Review: The Pants of Perspective by Anna McNuff

‘The Pants of Perspective’ is a love story. Love for a country, love for the goodness inherent in people and love for running.

Anna is just like us. The same hopes, same fears and the same self doubts. The only real difference between her and us is that when we stress about our first 5k, 10k, half or full, she is psyching herself up for a 3000k trek from New Zealand’s South Island to the North; working out if she should trek through a deserted forest or find a well-trodden route through marked trails.

The Pants of Perspective is a true story. It’s a tale of overcoming the elements and your own self imposed limitations or fears.  It’s a story of finding yourself, being satisfied with what you can accomplish and making life long friends with the help of remote huts, noodles and chocolate. I became immersed in this tale, following every step and looking at the convenient ‘Middle Earth’ map (If you know your Tolkein) to help me place where Anna had got to. I longed to see pictures of her route, the terrain and the companions along the way; her descriptive writing has painted a picture of a country I long to visit and a trail I want to see first-hand.

I loved this story. Its positivity is infectious. I think that’s what appealed to me the most. My own marathon journey is a struggle and I sometimes wonder how I am going to stick to or even get through my plan, but having a ‘book-friend’ like Anna has shown me that if I have a goal I can at least aim for something.  If I listen to my body I will stand a fighting chance of succeeding, when everything seems to fly against me. When I get up in the morning ready for a Long Slow Run all I really need is to put one foot in front of another and not be so hard on myself.

I think Anna would be the first to admit that this is not a ‘How to…’ guide. I imagine that any sane person would research carefully what they are about to do for the next 6 months; but that is part of the charm of this story. If you are thinking of running a trail there are sound pieces of advice hidden in the pages, but the main point here is how to overcome that inner negative voice that says you can’t do something. It allows you to follow and learn without imposing a set of rules.  In fact, it seems that anyone who tramps, walks or runs has their own set of rules. This story is a celebration of that degree of freedom that has the capacity to excite and petrify us in equal measure.  This story has the potential to awaken the spirit of adventure in even the most hardened couch-lover. My only question to any potential reader is ‘Anna ran 3 thousand kilometres; what are you planning to do?’



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