My sporting histories and biographies, published in hardback, paperback

and as e-books. All titles available -

via shops, the publishers, or

on-line from Amazon!



is on sale now

 in paperback or as an e-book:


The amazing true story of the brave women who became the largely unsung pioneers of female sport in the UK - the 'pedestriennes' of the 19th century. 


Women’s professional sport is finally flourishing in Britain, but still largely forgotten are the courageous efforts of these Victorian-era ladies who laid the foundations for modern woman to participate in pro sport.


Dozens of these working-class women abandoned humdrum lives to become history’s first pro sportswomen. They bravely put personal safety and decorum aside to tackle astonishing walking contests of 1,000 miles or more, competing against each other or against the clock, chasing cash prizes to feed and clothe their families.


Victorian society was shocked by their chutzpah. Several of the women became rich and famous, but many had a torrid time. Huge crowds watched them trekking day and night. The public loved them, but the authorities wanted them banned. The walks were often riotous affairs that attracted gamblers, drinkers and rowdy behaviour, but it was the women themselves who would be lambasted in the press, condemned as immoral and despicable.


The controversy only intensified when they adopted the daring new ‘bloomers’ costume from America, but with hindsight it is clear they were actually pioneering women’s rights.   


PUBLISHED NOVEMBER 2022 by Troubadour/Book Guild, £9.99 


On sale via Amazon and all usual sources as a 272-page paperback or e-book.  


Buy online via either of these links:











From a Cambridgeshire village to champion

of the world!


The true story of rough diamond

CHARLIE ROWELL, a young boatman

on the River Cam who took up

six-day running with astonishing success.  In the late 1800s

Charlie toppled established

stars of pedestrianism from

America - beating them at

their own game and in their

own backyard too!


But Charlie was a lively character

who got into all sorts of scrapes,

including high-stakes

gambling, bare-knuckle boxing

and even fraud, among other things.

His fall from grace was expedited

by the loss of the huge fortune

he'd won as champion pedestrian.


After failing miserably 

in one last desperate attempt

to make money (he entered a big

1908 marathon while unwell),

Charlie died pennniless just

a few months later aged 56. 


 My illustrated biography of

the man they called


is currently in production

and should be on sale

during 2023/4.

Watch this space!





Published features in magazines and journals



Football, cricket and running.

Wallow in the the history and

the nostalgia - as featured

in my in-depth articles

published in various magazines

and journals over the years.





THE first full biography of Britain's middle-distance hero SYDNEY WOODERSON, one of the most popular figures in UK sporting history, is on sale now - Order via Amazon or any good bookshop

  Purchase  online via this link:




is the sixth in my series of books

on running legends of the past.

Priced only £10.99, it's 424 pages

long, fully illustrated and there's a

'Foreword' by Lord Sebastian Coe,

IAAF President and track legend.


See below for coverage the book received in Athletics Weekly.




OUT NOW! 'Sydney Wooderson: A Very British Hero' by Rob Hadgraft (424 pages, £10.99) According to ATHLETICS WEEKLY: "A fitting tribute . . the amount of detail is extraordinary . . fascinating, deeply researched, affectionately written."

ONE THOUSAND & COUNTING!   That's me (the one in red socks) pictured with Tiptree Road Runners clubmates around the time I chalked up my 1,000th race.  Injury and old age is now taking its toll, so there's unlikely to be more big milestones any time soon!

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© Rob Hadgraft