Running for My Life by Rachel Cullen

Running for my life

My grateful thanks to Beth Eynon at Blink for an advanced reader copy of Running For My Life: How I Built a Better Me One Step At A Time by Rachel Cullen in return for an honest review.

Running For My Life: How I Built a Better Me One Step At A Time will be published by Blink, the adult non-fiction imprint of Bonnier Zaffre on 11th January 2018 and is available for purchase here.

Running For My Life: How I Built a Better Me One Step At A Time

Running for my life

Suffering from depression but desperate for ‘normality’Rachel Cullen found herself in failing relationships, the wrong career and a reliance on alcohol and chocolate to get her through each day. Stuck in an endless cycle of mental misery, she put on a pair of old trainers.

She’d never been able to think of herself as a ‘runner’ before, and the first time she forced herself out the door, she knew it would hurt. Everywhere. She just didn’t realise how much it would heal her, too.

Interspersed with Rachel’s real diary entries, from teenage non-runner to London Marathon finisher (just months after giving birth), she questions if she really can outrun her demons.

My Review


Running For My Life: How I Built a Better Me One Step At A Time

With a history of depression and self-loathing Rachel Cullen knows all about how hard life can be, but she also knows how to get back on track.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book, fearing it might be too introspective and personal an account for me to relate to, but I thought Running For My Life was excellent. Although it is non-fiction, Rachel Cullen has a literary turn of phrase so that at times this felt more like a narrative than an exposition. Rachel Cullen is not afraid to tell it like it is, with a healthy smattering of judiciously used expletives and just the right balance of diary extract, explanation and a wonderful first person account that draws the reader along with her journey and engrosses them in what she has to say. I liked the way in which the diary entries were not in chronological order as they show the way in which Rachel’s personality vacillated and fluctuated over time. Their out of synch inclusion reflected her life and attitudes over the years perfectly.

Although I have absolutely no interest in running a marathon, readers don’t need to have any of the same ambitions or problems as Rachel has endured to enjoy this book immensely.  However, I did indeed find many echoes of my own life (I was that round child who was useless at sport) or of those I know (I have a bi-polar family member who suffers from social anxiety disorder). Even if other readers have none of the same experiences, I think we’ve all held some self-doubt at some point in our lives, and the raw honesty of this writing allows us to comprehend fully exactly what Rachel has gone through. I feel I have a far better understanding of Rachel, of myself and of humanity having read Running for My Life.

I thought Running for My Life was honest, interesting and encouraging without being glib or simplistic. I recommend it most highly to those with mental health issues themselves or in people they know and equally to those who simply want a fascinating, surprisingly entertaining and informative read. It’s a super book.

About Rachel Cullen

Rachel Cullen

Rachel Cullen has always loved to write. She graduated from Northwestern University with Honors in Religious Studies and then earned her MBA from the NYU Stern School of Business with a focus in marketing and finance.

Before Rachel started writing, she worked in brand strategy consulting and marketing for over ten years, moving between San Francisco, London and Manhattan.

You can follow Rachel on Twitter @writtenbyrach. Rachel also has a blog and you can find her on Facebook.

3 thoughts on “Running for My Life by Rachel Cullen

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