Marathon Man

MARATHON MAN 👍
By Bill Rodgers, Matthew Shepatin
336 pp. Thomas Dunne Books. $28.99.

“In order to win the race, sometimes you have to go a little berserk.” Perhaps you’re familiar with this phrase? It’s source is “Marathon Man”. This top tier run-based book, written by Bill Rodgers and Matthew Shepatin, checks all the boxes. Many similar books struggle with describing the achievements of it’s author (or subject) while keeping said person’s ego in check. Not so here. Rodgers is a humble pleasure. The period prior to Rodgers’ running glory consists mostly of episodes of the average youth and you may very well relate (albeit, in his childhood, his running prowess is clear). However, when the time comes to turn the page, to leverage the natural talent he’s been gifted, Rodgers flips the switch and his focus becomes fully engaged. Many of the book’s chapters are split between his passing miles in the 1975 Boston Marathon and his coming of age. For both his running and personal life, Rodgers shares his peaks and valleys.

Much of Rodgers’ notable life experiences are touched by his older brother, Charlie, and friend Jason Kehoe. The “three musketeers” grew up together. Prior to the start of the 1975 Boston Marathon. Charlie dashes to the local hardware store and returns with gardening gloves for Rodgers’ pre race frozen fingers (later, as the day warmed, Rodgers refused to part with the gloves). After college, all three were granted conscientious objector status to the Vietnam war, requiring them to find work that (in some way) contributed to the interests of the nation. As two young adults trying to establish themselves in Boston with questionable success, Kehoe and Rodgers further bonded during this time. His running greatness not yet realized, it’s easy to relate to Rodgers’ young adult years. Much later, the three manage the “Bill Rodgers Running Center” store in the Cleveland Circle locale.

As stated previously, Rodgers’ background interjects as the 1975 Boston race unfolds. Regarding those 26.2 miles, “Marathon Man” reads as if Rodgers is taking you along for the ride. It’s enthralling. Each passing mile more fascinating than the last. Notably, “Marathon Man” makes it’s clear Amby Burfoot has endeared himself to Rodgers. While both attended Wesleyan college, Burfoot takes the younger Rodgers under his wing, advocating him to embrace his running talent. Rodgers wins 1975 Boston (2:09:55). Burfoot, the 1968 Boston winner, ran it in 1975 as well, in 2:21:20. In doing so he actually bested his 1968 winning time. Burfoot credits his 1975 time with his desire to reach the finish as quickly as possible in order to better experience Rodgers’ victory.

Personally, a re-occurring thinking point was that Rodgers could have produced 2 books here. First, the coming of age/1975 Boston Marathon thread. Second, the non-Boston running experiences (also included in “Marathon Man”) are just as enjoyable and there’s no shortage. Four New York City Marathon victories. His battles with running great Frank Shorter. Racing the Fukuoka Marathon. Running the Silver Lake Dodge 30K in “ratty jeans” (and finishing 3rd). Rodgers’ impact on both the Greater Boston Track Club and the infamous Falmouth Road Race. Winning the bronze medal at the World Cross Country Championships in Morocco (only the second American man to ever medal at the World XCs). His Olympic accomplishments. Joyfully, “Marathon Man” contains so much, the list seemingly endless.

Constructive criticism? Rodgers chasing butterflies in fields is a popular talking point. Literally. It’s a bit of a head-scratcher. It does seem to encapsulate his general life perspective. Not in an aloof or distracted way. More so easy-going, and embracing a sense of bliss. Rodgers’ vantage is one of good health and, fortunately, can be contagious.

For balancing his running with a 9-to-5 job, the 2018 Boston Marathon champion Yuki Kawauchi has been referred to as “citizen runner”. Think of Bill Rodgers as “everyman runner”. While driving to countless New England road races he purposely takes side roads to avoid the Massachusetts Turnpike due to his inability to pay the tolls (in Rodgers’ heyday, instead of cash, race winners were awarded a blender, or a table, tires, a bike, etc.). He’s experienced two divorces. Also, Rodgers discloses he finished his last running of the Boston Marathon (2009) in 4:06. Of course, his history is filled with overwhelming greatness but, at times, it can also be plainly average. For this, Rodgers is so very relatable and embracing.

🏃‍♂️📚

#DidYouKnow courtesy “Marathon Man”: In the 1907 Boston Marathon, near the Framingham train station, Canadian Tom Longboat was forced to leap through the open door of a passing train, and out the other side, in order to keep up with the lead pack of runners. The train severed the pack from the remaining runners. Longboat eventually won.

