Rob Hadgraft became interested in running after he and a group of fellow newspaper sub-editors ran a 26-mile private marathon across rural Suffolk, to raise funds for a local cause.
That was nearly 30 years ago. Hadgraft is now approaching 800 races on road, country and track. Born in 1955 and based in Essex, he rarely troubles the elite performers near the front of the pack these days.
This is Hadgraft’s fourth athletics history, following acclaimed biographies of Alf Shrubb, Walter George and ‘Deerfoot’. He has also had eight football titles published by Desert Island Books.
Longlisted for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award 2010. Rob Hadgraft tells the remarkable life story of the legendary long distance runner Arthur Newton. An inspiring read.
This is the first full biography of Sydney Wooderson, Britain's most popular sportsman during the 1930s and 1940s. A more unlikely sports hero is hard to imagine - he was small, shy and ran in thick glasses and baggy shorts. The public loved seeing him beat bigger and more muscular `Johnny Foreigners', symbolising Britain's bulldog spirit. At the 1936 `Hitler Olympics' Sydney secretly photographed the Fuhrer, a snap recently uncovered in a dusty attic and published here! Against all odds he broke world records and won titles galore, and for years was the world's fastest miler. He was widely expected to be first under four minutes, only for war to intervene. Despite his fame, Sydney took the daily train to his London office job, happy to be anonymous in dark suit, hat and briefcase. Bad eyesight meant his war service was restricted to the home front, doing his bit running for war charities before falling seriously ill. He bounced back to become the European 5,000 metres champion and English national cross-country champion. Sir Roger Bannister was among many to name him their No.1 inspirational figure. During his glory days Sydney was best-known sportsman in the land, but his shyness and dislike of publicity saw him become a forgotten hero. The book covers every race from his school days to retirement, describes his life in austerity Britain.
LUTON TOWN, a top-flight club throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, suffered a catastrophic slide out of the Football League, helped on their way by stringent and controversial penalties imposed by the football authorities. After eighty-nine years among the elite, this well supported club found itself, in 2009, competing alongside part-timers in non-League circles. It was the start of five years of hell for the Hatters and their huge, loyal fanbase. Despite being a massive fish in a tiny pool, their passage back to the League took longer and was more painful than anyone ever expected. Life-long supporter and author Rob Hadgraft relives the remarkable ups and downs in this month-by-month tale of Luton Town's journey from the edge of the abyss back to the promised land.