End of the World Running Club: Apocalypse Fitness Preparation

The End of the World Running Club is a captivating post-apocalyptic novel by Adrian J. Walker. The book explores themes of hope, love, and resilience as it follows the story of flawed characters struggling to survive in a world that has been devastated by asteroids. Published by Del Rey UK, this dystopian tale has garnered attention from fans of the genre and even received praise from acclaimed author Stephen King, who describes it as “a real find.”

In the story, protagonist Edgar Hill finds himself separated from his family after a cataclysmic event destroys most of the Earth. With the world in chaos, Edgar is forced to embark on a desperate journey across the destroyed landscape to reunite with his loved ones. He joins a group of survivors who, like him, are motivated by love and hope as they run across the country to find safety. The novel presents a stark look at the human spirit and its capacity for endurance, even during the darkest of times.

Overview of the Novel

Author: Adrian J. Walker

Adrian J. Walker is an author interested in words, music, and technology. He graduated from the University of Leeds and had a career in software. His second novel, “The End of the World Running Club”, is a post-apocalyptic story that was a Simon Mayo Radio 2 book club choice.

Plot Summary

The novel “The End of the World Running Club” centers around the protagonist, Edgar Hill. Edgar lives in the United Kingdom and is thrust into a post-apocalyptic world following a series of asteroid strikes.

After the disaster, Edgar is determined to reunite with his family who are located on the other side of the country. With transportation options limited, he decides to embark on a cross-country running journey. The story focuses on Edgar’s struggles, determination, and personal growth as he faces various challenges and meets new people along the way. The role of running in the novel is significant, as it serves as a metaphor for hope, love, and endurance.

Though the novel is set in a dystopian world, “The End of the World Running Club” explores themes of resilience and the power of human connections and relationships in the face of adversity. This satisfying read is perfect for fans of science fiction and post-apocalyptic literature.

Key Themes


In Adrian J. Walker’s novel, The End of the World Running Club, the apocalyptic setting plays a significant role in shaping the story. The protagonist, Edgar Hill, is a flawed father and husband who is faced with the challenge of surviving in a post-apocalyptic world. The stark backdrop of the story highlights the importance of endurance and resourcefulness, as the characters must find ways to navigate through the harsh realities of the new world they find themselves in.

Family and Love

Family plays a central role in the narrative of The End of the World Running Club. The protagonist, Edgar, is primarily driven by his love for his wife and children, and the desire to keep them safe in the face of the apocalypse. This sense of love and responsibility is tested throughout the novel, as Edgar and his family confront various obstacles and moral dilemmas. The theme of love also extends to the relationships between other characters, illustrating the different ways people can come together in times of crisis.

Endurance and Running

Running, though not the central focus of the novel, serves as a metaphor for the characters’ resilience, determination, and perseverance in the face of adversity. As Edgar embarks on a journey across the desolate landscape, he experiences both physical and emotional growth, developing an inner strength that he did not possess prior to the disaster. The act of running becomes synonymous with survival, as Edgar learns to push his limits in order to reunite with his family,

In summary, The End of the World Running Club explores key themes such as survival, family and love, and endurance through the lens of running. These themes are expertly woven throughout the narrative, providing readers with a thought-provoking examination of human resilience in times of crisis.

Setting and World-Building

Struggle through Devastated Wastelands

In The End of the World Running Club, the setting is a post-apocalyptic world, primarily taking place in Scotland. The protagonist, Ed, is faced with the challenge of navigating through this harsh, destroyed landscape in order to find his family. The country is in ruins, with the Destruction caused by a cataclysmic event that has shaped the desolate environment.

Throughout the novel, readers experience what remains of Scotland after the devastation. The wastelands play a significant role in the overall atmosphere of the story, with the characters traversing through the eerie remnants of once thriving cities and towns. This creates a sense of desperation and struggle, forcing the characters to adapt and survive in a world that is no longer familiar to them.


As if the physical environment weren’t challenging enough, the novel also explores the various groups and individuals that have managed to survive in this new world, diving into the complexities of human nature in a time of crisis. The story can be categorized as a dystopian thriller, which often explores themes involving the collapse of society and the lengths people will go to in order to survive.

The survivors of this desolate world each have their own stories and motives, with some banding together in communities, while others are determined to survive alone. In the face of immense challenges and scarcity of resources, some survivors resort to violence and manipulation in order to guarantee their own survival, thus adding an additional layer of tension and suspense to the story.

Throughout The End of the World Running Club, the reader is introduced to various characters and survivor groups, creating a stark contrast between those who have chosen to maintain their humanity and collaborate, and those who have given in to their darker instincts. The novel takes readers on a thrilling journey, exploring the depths of the human spirit amidst the backdrop of a post-apocalyptic Scotland and the devastated wastelands that now define it.

Main Characters

Edgar Hill

Edgar is the protagonist of The End of the World Running Club. He is a somewhat lazy man with parenting efforts that can be described as average at best. When asteroids strike Earth, initiating the end of the world, Edgar finds himself on the wrong side of the country, far away from his family. Throughout the story, he transforms into a more responsible and focused individual, using his newfound passion for running as a coping mechanism and means of survival.

