participated in any exercise. Ever.

And he mentions that he hates to run.

He hates those kinds of people, he says more than once, those people who wear shiny, tight clothes and have sleek muscles.

He says this so many times he sounds like a broken record. I guess this is supposed to endear readers to him, to make us think "Wow, he hates to exercise so much but he's willing to run all those miles to get to his family, he must love them."

Nope, that's not it at all. Ed is just being Ed; complaining and whining about exercise because he hates to do it.

And once again, due to his bratty family, he will do what he hates to get to them.

Woe for him to be saddled with such a demanding family.

Off they go, Ed, Harvey, the other dude whose name I can't remember and don't care about and Grimes, the only female lead in this entire apocalyptic mess of a story that could have used an edit and reduced it by 150 pages.

There are no women in this story who aren't meek, psychotic or all of the above, minus Ed's wife, and his friends are all middle aged or elderly men.

The group encounter both friends and foes, nothing original about the horrors they encounter in the wasted land that is now Scotland, minus the ridiculous female version of Negan I've ever read in the form of Jenny Rae.

But the biggest surprise for me was the ending. I liked it.

Edgar gets his comeuppance and exactly what he always wanted. To get away from his family.

This is one of the worst books about the apocalypse I've ever read, more so because it features my favorite activity, running, and turned it into a selfish, sexist, chauvinistic theme and proves that even when the world ends, sexism will never die.
Profile Image for Sophie Crane.
3,923 reviews123 followers
February 5, 2020
I wasn't expecting a lot and have read quite a few books that could be described as similar, for example The Girl With All the Gifts, but this was different for two reasons. The first is the detail of the changes to the world and landscape in which the story is set which separates both the characters and the reader very dramatically from that which we consider as normal and take comfort from. The second and most significant detail is the study of character and humanity, or lack of it, not just of the main characters but of all those who have survived and continue to do that against the odds. I'd like to think this was a very pessimistic view of how society and survivors would behave and reform, but the thing that scares me most is that it probably isn't. A good read and makes you think about what you really have now and take for granted.
Profile Image for LenaRibka.
1,436 reviews418 followers
June 18, 2021

3,5 stars

I am somewhere between 3 and 4 stars for this one. A strong beginning and a very unusual ending that all together make an interesting post-apocalyptic novel. A dragging middle part, but maybe because I expected more actions and was unprepared for a slow pace trying to be philosophical.

What I learned: we need the world end and a target to start to run (to lose the weight and rid of our laziness). Oh yes...I found the answer....
Profile Image for K.N..
Author 2 books33 followers
August 20, 2015

I waffled a bit on my rating for this book. I definitely had some grumbles while reading it, but then I got to that ending, one of the most perfect endings I've ever read, and my earlier protests felt petty.

There were many things I loved about this book. I loved the protagonist, Ed, and all his admitted flaws. He read like a solid, real person. I felt like I could reach out and touch him, he was so real.

I loved the supporting characters. Harvey in particular was like some fantastic and mystical Australian god and probably my favorite. I was as in awe of him as Ed was by the end. I loved the UK setting. I loved the descriptions and depictions of running, and I hate actual running! But this book made me almost want to give it another try. Perhaps if there weren't two feet of snow outside, I might have!

Now for the grumbles... I wasn't always on board with the depictions of the other survivors Ed came across along the way.

There were also a few "bumps" along the way that had me raging.

Even with its (very few) flaws, I loved this book. I highly recommend it, and I'll very likely return to it, as well as check out the author's other work.

Profile Image for Athena (OneReadingNurse).
734 reviews106 followers
June 15, 2022
I am still on my scifi binge and have not read a dystopian in a while.  The End of the World Running Club hits all the right points for a dystopian but fell short over all for me and I'm blaming it on 1) the audio and 2) the ending.

When I read these types of books, the primary questions in my mind are "Ok, how far will these characters go to survive, and what keeps them going? What flavor does the ending leave for both humanity and our remaining characters?"


As I said it hits all the points of a good dystopian. There's a cataclysmic event, despair, survival, hope and hopelessness, the exploration of human nature, an incredible journey, etc. Everything the book should have.  There are helpful friends and harmful scum along the way, complete with all the obstacles you'd expect in a cross country run through a landscape devastated by asteroids.  It also takes place in the UK which is not something that I see so frequently in these types of novels.

