Alexandra Heminsley worked in publishing for six years before becoming a freelance journalist, broadcaster and author. She is the books editor and contributing editor at Elle UK magazine and BBC Radio 2’s Claudia Winkleman Arts Show, and was the Book Club Expert on Sky1 Daytime Series Angela & Friends and regular contributor to the Simon Mayo Books Panel on BBC Radio 5live.
She continues to write and review for the Independent on Sunday, Times, Sunday Times and Guardian as well as Grazia, Red and Elle UK and BBC Radio 5Live and BBC 6Music.
Her book Ex and the City: You're Nobody Till Somebody Dumps You was acquired by Pan Macmillan in a pre-emptive deal. She was a contributor to Hang the DJ: An Alternative Book of Music Lists published by Faber & Faber in 2008. She has also worked as ghostwriter on fiction and non-fiction projects for several major publishers as well as working with brands such as Nike.
She was a judge for last year's Costa Novel of the Year Award.
RUNNING LIKE A GIRL - HUTCHINSON - 2013
Until five years ago, Alex was not a Runner. Or in any sense Sporty. She was an ordinary, curvy woman, who had let sport drop after school, and considered the world of running to be beyond her. But in 2012 Alex will, at Nike’s invitation, take part in the Women’s Marathon in San Francisco – her fourth full marathon.
More importantly, she would say, she’s made running part of her life, and gets to reap the rewards: not just the obvious things, like a touch of weight loss, health and glowing skin, but self-belief, and immeasurable daily pleasure. She’s discovered a new closeness to her father – a marathon-runner of many years’ standing – and her brother, with whom she ran her first marathon, as well as a new side to herself, and has become intrigued by the little-known but rich feminist history to running.
Along the way, Alex has had to handle the logistics of learning to run: the intimidating questions of a 22 year-old sales assistant while buying trainers, where to get decent bra for the larger bust, and how to apply Vaseline to make the wearing of both comfortable. She’s worked out how not to freeze, how not to get sunstroke, and what (and when) to eat before a run. She’s worked out what’s important (pockets) and what isn’t (appearance) about what you wear. She’s conquered the logistics of how to run a race, and how to use a heart rate monitor. She’s run the gamut of uncontrollable emotion that a long-distance race can bring, and she’s experienced the zen moment of distance covered, problems solved, that is the grail of every regular runner.
As Alex says, there are running books about going the furthest, going the fastest and doing it all in the least amount of footwear. These are books that are almost always by, and about, men. And there are running books that calmly and clearly talk you through how to get anywhere from 5k to 26.2 miles. But there is little to encourage the woman who, after a few too many years of white wine for supper and a sneaky fag on a Friday night, has a tiny, whispering voice in her head suggesting that she might like to give it a go. Part memoir, part ‘how to’, RUNNING LIKE A GIRL is a thoughtful, kind and practical exhortation to ‘ordinary women’ to lace up their trainers, and see what they are capable of.
Praise for RUNNING LIKE A GIRL:
"Heminsley humorously tackles the many thorny issues new runners encounter, from chafing to proper sports-bra fit to injury recovery to restroom emergencies... an amusing and inspiring account." Booklist
"What's truly excellent about this book is its generosity... likable, readable and enlightening. Also inspiring if, like me, you've only just discovered the seven fathoms of joy that result from galumphing around the park in your new-rave trainers. What this book does is persuade even the most unconfident of non-joggers that they just might be born to run. Come ON!" Miranda Sawyer, Observer
"this is not simply a book about running - it’s about discipline, self-knowledge, emotions and relationships and should inspire even the most committed couch potato to strap on their trainers and discover a new world." Daily Mail
"Running gets a coolover courtesy of marathon aficionado and girl about town Heminsley. If even the word marathon brings you out in a cold sweat, then this brilliantly titled book is the perfect antidote to running reluctance... an honest and uplifting account, pitching practical know-how... along with insights into the personal doubts and daunts of her own life. There's nothing preachy or smug about her stance. Instead, it's an inspiring reminder of what we're all capable of if we put our minds to it." Marie Claire
"[Heminsley] describes her first shy forays into running, writes about the difficulty of getting the right kit, the exhaustion and the leaden legs, and then the gradual gains in confidence and fitness, and the realisation that to be a runner all you have to do is run. Running defines her, connects her to her family and friends, and to the world. If you already run you’ll nod in recognition; and if you don’t, perhaps this will convert you to the stern pleasures that this uniquely accessible sport has to offer." Independent on Sunday
“In Running Like a Girl, Alexandra Heminsley has the courage to abandon her comfort zone and try something truly daunting and intimidating, running a marathon. In doing so she proves to herself that she is better than she thought she was and is capable of going further than she ever thought she ever could. These are invaluable life lessons that transcend running itself. You will enjoy this book—and learn and laugh in the processes--whether you run great distances, modest distances, or not at all.” Dean Karnazes, runner and New York Times bestselling author
"This book is an emotional whirlwind split into two perfect halves. First is the story of Heminsley's own running journey... The second half offers the most practical advice... invaluable, as once you finish this book, even the most unenthusiastic of sportswomen will be longing to pull on the Lycra and run for the hills." Psychologies
"This story is not just about running but realising that you can do more than you ever thought possible. A funny, honest, and inspirational account of learning to run and discovering a new life." Lancashire Evening Post
"A meditation (slash romp) on running, life and love. Penned in her own inimitable style, the book is a tread through the raft of body insecurities and mental anguish we all go through when we put on our trainers." Grazia
"I'm no runner, but I loved Alexandra Heminsley's Running Like a Girl, her vastly entertaining account of her journey to marathon success and beyond." Woman & Home
"This entertaining read is packed with practical advice for the novice runner, including invaluable information on bras and bunions." i
"A funny, endearing story of [Alexandra Heminsley's] journey from the first wobbly steps to marathons of self-belief." Sainsbury's Magazine
"The winning combination of running and encouragement is so motivational you might just dust off the trainers and run towards a whole new you." Daily Record