#Follow Bill Rodgers Here and Matthew Shepatin Here

What Made Maddy Run

WHAT MADE MADDY RUN
By Kate Fagan
320 pp. Back Bay Books. $16.99.

The book’s jacket declares the conclusion to “What Made Maddy Run”. Turning the pages, the progression to Maddy Holleran’s demise is certain. A futile longing for any alternate conclusion was a constant in my mind. Examining the events preluding the breakdown of this beautiful, brilliant, and wonderfully athletic person can be distressing. Coming out of high school, Holleran’s light shines with a sky’s-the-limit intensity. In shockingly little time, promise turns to tragedy. As with every suicide, only so much can be retrieved from the victim’s mind. Author Kate Fagan performs this investigation in admirable fashion, bringing to light social media’s ability to misdirect, and compels every parent, friend, and neighbor to strive for better awareness of each other’s mental health.

“What Made Maddy Run” maintains a balance. Fagan shares the consequential events she’s able to glean from Holleran’s text and Instagram posts, as well as family and friend recounts. That discourse is complemented with broader, culture-based discussions, profiling different aspects of our society which contribute to the proliferation of suicidal tendencies. Also, there are similarities in the backgrounds of Fagan and Holleran. Here, Fagan enlists these parallels, perhaps in attempt to make Holleran’s woes more relatable, thereby bringing greater exposure to her demons.

Holleran graduates high school on the upswing. Her youth had long been about preparing for the next chapter (college). She succeeded academically but it appears her athleticism garnered greater acclaim. She loved soccer and excelled at it, specifically finding joy in the team-based aspect of the sport. She’s recruited by Lehigh University and verbally commits. However, when soccer is out of season, Holleran maintains her fitness running track, and in the second half of her high school career it’s her running talents that stand out. Her fast times earn the attention of Harvard and Penn. She would never attend Lehigh. Instead, the Ivy League allure leads Holleran to Penn.

In college now, this period would be the antithesis of her high school experience. Overwhelmed by the demands of competing at the Division 1 level, Holleran loses her lust for running. In the classroom, Holleran had difficulty adjusting to the concept of being graded on a curve (whereas, formally her grades were based directly on her individual performance). Her confidence erodes. Thinning, Holleran shows the physical impacts of stress. Upon fall semester completion, the girl that arrived at Penn, smiling and light-hearted, returns home depressed, clearly unhappy.

Holleran discusses potential solutions with family and friends. Transfer to another school? Take a semester off? Holleran’s unclear whether doing so equates to a cure-all, but believes quitting track is her best option. She returns to Penn post winter break. Positive and forward looking, she tries enforcing a new mindset. Also, she meets her coach, Steve Dolan, and delivers a well-rehearsed notice for ending her track participation. Dolan responds with overtures intended to sway her back to the team. Holleran’s compelled to remain. Shortly thereafter, the new mindset would give way to darkness. Sadly, this time, Holleran surrenders to her demons.

Quality, constructive comments aren’t always easy to discern and “What Made Maddy Run” deserves this designation. Oddly, an impression related to the book’s font size was persistent. It’s enormous. Is that a silly critique? Perhaps it’s intended to attract young adult readers? At least it’s friendly to the farsighted reader. While the book is 300+ pages, you may may feel underwhelmed if you value quantity. Quality on the other hand? Running for a copy of “What Made Maddy Run” is recommended.

🏃‍♀️📚

#DidYouKnow courtesy “What Made Maddy Run”: In a testament to it’s highly regarded place in the running community, the novel “Once A Runner” is referenced in these pages. Holleran’s coach assigns it to her to read over winter break. In turn, Holleran references a portion of it to Dolan in her attempt to explain her intention to quit track, notably the “fatigue-depression” state she asserts to running.

#Follow Kate Fagan Here

Fast Girl: A Life Spent Running from Madness

FAST GIRL: A LIFE SPENT RUNNING FROM MADNESS
By Suzy Favor Hamilton
304 pp. Dey Street Books. $15.99.

Do you know anyone with bipolar disorder? Personally, this was an important consideration while progressing through “Fast Girl”. Bipolar, or manic depression, can produce shocking behavior. Defined as “a mental condition marked by alternating periods of elation and depression”, those words don’t seem to sufficiently paint a bipolar person’s potential careless, narcissistic actions. Undoubtedly, some will damn author Suzy Favor Hamilton for her acts that make the book anything but dull. Strive to avoid this prosecution. Having observed the deeds of a bipolar person, who is very much a part of my life, did help provide perspective. “Mommy’s brain doesn’t always work right,” Suzy’s husband, Mark Hamilton, explains to their young daughter. It’s a simple, accurate declaration.