That said, I had mixed feelings about where the book ended, and I think a lot of my overall negative feelings are influenced by the fact that the audiobook narrator's voice got so annoying that I had to close it down and buy the ebook.

I really liked the beginning because Ed, the narrator, started at the end of the story with the description of three graves that he was thinking of digging up to prove his sanity.  Or had he already lost it? He talked about beliefs and it set the book up for the potential to be a mirage.  The whole beginning was absolutely wonderful as the asteroids occurred and then the family was trapped in the cellar. I felt like it went slowly downhill once Ed & Co started the journey.

At the end, again focusing on the graves, Edgar made a big point of bringing into question whether or not the events he told actually happened, versus what he apparently believed happened at the end. So... I don't really know what to believe happened at the end and I wasn't in the mood for that much literary ambiguity at the end of the book. With Beth alive to be the focus of book two, it points to events being as Edgar actually told ... But who knows.

Anyway, I got truly annoyed with the book about the time that Jenny Rae came in. Whether or not my annoyance should give the author more points, I'm not sure. I tend to be super picky with dystopian and this one had a lot of really good elements, and some overdone ones. Like a large, borderline schizophrenic woman that wreaks havoc and is the last person in the world that should be in charge of anything, but would definitely come out on top in the apocalypse.  This is an archetypal dystopian character and I kind of just feel like somebody would have shot her before she came to any kind of power. That whole section was hard, (but heck yeah go Mr Angelbeck!)

Ed's character arc from inviting the end of the world to running across a continent for his family was lovely.  He's a morally gray character - as is everyone in a dystopian - and I liked who he became. Harvey, Bryce and Grimes were good characters too but we didn't get too much of a good look at them. The book took an appropriately deep dive into humanity in general as well as what keeps us going in the dark. Running not so much although there were a few long distance insights and I am in awe that the untrained people ran so far.

I would recommend this one to people wanting to try a dystopian, but probably not hardcore fans of the genre. My favorite one to recommend (after The Road) is A Boy and his Dog at the End of the World. As far as this one, I would read a book version and stay away from the audio. I just did not like the narrator's voice because he always sounded so happy, regardless of what was going on, and there was an awful lot of loud yelling. The guy also could absolutely not do female voices and eventually I shut it off and bought the ebook, which was a better experience.
Profile Image for Marianne.
3,502 reviews178 followers
January 22, 2018
The End of the World Running Club is the first novel by British author, Adrian J. Walker. Edgar Hill is a husband and father of two, albeit not a very good one. He is quick to shift responsibility for care of Alice and Arthur on his hard-working wife, Beth. Ed is pretty lazy, if he can get away with it; he also drinks too much, eats too much and he definitely does not like running or, for that matter, physical exertion of any sort. But now he is running. He is running from Edinburgh to Cornwall.

Ed and his family were very lucky (no real thanks to Ed) to survive the apocalyptic event that ravaged Edinburgh, Britain, and probably much of the Northern Hemisphere. And now everything is different. There is some sort of rescue imminent, but somehow Ed and a few others miss out. His family is on the other side of the country, and he is desperate to join them. A group of seven set out: three soldiers, who seem to take charge, and four men from very different backgrounds. They soon realise that no vehicle is going to get them where they need to be. But can a grossly unfit man, even with the best of intentions and the most fervent encouragement, run there?

While the post-apocalyptic novel has been done many, many times, Walker’s take on it is a good one. As well as the tensions within the group, there are the encounters with other survivors. Of course, the extremes of human behaviour are exhibited: the group do their best to maintain decency, but there are those whose focus on their own survival leads them just one tiny step short of cannibalism. Gross cruelty, selfishness, cowardice and a hunger for power are countered with valour, incredible kindness, amazing generosity and altruism.

Walker is skilled at portraying the sort of hopeless, sort of misfitting male, as readers of The Last Dog on Earth will know, and although Ed Hill is nothing like Reginald Hardy, there are similarities. He gives them both wise observations: “I believe what I believe to make life less terrifying. That’s all beliefs are: stories we tell ourselves to stop being afraid. Beliefs have very little to do with the truth.” Certainly, Ed does have some insight: “I was no hunter, no engineer, no fighter. I was nothing the world needed me to be. Nothing that my family needed me to be. I did what my body wanted me to do: eat, sleep, stay still, f%ck, eat, sleep.”

