The Little Wonder: The Untold Story of Alfred Shrubb - World Champion Runner
by Rob Hadgraft
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British author Rob Hadgraft specialises in biographies of marathon and ultra-distance runners. All are available worldwide as ebooks. His five subjects to date are:1. The Little Wonder: The Untold Story of Alfred Shrubb - World Champion Runner.2. Beer and Brine: The Making of Walter George - Athletics' First Superstar.3. Deerfoot: Athletics' Noble Savage - From Indian Reservation to Champion of the World.4. Tea with Mr Newton: 100,000 Miles - The Longest Protest March in History.5. Plimsolls On, Eyeballs Out: The Rise and Horrendous Fall of Marathon Legend Jim Peters. He was small and wiry and ran like a startled deer. In his first big race, in 1900, astonished onlookers labelled him The Little Wonder a nickname the press latched on to and which stuck. Within a few years Alfred Shrubbs fame had spread worldwide and he laid claim to being athletics first international superstar. Yet it was not long before his many achievements were little more than fading numbers in dusty record books. He had become largely a forgotten hero of British sport. This the first biography of a truly remarkable athlete and adventurer puts matters right. Shrubbs memory is resurrected, exactly 100 years after he shattered numerous world records. Shrubb was a quiet, working class lad from rural Sussex. His talent was discovered one night when, in his working boots, he raced a fire engine. Within a short time he had become county, national and international champion, and was soon amassing titles, trophies and world records. Some of his 1904 times remained unbeaten for almost half a century. His adventures around the world, his solo victories against teams of relay runners, and his disputes with the authorities, make his a truly unique story. Banned for life for breaking amateurisms strict code, he turned to professional racing in North America. His subsequent exploits beggar belief. In some cases his opponents were not even human. Shrubb was a one-off whose story demanded to be told. This book details the colourful tales of a man who truly deserved the soubriquet The Little Wonder. In his day he was the talk of the land. He was so famous that in 1912 his name entered the English language. In his novel The Lost World, Arthur Conan Doyle described a perfect Shrubb, and his readers knew exactly who that was and what it meant. Alfred Shrubb was simply the greatest runner the world had ever seen. On Guy Fawkes Night, November 5th, 1904, The Little Wonder had shattered seven more world records to add to his collection. He was so fast, he even raced horses. But posterity has not been kind to his memory. Shrubb is today all but forgotten. This book will change that
- Desert Island Books, October 2012
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