In her early years, Hamilton, a three-time Olympian, manages her mental afflictions with running. One of 4 children in her family, her brother “Dan” matched her high energy output. This would not be the only likeness between them (i.e., bipolar). During Suzy’s childhood, Dan’s poor behavior generates greater social problems, retaining more of his family’s concerns. Dan successfully gains medical help, managing his behavior with a drug cocktail. However, his battle would ultimately end in great sorrow. Dan, ceasing his meds, decides to take his life.

Hamilton’s natural inclination to run results in success on her middle and high school’s track and cross country teams, obsessing to win at all times. She earns a U.S Junior Nationals win, leading to bigger aspirations for her athletic career. Earning full scholarship to the University of Wisconsin, more running excellence occurs in college and Olympic dreams abound. During this time, Hamilton exhibits bulimia (eating disorder) tendencies, believing there to be a link in starving herself and winning races. Her college career would consist of nine NCAA track championships (at the time the most for any athlete). During her college career she also meets and later marries a University of Wisconsin baseball player (her husband, Mark). Post college, Hamilton signs on to numerous endorsement deals, highlighted by Reebok. Her focus is now the Olympics. She competes in the 1992, 1996, and 2000 editions.

Her Olympic appearances now behind her, “Fast Girl” segues to it’s more scandalous content. Hamilton gives birth to a daughter and she and her husband set up a real estate business. However, the venture doesn’t hold her focus (although Mark does leverage it to provide a source of income for the family). Instead, Hamilton finds herself cratering in postpartum depression. That depression ignites Hamilton’s still undiagnosed bipolar disorder, which is unintentionally further boosted by a drug (Zoloft) meant to manage the depression. A wedding anniversary trip to Vegas is life altering. Hamilton proposes that an escort tryst would be a welcome addition to their well-played romance. The experience puts her on a path of no return. Hamilton decides the escort life is for her, becoming fully employed in it’s shady dealings. “Fast Girl” expounds on this very dark, seedy period in Hamilton’s life (i.e., for mature readers only). Ultimately, Hamilton is outed by a reporter from “The Smoking Gun” website. She, and her family, are dragged through the ordeal of exposing Hamilton’s double life to the public. A suicide attempt results in a hospital stay for Hamilton, which finally produces a bipolar disorder diagnosis.

Throughout it all, Hamilton’s husband is aware of her actions. He strives to hold their family together and provides some semblance of normalcy for their daughter. (Mark deserves consideration for every humanitarian award in existence.) Their extended family, of course initially shocked by the news of Hamilton’s boorish behavior, chooses forgiveness. Credit Hamilton for her willingness to tell her story and desire to now assist others with mental health education.

🏃‍♀️📚

#DidYouKnow courtesy “Fast Girl: A Life Spent Running from Madness”: During a 1986 NCAA track and field 10,000 meter championship race, Kathy Ormsby, a top college runner, found herself fledgling in fourth place. Her response was to veer off the course and jump from a bridge resulting in paralysis. In “Fast Girl”, Hamilton shares Ormsby’s example as another instance of dark, depressive tendencies.

#Follow Suzy Favor Hamilton Here

Born To Run

BORN TO RUN
By Christopher McDougall
304 pp. Vintage. $16.00.

The Google search: “Born To Run fiction or nonfiction” populated before I could finish typing it (i.e., it’s a popular question). Of course, I know it’s non-fiction, but it can read alternatively. Highly descriptive in a storytelling sense, the book paints scenes in a manner I more closely associate with fiction. There are two related tales in these pages, woven together. The Mexican Tarahumara Indians, also known as the Rarámuri (the Running People), are investigated for their running prowess. Their highly successful ability have little, if any, footwear assistance, and the virtues of their technique are extolled. Meanwhile, under debate are the utilities that man has become reliant on (shoe inserts, excessive soles, convoluted nutrition remedies, wonky coaching methods, etc.), taking us away from our ancestral means, and the resulting harm we’re doling out to ourselves.