Walker’s descriptive prose is often gorgeous. On a glass of whiskey: “I took a particularly large mouthful. It was glorious, nothing short of it. The way I was feeling – bone soaked and frozen – a capful of cheap supermarket rum would have done the job, but this was something special. I could taste it immediately, as if a door I’d never seen had been flung open onto a long, wide landscape of forest, earth and ocean, tall stone pillars clawed with brine and weed, cold starry skies, ancient, candlelit rooms, deep eyes, short lives and whispered promises. I felt as if somebody had filled my head with a thousand years of secret, guarded memories.” A superb debut novel.
Profile Image for Karen.
493 reviews95 followers
March 31, 2021

This story was such a fast paced read for me. I felt the clock ticking the whole time I was reading this. At first, it is just about survival and then it was about Edgar getting to his family safely. The story starts off with a bang as the asteroids are hitting his hometown that morning. The received almost no warning and the panic was something I actually felt for him. Edgar has a wife and two small children. The youngest is still breastfeeding, so it is imperative that he maintain food and keep everyone alive. Edgar isn’t exactly the best man for the job, but he is all they have.

I found Edgar to be a realistic character. He admits that he avoided dealing the chores of rearing children as much as humanly possible. He commends his wife for taking up his slack. He admits to not being a good husband or father. Edgar is overweight and lazy. He fully admits all that and so right away I liked his humility. He is probably the last hero you would expect. I rooted so hard for him even though he probably didn’t deserve to be reunited with the family he took so for granted.

Edgar is surrounded by a unlikely group of people as he travels to the coast. Some of the characters were pretty well flushed out and I had no trouble telling people apart. We not only get a good look at Edgar’s motivation, but we also see the strengths and motivations of some of the people he travels with. I didn’t understand some of the characters motivations, but I am guessing a character like Edgar wouldn’t care either. Also, I didn’t understand his wife, or Edgar’s marriage, at all but I could see that he was really determined to get back to his kids, especially his little girl.

My favorite part about this book is how Edgar comes to terms with running. The author obviously understand what it takes to motivate a body that has been sedate to run and then keep on running.

“Before the first step, before the first muscle twitches, before the first neuron fires, there comes a choice: stand still or move. You choose the right option. Then you repeat that choice one hundred thousand times. You don’t run thirty miles, you run a single step many times over. That’s all running is; that’s all anything is. If there’s somewhere you need to be, somewhere you need to get to, or if you need to change or move away from where or what you are, then that’s all it takes. A hundred thousand simple decisions, each one made correctly. You don’t have to think about the distance or the destination or about how far you’ve come or how far you have to go. You just have to think about what’s in front of you and how you’re going to move it behind you.”

The group faces a lot of danger and encounters some strange groups who all have their own agenda. Between the danger and fatigued described by the author by the runners themselves, I felt so much during this read. Edgar wasn’t the one I would pick to run across the country, but he ends up earning back some dignity as he travels and faces the obstacles. I have to admit that some of this story seemed far fetched, but I enjoyed going along with Edgar as he raced to get to his family.
Profile Image for Rose.
795 reviews47 followers
April 5, 2019
Ed is an average Edinburgh guy - married, two kids, likes to have a pint or two after work, has become increasingly out of shape over the years. When asteroids hit the earth, it takes weeks before he and his family are rescued from their cellar but then they are stuck together in a shelter. Rather than just being with his family, he volunteers to spend hours away trying to salvage supplies ‘for the good of the group’. It was while he was out on a salvage run that everyone else at the shelter was rescued by helicopter and flown to a port where the plan was to send all the rescued by boat to South Africa where there was little devastation. The few who were left have no choice but to try to travel the five hundreds miles to the port. Not so easy when asteroids have ripped up the countryside.

I thought this was just going to be an average book but it was really quite good. Ed is whiney and mostly useless, and if this were a real apocalypse he would probably be one of the first to die (probably because someone killed his whiney ass) but he and his unlikely friends do alright. Well, not really...a few die, Ed is maimed, and but Ed learned some valuable life lessons...which may have been more useful to him before the world ended but better late than never.

I really enjoyed reading it and as apocalypses go, this one was fairly realistic.
Profile Image for Mark Harrison.
740 reviews21 followers
July 9, 2017
Well this was great fun. After the country is decimated by meteors survivors must cross the UK by Christmas to escape to the Southern hemisphere. The lead character is a worthless husband and worse father and when separated from the family finds his only recourse is to run to safety. They meet various people en route, most not very nice, and there is a nice twist at the end. I note some runners have complained about the lack of authentic running content but they have missed the point. Good, decent adventure story.
Profile Image for Michelle Morrell.
1,041 reviews75 followers
October 23, 2017
A normal fellow finds himself a country and an apocalypse away from his family, with time running out. What will one person do to fix the mistakes of the past and have a chance at a future?