Family Members

Edgar Hill’s family comprises:

  • Wife: Beth
  • Daughter: Alice
  • Son: Arthur

Beth is Edgar’s wife, and together they have two young children, Alice and Arthur. Initially, Edgar’s relationship with his family is strained due to his lack of involvement in their lives. However, as the story progresses, Edgar’s determination to reunite with his loved ones drives him to overcome numerous obstacles and further strengthens their bond.

Friends and Crew Members

Throughout the novel, Edgar encounters several individuals who join him on his journey. These crew members and friends play crucial roles in assisting with challenges and helping him grow as a person. Some key figures include:

  • Bryce: A former soldier and skilled fighter who helps the group survive in the harsh new world.
  • Harvey: A resourceful man who aids Edgar and his companions on their journey through his intellect and knowledge.
  • Fiona: A determined and strong-willed woman who acts as an emotional support and friend to Edgar as they face the trials of their adventure together.

These characters contribute to the complexity of the storyline and provide Edgar with the support system he needs to persevere and ultimately reunite with his family.

Comparison with Other Apocalyptic Novels

Station Eleven

In comparison to Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven, The End of the World Running Club focuses more on the physical challenges and the race against time in the face of an apocalypse. Station Eleven explores the importance of art and culture in a post-apocalyptic world. Through interconnected stories, Station Eleven follows the lives of a troupe of actors and musicians, while The End of the World Running Club is a single character-driven journey.

The Road

Cormac McCarthy’s The Road is a dark and emotionally intense postapocalyptic tale compared to The End of the World Running Club. Both novels emphasize the importance of father-child relationships and the harsh realities of a ruined world. However, The Road delves deeper into existential themes and the human struggle for survival and redemption, whereas The End of the World Running Club maintains a focus on hope and endurance throughout the story.

The Martian

Andy Weir’s The Martian comes under the science fiction genre, where the protagonist faces a life or death situation on Mars. The End of the World Running Club shares a similar spirit of survival, grit, and resourcefulness. However, The Martian is set in space, and the protagonist relies on his scientific knowledge to overcome obstacles, while The End of the World Running Club is set on Earth and focuses on physical challenges. Additionally, The Martian contains a dose of humor, which lightens the tone compared to the darker elements in The End of the World Running Club.

The Salt Line

Holly Goddard Jones’ The Salt Line is another postapocalyptic tale that shares themes of survival and danger with The End of the World Running Club. Both novels involve a race against time, where characters are forced to confront their fears and limitations. However, The Salt Line deals with societal structures, class divisions, and political intrigue, whereas The End of the World Running Club is primarily focused on the personal journey and growth of its central character.

Through exploring these different apocalyptic novels, we can observe how The End of the World Running Club, while having overlapping themes and challenges, establishes its unique voice and tone within the science fiction and postapocalyptic genre.

Reception and Reviews

The End of the World Running Club, written by Adrian J. Walker, has garnered significant attention and recognition from various entities. As an international bestseller, this post-apocalyptic novel has garnered great interest from readers globally.

Library Journal, a leading publication in the library industry, has recognized the book’s potential, contributing to its popularity among readers. Their take on the novel emphasizes its astounding storytelling and unique narrative that hooks the readers from start to finish.

Maximum Shelf, another respected voice in the literary world, has also weighed in on The End of the World Running Club. Intrigued by the novel’s fresh approach to a post-apocalyptic setting and the integration of a running-themed plot, Maximum Shelf highlights the novel’s strengths and praises the author’s creativity.

BookList, a reputable book review source, has acknowledged the novel’s captivating style that appeals to a diverse set of readers. Comparing it to renowned works such as Andy Weir’s The Martian and Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven, BookList commends the novel for its powerful blend of action, suspense, and human emotion.

However, not all reviews have been overwhelmingly positive. Some critics, like this reviewer, argue that the novel’s unique angle is hindered by weak characterization, a lackluster story-line, and a general absence of ingenuity beyond its initial premise. Despite these criticisms, the novel still stands out in the saturated market of apocalyptic fiction, with many readers praising its inventive approach.

It is evident that The End of the World Running Club has a considerable following and has generated a range of opinions. From the acclaim of being an international bestseller to mixed reviews in the literary world, it continues to spark interest and conversations among its readership.


The End of the World Running Club is a powerful novel that explores themes such as belief, determination, and the struggle for survival. Set in a post-apocalyptic world, the protagonist Ed finds himself on a journey across a devastated British Isle. Along the way, he encounters numerous obstacles, including uncertainty and fear, forcing him to push through boundaries to reach his destination.

One important aspect of the story is Ed’s belief in his ability to protect and reunite with his family. Through newfound friendships and the support of his fellow runners, Ed’s belief in himself evolves, shaping his character and fueling his desire to reach Cornwall.

The certainty of death is a constant pressure throughout the narrative. With the destruction of civilization, both Graves and Cookies play crucial roles in representing the harsh reality of a world devastated by meteors. Their presence serves as a reminder that survival requires more than just physical endurance – it also demands mental strength and conviction.

The setting of Cornwall represents a goal and motivation for Ed and his fellow runners. It acts as a beacon of hope amidst a devastated landscape and the possibility of a safe haven for their families.

In conclusion, The End of the World Running Club is a gripping tale that explores the power of belief, the will to survive, and the importance of human connection during times of extreme adversity. It is a testament to the strength of the human spirit and the lengths people will go for their loved ones.

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