“Born To Run” didn’t particularly engage me in the first several chapters. In these early pages a number of introductions occur for people that are further associated with different nomenclatures. This can be frustrating. In Mexico, author Christopher McDougall is in search of Caballo Blanco (a.k.a. the White Horse, or rather Mike Hickman, alternatively Micah True, “Shaggy” as well, etc.). McDougall considers Caballo, whose homeland straddles the US-Mexico border, as a bridge to the Tarahumara Indians. McDougall tells the story of these people and their wondrous running ways. They live a secluded life in an isolated locale known as the Copper Canyons. It’s an incredibly dangerous place and McDougall goes to great lengths to impress upon the reader that the hostile journey required to reach it (e.g., drug cartels, gangs, and treacherous environment) is just as perilous as the seemingly haunted destination itself.

McDougall moves to the infamous Leadville Trail 100, telling terrific tales from it’s enthralling background. For instance, Leadville running legend Marshall Ulrich improved his finishing times by having his toenails surgically removed. “They kept falling off anyway,” Ulrich said. Leadville helps explain the association between Caballo and the Tarahumara. During the 1990’s, the Tarahumara were coaxed into racing Leadville several times. At 50 miles, racers are allowed pacers and through a chance encounter, Caballo would come to pace a Tarahumara runner and a relationship was established. The Tarahumara found success in Leadville; however, the ensuing tense reactions, between organizers and the representative of the Tarahumara, stressed and alarmed the foreigners. Their response was to retreat to their secretive world and not return.

Caballo’s running skill is cultivated by the Tarahumara, and he extends these teachings to McDougall. Caballo also divulges to McDougall a grand plan. If the Tarahumara would not return to America, the Americans would come to the Tarahumara for a grand race. Caballo actually convinces ultra star Scott Jurek to join. Together, McDougall and Caballo further assemble a team of misfit, albeit successful, ultra runners to make the trek to the Copper Canyons. However, questions persist. Will the Americans survive the journey to the race? And will the Tarahumara agree to compete?

“Born To Run” segues to a minimalist running discussion. Barefoot running is heralded. Blame for poor stride and lower back pain are connected to cushioned soles. A convincing argument is made for associating knee injuries and weak feet with soft shoes. Our natural movements are being bastardized by those hefty Hokas. The topic takes a significant deep dive, and is none too kind to the shoe industry in the process, but to surmise: Humans are designed to run without shoes. The topic of HOW you should be running then becomes an extension of the discourse. What the Tarahumara do is described as “body art”. “No one else on the planet has made such a virtue out of self-propulsion,” McDougall’s coach said. The reader is then taken back in time, running with cavemen, and chasing wild antelopes over great plains.

The finale is laid bare. The Americans arrive in the Copper Canyons and the Tarahumara are game to run. The great race is a pleasurable passage, particularly Jurek versus the elite Tarahumara. “Born To Run” needs, and deserves, patience. While it does pick up speed as it progresses, it’s not a quick read. Most importantly, it delivers a quality contemplation, and might have you pondering which run gear items are truly essential, or just plain snake oil.

🏃‍♂️📚

#DidYouKnow courtesy “Born To Run”: No United States runner qualified with the 2:14 standard for the 2000 Olympics (Rod DeHaven did participate in the games, making the 2:15 “B” standard).

#Follow Christopher McDougall Here

Ultramarathon Man

ULTRAMARATHON MAN
By Dean Karnazes
295 pp. TarcherPerigee. $14.95.

Some books are deep dives. We’ve all reached for a lengthy read, scanned it’s heavy, thought provoking content, and debated whether or not the present time was appropriate for embracing the offerings of said book. “Ultramarathon Man” offers a care free pass from such considerations. It’s chapters are fun, easy, and it reads fast. It’s a good match for the person with the perpetual hectic schedule, who accuses their daily planner of thieving potential reading time.

From the seventh and eighth grade track team to an early mid life crisis moment (age 30), Dean Karnazes uses running as a means of finding a more purposeful, noble path in life. He wins a California State Long-Distance Championship (1 mile) and contributes as a freshman to a varsity cross-country championship. I love a good cross-country story, and radical nosebleeds stemming from physically bruising race conditions only added to my interest. However, the running accomplishments from Karnazes’s youth were fleeting. He puts his running ways on pause, stung by the hurtful criticism of a coaching mentor. Fifteen years would pass, with Karnazes expressing regret for occasional acts of debauchery during the span. Notably, it’s in this period that Karnazes is shaken by the accidental death of his beloved sister, Pary. The tragedy compels him to make better life choices. Later, it’s memories of Pary that help propel him through countless miles.

