The Little Wonder

Spread the love

The Little Wonder – The Untold Story of Alfred Shrubb World Champion Runner
(Desert Island Books, 2004) by Rob Hadgraft.

In the summer of 2004 – exactly 100 years after Shrubb’s finest performances – the first full-length biography of the great runner was published in the UK. 

Written by freelance journalist and runner ROB HADGRAFT, and published by DESERT ISLAND BOOKS, the book has been acclaimed in the press and by athletics historians alike. It also won an award at the annual William Hill Sports Book of the Year Awards. It has been featured on TV and radio and in the national, local and sporting press.

The book can be ordered from all good bookshops in the UK, or by visiting the publishers’ website  where you will find a full description of the book and can click on the ‘Order Form’ link. You can also order by post (Desert Island Books, 7 Clarence Road, Southend-on-Sea, Essex SS1 1AN) telephone 01702 392908.  E-mail the publishers

Background to the book

WHEN runners gather after training for a sociable beer or two, they normally talk about little else but injuries and forthcoming races. This book proved an exception to that rule, because the idea to attempt a biography of Alf Shrubb was born during ‘happy hour’ at a certain sports resort in the Canary Islands! And instead of being one of those bar-room schemes that flounders in the cold light of day, this idea simply grew and grew!

Author Rob Hadgraft, a club runner himself, based in Chelmsford, Essex, said the more research he did into Shrubb’s fascinating life, the more he was convinced it was a tale that should be told in detail. Not only was Shrubb the greatest distance runner of his generation, he was a true adventurer, a pioneer with ideas and attitudes ahead of his time. Amazingly, his story had never before been told in full.

Some of the research for the book took place in Canada, the land where Shrubb spent his final years, and some in Australia where the narrative was actually written. While living temporarily in the southern hemisphere, the author was able to seek out the legendary runner Ron Clarke, who had so much in common with Shrubb in relation to their specialist distances, their record-breaking exploits and their tendency to attack from the front. Ron kindly agreed to write the Preface to the book, and it was fascinating to discover that even athletes of his calibre were filled with awe at some of Shrubb’s achievements.