I think this does a good job of contemplating the differences between living and surviving, and how what seems muddled in one state is crystal clear in another.

I read this from start to finish in one day. Partially as a palate cleanser after the megathon that was Dragonbone Chair and partially because I found it quite engaging. (Good apocalyse, too!)
Profile Image for Figgy.
678 reviews219 followers
March 21, 2018

A good read with plenty of character building and growth, and some varied ways in which people deal with and survive the end of the world/normal society. Nothing entirely unpredictable here, but it was enjoyable, and there were some really great quotables throughout about humanity, figuring out your place in the world, family, and what happens when your whole world is shaken up around you.
Profile Image for Tracey the Lizard Queen.
250 reviews41 followers
June 7, 2016
Originally reviewed here: http://thequeenofblades.blogspot.co.u...

3.75 Stars

*I received an e-copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Ok, so you are an overweight, lazy, almost alcoholic 35 year old father of two. Your kids annoy you, your wife tolerates you - god knows why - and you are a failure. A failure as a man, a failure as a father and not much of a husband either. And then the worlds ends.

Well that escalated quickly.

Naturally, I disliked Edgar from the very start. He is a lazy, drunk, fat slob. A crappy father and even worse husband. But he grew on me, my initial dislike evolved into something akin to sympathy. It really sucks being a modern man. I'm a woman and even I can see that.

I recognized parts of Edgar in some of my male friends, and even in my own husband. They are all drifting around not knowing their place in the world. Their role was always to protect and provide, but these days most women are capable of protecting and providing for themselves and their kids. I'm not suggesting we all go back to the 50's, I like my freedom, thanks. I'm just saying I get it.

So anyway, the world ends, and Edgar is forced to step up and take care of his family. So does he? Will he protect his wife, their little girl and infant son? Well, not quite. He tries, he really tries. When he's not avoiding them. Maybe not them, but the responsibility they bring along with them. All he wants to do is play boy scout while the army takes care of everything.

After one of his scouting missions in Edinburgh goes wrong, he returns to the army base, along with a few others, to discover that his wife and kids are gone. They were evacuated in helicopters along with everyone else. The helicopters are coming back, but they can't stay at the base. Some of the inhabitants of the city are not so friendly, and now they know where they are, thanks to Edgar. They decide to head south, there are boats leaving in a few months, taking people away from the ravaged country they once called home.

Along the way they encounter some very difficult circumstances. Being at the army base they have been pretty shielded from the worst of it. Once they leave they see what has really become of the country, and its citizens. They have all had to do things to survive. Bad things. Violent things. Selfish things. None of them have lasted this long without acquiring some taint on their souls.

Its not until about halfway through that the 'running' actually begins. They soon discover that the roads are totally impassable by car. Every road is a wasteland of craters and wreckage. And so they plan on running. All the way from Carlisle to Cornwall. If you are not familiar with English geography, its about 450 miles.

This book is as much about the world ending and the things people will do to survive as it is about Edgar's battle with his own personal demons. He is constantly assaulted with his own shame and failure as a person. If only he had been better. If only he had helped out more. If only he didn't spend every evening scoffing a bottle of wine. If only he'd been prepared.

I'd like to take this opportunity to point out the unsung hero of this book. His wife. She was dealing with exactly the same thing as Edgar, even before the world ended. Its just as tough being a modern woman, and yet she got on the chopper. She saved herself and her kids.
Profile Image for Jennifer.
381 reviews31 followers
January 4, 2015
I have seen this book lurking about the past few months. I even got it for a "deal" on my e-reader. I don't know why I choose to read these kind of stories on airplanes, but I do. I even got up at 5am to finish this story so the family would not bother me. I do not know what I was expecting. I cannot tell you what to expect. Once you start reading it, the Title makes perfect sense. I can say that I along with Edgar hate running. I really feel the same way he does about the whole subject of running. (see how I turned him into a real person). But you are asking what does running have to do with the end of the world? I suggest you read the book. I think that we all have a little Edgar in us.
Profile Image for Krissysch.
260 reviews30 followers
November 2, 2019
Abgebrochen nach ca. der Hälfte
Leider konnte mich die Geschichte absolut nicht packen. Der Schreibstil war in Ordnung, aber mir fehlte die Spannung und ich hatte Probleme, mich in den Protagonisten hineinzuversetzen.
Profile Image for Björn.
46 reviews
November 7, 2016