Moving to adulthood, running remains on hold as Karnazes finds success as a marketing executive. Inevitably, the drum beats of potential adventure garner more attention than the enticement of any corporate advancement. A 30th birthday reckoning with general lifestyle unhappiness gives way to an all night running bender, setting his life on a new course. There would be no return. “In the course of a single night I had been transformed from a drunken yuppie fool into a reborn athlete,” Karnazes said.

Impressive running accounts now ensue and become increasingly grander in scale. A sub 9 hour fifty mile race qualifies Karnazes for the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run. At that 100 mile recounting, Karnazes shares a compelling episode of nyctalopia (night blindness), brought on by low blood pressure and the bright light of day. A sub 24 hour Western States finish is followed by a couple Badwater 135-Mile Ultramarathons (the first attempt resulting in an undoubtedly rare DNF for Karnazes). Next, a marathon distance run finishing at the actual South Pole provides a glimpse into weather conditions that truly prohibits running (or any outside exposure for that matter). Finally, a Calistoga to Santa Cruz (CA) 199 mile relay run is chronicled. Normally distributed among 12 person groups, Karnazes tackles the race as a team of 1. For perspective I recommend visiting Google Maps and entering the two locations.

Narcissistic criticism is not scarce for for this book. To which I ask: What do you expect? This is Dean Karnazes’s accounting for running achievements to which the vast human population (aside from a percentage so minuscule it likely cannot be calculated) has no aptitude. He’s run 226.2 miles in a single instance and, yes, that’s earned him the right to embellish. That said, unpretentious acts are a welcome inclusion to “Ultramarathon Man”. In particular, Karnazes’s charitable contributions to children battling life threatening diseases, the Special Olympics, environmental causes, as well the focus he applies to his own children, making clear that quality time is extended to them in abundance.

🏃‍♂️📚

#DidYouKnow courtesy “Ultramarathon Man”: It’s advised during Badwater’s 135 mile race to run on the white line edging the roadside. The line can reflect the day’s brutal heat, decreasing the likelihood of runners’ soles melting.

#Follow Dean Karnazes Here

Once A Runner

ONCE A RUNNER
By John L. Parker, Jr.
304 pp. Scribner. $17.00.

As “Once a Runner” is regularly heralded as the greatest piece of running fiction ever produced (and I am, of course, a runner), the novel naturally held a reservation on my “to-do” list. Written in 1978, Parker’s Afterword acknowledges that some elements of “Once a Runner” harken to an earlier time (1960’s, Vietnam era). Objectively, I found it’s theme entrenched in it. Tones of the segregated, dim-witted South, the political connotations of that long ago era, and it’s resulting protester’s mentality, all run rampant. Personally, I don’t favor time spent dwelling on this unfavorable chapter in our country’s history. However, more specifically, Parker’s running discourse works for any time.

This is the story of hero runner Quenton Cassidy, attending (Florida-based) Southeastern University. A miler at heart and member of the track team, as Cassidy’s star is on the rise he’s taken under the wing of Olympic medalist Bruce Denton. Cassidy’s political ambitions then go awry when his protest of the university’s crackdown on the student body’s liberal ways results in his expulsion. With Denton’s assistance, Cassidy secludes himself in a remote cabin, focusing singularly on running with the goal of beating the greatest miler in the world (New Zealand’s John Walton) in the upcoming Southeastern Relays. However, the expelled Cassidy must first find a way to gain entry to the race…

Torturously, it takes a significant portion of the novel to establish the characters. Further, Parker’s excessive descriptions of events as well as Cassidy’s deep thoughts left me frustrated (prepare for tedious talk of Cassidy’s “demons”). Also, criticism for Parker’s promotion of excessive training (blood in urine), and condescension of the common runner (anyone not approaching 4 minute mile range), is warranted.

Clearly, Parker (a former track team member for the Florida University Gators and 4:06 miler) know’s the running subject. The novel has a cult following. Apparently, you can regularly find “Quenton Cassidy” registrations at races across the country. Perhaps you’ve seen or heard the phrase: “The Trial of Miles; Miles of Trials”? It’s origin traces to “Once a Runner”. “You don’t become a runner by winning a morning workout. The only true way is to marshal the ferocity of your ambition over the course of many days, weeks, months, and (if you could finally come to accept it) years.” Personally, a favorite addendum to the novel involves Parker’s efforts to sell it. Publishers initially wanted nothing to do with it. Parker’s response was to start his own publishing house and print 5,000 copies, selling it at races, and making deliveries to book and run stores (asking only that they repay him for copies sold).

