Five Hour Pilgrim

Tom Cottrell

Standing on the edge of a midlife crisis, it seemed so easy to slip into a year of mediocrity and meaninglessness. Tom Cottrell decided on an alternative; he would run a marathon on every continent, raise money for the hospice he worked for and write a book to tell the story.  All within the year he turned 50. The purpose of his pilgrimage was to seek out and grow his Soul and to write a love letter to his family.

Tom’s early years were peppered with tragedy. His father died before he was born and his mother died early on in his life. He is the only survivor of an ambush while in the South African army fighting in Namibia. He is also the survivor of a horrific motor accident in which is brother-in-law was killed, leaving behind a young family. Told he would never be able to run because of his extensive injuries, he decided to give defiant yet dignified expression to these seemingly limiting circumstances.

Running marathons provide the backdrop and movement for a man who stands on centre stage and engages with his sprit guides and struggles to finish the quest. As he runs around the world he finds truth and wisdom from these guides while answering pointed questions from Terry Jack, a sports commentator who often interviews him while in the bath.

The narrative is autobiographical and written in the first person. More than running this is a story of a man who found himself and loved his family in the process.

Tom Cottrell writes with a raw honesty about events and feelings that most of us try to avoid, much less to express in public. His philosophy of goodness and indestructible optimism has been forged by hardship that began before his birth.  Yet he has never faltered.  How do we measure personal success? When you have read this book you will know that your definition can never again be the same.   Here is the story of a life lived to the full.  A life without the need for excuses. Not now. Not ever. – Professor Tim Noakes. University of Cape Town and Sports Science Institute of South Africa.  Author of Lore of Running.  

Husbandhood, fatherhood, Southafricanism, travelogue, success and failure and which is which, a pinch of Gibran and a dash of Descartes… Tom turns his runner’s eyes to a startlingly wide world, and records it with unveiled pen. – Denis Beckett. –  Award winning author, publisher, TV producer

Tom writes and runs in the heartbeat of every moment. The reader runs with him. – Dr. Dorian Haarhoff Former Professor of English Literature, University of Namibia. Writer, mentor, poet, storyteller Author of The Writer’s Voice.