Reichlich simpel strukturierte und imaginierte Dystopie. Die britischen Inseln (und vermutlich große Teile des gesamten Erdballs) werden von Asteroideneinschlägen zerstört. Ein Protagonist wird von seiner Familie getrennt und macht sich zu Fuß auf den Weg, um als geläuterter Mann Reunion mit Frau und Kindern feiern zu können. Vom Drückeberger und Trinker wird er durch buchstäblich körperliche Ertüchtigung und Läuterung zum guten Mann und Vater.

Zugegeben: Ich bin sowas von nicht die Zielgruppe für diese Erzählung. Als glühender Verehrer des New Yorker TOR-Verlags war ich jedoch begeistert, dass es nun eine Kooperation mit dem S. Fischer Verlag gibt und daher musste ich mir einfach die erste FISCHER-Tor-Veröffentlichung holen. So kam ich also zu den Asteroiden.

"Am Ende aller Zeiten" ... Wie "The Walking Dead", nur mit Asteroiden statt "Walkern". Ohne jegliche Überraschungen oder Twists. So generisch die Geschichte am roten Plot-Faden entlanggeführt wird (und wirklich oft und oft an "The Walking Dead" erinnert), so ist sie durchsetzt von metaphorischen Allgemeinplätzen.
Exzessiv mit fragiler Männlichkeit und Vaterschaft beschäftigt. Wenn man für die Dystopie konstatiert, dass sie immer Bruchstellen markiert, diffuse Bedrohungsszenarien bündelt (gesellschaftliche Strukturen, die jeden Moment zusammenbrechen könnten; die bedrohte Kleinfamilie; das kaputte Eigenheim; die bedrohte Nation), so ist es hier das Mann-Sein und die Vaterschaft, die quasi von oben zertrümmert werden.

Bereits zu Anfang der Erzählung wird im Eltern-Kind-Spieleparadies für alle Männer konstatiert, und damit die Marschrichtung vorgegeben:
"Ich schluckte meine aufsteigenden Magensäfte runter, sah mir das alles eine Weile an und fragte mich, was sich alle [sic!] Männer ständig fragten: Wie zur Hölle war ich hier bloß reingeraten?" (S. 11f.)
Notiz an den Autoren: Nein - nicht alle Männer.

Und immer weiter ist das erste Drittel des Romans mit bedrohter Männlichkeit beschäftigt:

"Männerhöhlen, Schuppen, Garagen, Arbeitszimmer, Dachböden, Hobbykeller. Orte, wo "Männer" - oder ihre Entsprechungen im 21. Jahrhundert - noch unter sich sein können." (S. 31)

"Das war meine Bestimmung in dieser Welt. Ich war ein Überlebenskünstler. Ein Mensch. Ein Mann." (S. 58)

"Ich war kein Jäger, kein Handwerker, kein Krieger. Ich wusste nichts und ich konnte nichts und garantiert nicht für meine Familie sorgen." (S. 58)

"Das Problem ist dabei natürlich, dass sich niemand gern am durchschnittlichen Mann orientiert. Der Durchschnitt, das ist zu wenig." (S. 65)

In dieser Logik geht der Roman abschließend so weit, allen nicht-Vätern quasi das Existenzrecht abzusprechen - wahrscheinlich die unangenehmste Stelle des Buchs:

"Du weißt nicht, was das heißt, jemanden zu beschützen [...] was es heißt, nicht beschützt zu werden. Du hast keine Ahnung, wie wichtig das ist. Einfach für jemanden da zu sein. [...] weil du nur für dich selbst da bist. [...] Weil du nie Vater werden wirst. Vielleicht hast du recht, und dich braucht niemand zu beschützen. Vielleicht bist du es einfach nicht wert." (S. 150)

....und dennoch habe ich bis zum Schluss durchgehalten.
Das Dystopie-würdige, tragische Ende (eine der wenigen immmersiven Szenen des gesamten Romans) hat das Buch dann noch auf eine 1.5 gehoben.
Profile Image for Buchdoktor.
1,880 reviews134 followers
August 23, 2016
Ein Meteoritensturm hat die britischen Inseln verwüstet. Ein Jahr zuvor schon wurden von Astrophysikstudenten verdächtige Veränderungen in der Nähe eines Jupitermondes beobachtet. Die folgende Hitzewelle fackelte das Land förmlich ab. Selbst Zahlen der Toten und Überlebenden könnten das Ausmaß dieser Katastrophe nicht begreifbar machen.