Google “Once a Runner” and you’ll find fast evidence of it’s fan allegiance (over 100,000 copies sold). The tale does improve after a slow start (I’m glad I didn’t give up on it). Again, Parker’s knowledgeable discussion of running grants it at least a satisfactory status (you know, like pizza, even when it’s bad it’s pretty good). Perhaps the concept of a fictional run-based read has something to do with my trepidation. What I mean is, aren’t most runners constantly striving to learn and improve our run abilities? Personally, that has me seeking more teachings in the form of truth (i.e., non-fiction). It’s this line of virtuous thinking that’s holds my allegiance and is likely why I’m humored by the novel’s dramatic conclusion. It revolves around an instance of “banditing” and attempts to paint it in a noble sense.

🏃‍♂️📚

#DidYouKnow courtesy “Once a Runner”: In case you align yourself with the cult of “Once a Runner” devotees, the novel spawned a sequel “Again to Carthage” (2008), as well as a prequel “Racing the Rain” (2015).

What I Talk About When I Talk About Running

WHAT I TALK ABOUT WHEN I TALK ABOUT RUNNING 👍
By Haruki Murakami
192 pp. Vintage. $15.00.

While the athletic accomplishments Haruki Murakami shares are both entertaining and reputable, it’s fair to say “What I Talk About When I Talk About Running” was not intended to raise the bar of renowned running achievements. However, where I do find Murakami setting a standard is with his writing style. It’s easy to interpret his thoughts from his words. There’s a tangible, successful transfer of skilled oratory range to his eloquent writings. (I envision Murakami as talented a speaker as he is a writer.) This ease of comprehension enhanced my ability to recollect much of the book’s contents well after reading the Afterword. He’s poetic. Murakami’s words left me recollecting the smell of ocean salt as he’s telling it, seeking warmth for his interpretation of a cool New England’s autumn morning, and with a salivating mouth for one of his ritual post run beers. Likely, anyone with an interest in reading, or more accurately, writing, has in the past found themselves wanting to emulate a certain style. Admittedly, I wish I could write like Haruki Murakami.

Murakami is quite the worldly traveler. His memoir (mostly) spans Boston, Hawaii, Athens, New York City, and throughout Japan. These pages are as much about his professional experiences as they are of sport (a well received overlap as I’m often keen on learning how others find time to both run and pay the mortgage).  In his early post college years, Murakami owned a Tokyo-based jazz club. Lacking a business background, he still found a path to success. Hard work and some family business acumen on the part of his wife played roles. From here he sets course to fulfill the far flung notion of writing a novel. It doesn’t necessarily seem he’s against his life as a club owner. More so that Murakami is necessarily attracted to the idea of being a novelist. He writes 200 pages and sends the work to a magazine’s new-writers competition. His expectations can be surmised by his decision to forgo making a copy of his work before parting with it. But no matter. Murakami wins. He juggles the club and writing for awhile before forsaking the prior and wholeheartedly embracing the later.

While writing has it’s place in this book, it’s the word “running” that’s in the title. His informal Athens marathon recollection kept me engaged. In Pheidippides-like fashion, he covers the Athens to the town of Marathon distance (albeit nearly faltering due to heat stroke). Next, his sixty-two mile ultra run brought pause to my future considerations for going past 26.2. Although not for what he endured during the race. Instead, Murakami expresses a trauma-like effect in the wake of the experience, directly diminishing his drive to run. As in, if you associate Murakami’s running passion with a horse, by the end of the 62 miles he had beaten the animal to death. (Time heals wounds and later his call to run is revived.) Those with a curious interest in triathlons may find satisfaction in his plain talk of the matter. Unexpectedly, Murakami traverses the (non-running) intricacies of swimming and biking. In general, his athletic wisdom is refreshing in that he doesn’t instruct the reader how to perform better in running, biking, swimming, etc. Instead, he describes what has, and has not, worked for him. He professes his lack of desire to better anyone’s athletic accomplishments (aside from his own). A recurring theme throughout “What I Talk About When I Talk About Running” reflects upon Murakami’s increasing build to the 2005 New York City Marathon. Oddly, few words are devoted to the actual event (but his talk of many other races and triathlons brought me satisfaction).

🏃‍♂️📚

#DidYouKnow courtesy “What I Talk About When I Talk About Running”: When running our knees are burdened with supporting 3 times our body weight (as each of our steps gives thrust, propelling ourselves). Notably, our soles do lessen the stress. Still, as Murakami contends, knees are not replaceable. (Not easily, anyway.)

#Follow Haruki Murakami Here