There is no shortage of inspirational running books that capture the essence of running in America, which is a relatively recent phenomenon. So as you prepare for the race of your life, I summarize below some of my “must reads” for serious runners. Feel free to add your two cents to these books or if you have other recommendations, fire away.
Unbroken. After capturing the unbridled story of the legendary horse, Seabiscuit, Laura Hillenbrand takes on a thoroughbred of a man in the heart-wrenching story of Louie Zamperini, the man who was destined to be the first human to break the four-minute mile. Fate would block his path, sending him on a WW II nightmare that few could endure. Read this book because it’s one of the most amazing stories of perseverance, intestinal fortitude, courage and pure running prowess.
Going Long. This is the book of all running books to read before major running events. While Unbroken has its heart-wrenching moments, this book features the best of the best stories … more than 40 years worth from Runner’s World magazine. It has all my fav running stories about Bill Bowerman and Steve Prefontaine, as we amazing recounts of people’s struggles like the story of Matt Long, the FDNY firefighter who learned to run again after a critical injury) to analytical essays such as “White Men Can’t Run” (a look at what puts African runners at the front of the pack) to an unbelievable story about a four-year challenged to run 30 plus miles. Keep the kleenex nearby on this one.
Bowerman and the Men of Oregon. This book by accomplished runner and Bowerman student, Kenny Moore, gives you tremendous insight into evolution of modern day running in America, competitive and enthusiast … not to mention his influence on a little brand called Nike. While the book starts out with nothing to do about running … as you plow through pages of Bowerman’s family history in order to get a sense of the man behind the man, don’t turn away because this is one of my all-time favorite books.
So these are a few must reads in my mind, but in the coming weeks I’ll blog about other great ones like the easy read on Steve Prefontaine or Born to Run. Check out my GoodReads widget for other non-running books … because every now and then you need to mix it up with a classic.