Der Icherzähler Ed konnte sich allein in ein Haus retten, das kurz davor ist, ins Meer abzurutschen. In seinem begrenzten, winzigen Universum könnte er der einzige Überlebende sein, abgeschnitten von Informationen aus der Außenwelt. Vor der Katastrophe war Ed ein verbitterter, übergewichtiger Mann, ausgelaugt von Beruf, dem täglichen Pendeln und den Ansprüchen seiner Frau und seiner Kinder. Eds Gedanken schweifen zurück zu dem Tag, der für ihn das Ende der Zivilisation werden sollte. Im zerstörten Edinburgh gab es keinen Strom mehr, die meisten Bewohner waren von der unvorstellbaren Hitzewelle getötet worden, Überlebende flüchteten aus der Stadt. „Wenn der Wind weht“, Geschichte einer Atomkatastrophe, hatte Ed als Kind lange Alpträume bereitet. Nun verschanzt er sich mit Frau und Kindern in einem Kellerraum – ein sinnloses Unterfangen, wenn man keine Vorräte angelegt hat. Für das Überleben seiner Familie ist von Ed nichts zu erwarten, in technischen Fragen ist er ein Versager. Bei der angeblichen Evakuierung ganz Englands wird Ed von Beth und den Kindern getrennt und schlägt sich seitdem auf der Suche nach seiner Familie allein durch. Er will unbedingt den Süden Englands erreichen, ehe die Evakuierten das Land per Schiff verlassen werden.

Jedes apokalyptische Szenario ist zeitlich begrenzt; weil die Menschen den Wettlauf um Wasser und Lebensmittel zwangsläufig verlieren werden. Wenn alle auf der Flucht sind, wer kann Lebensmittel anbauen, Verletzte pflegen oder seine Gruppe gegen Konkurrenten verteidigen? Wer hätte die körperliche Konstitution, eine Krise in diesem Ausmaß durchzustehen? Wem kann man Glauben schenken, wie interpretiert man die Motive konkurrierender Gruppen richtig? Wer führt, wer entscheidet, wer sorgt für Disziplin? Schon bald gibt es nichts mehr zu entscheiden, weil andere längst entschieden haben. Wie zu erwarten war, schließt Ed sich auf seinem Pilgerweg ans Meer anderen Flüchtlingen an. Er kämpft mit allen Mitteln um seinen Platz, getrieben von der Sehnsucht nach seiner Familie. Ein Briefträger aus dem australischen Outback und eine ehemalige Soldatin bringen ihre Fähigkeiten ins Team ein; die Gruppendynamik ähnelt einem verminten Gelände.

Adrian J Walkers postapokalyptische Geschichte des 35-jährigen Schotten Ed wirkt äußerlich wie eine vollgeschriebene Kladde, deren ausgefranste Blätter von einem Gummiband (in geprägter Lackoptik) zusammengehalten werden. Der Kampf kleiner Gruppen Überlebender gegeneinander hält den Spannungsbogen in Walkers Endzeitroman gespannt, auch wenn ein Icherzähler sicher überleben wird, um seine Geschichte niederschreiben zu können. Das höchst emotionale Ende ließ für mich die Frage offen, ob Ed sich auf seinem Weg auch persönlich weiterentwickelt hat.
Profile Image for Chris Dietzel.
Author 27 books406 followers
August 28, 2020
This is probably the most misled I've been by a cover, title, and story summary. From the tempered cover, I assumed this would be a literary take on the apocalypse. It's actually written as an adventure/thriller. Also, from the cover, I assumed it was about a guy running on his own but he's actually part of a group. From the title and the description, I assumed running the long distance would be the focus of the story but it actually only starts half way through the book and only accounts for roughly 30 pages of it. The rest is your typical diversion-and-escape type of adventure.

As for the rating itself, apocalyptic thrillers based on unlikable characters just aren't my cup of tea, and for me it was the exact opposite of Cormac McCarthy's The Road, which I absolutely loved.
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