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Runners on Running

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  • Posted January 13, 2011

    Highly Recommended

    Rich Elliot's Runners on Running provides some exciting reading. It's hard to pick a favorite from the stories of the all-time great races -- like Joan Benoit Samuelson's 1984 Olympic Marathon victory, the Liquori vs.Ryun'Dream Mile,'and Roger Bannister's four-minute mile. Meanwhile, the narratives of lesser-known runners, for example, the descriptive account of running buddies who covered 70,000 miles running together over the years, and the chronicle of the first days of running of Rachel Toor are also fascinating. The stories of these famous runners and running writers such as Hal Higdon, George Sheehan, Mark Bloom, and Kathrine Switzer are packed with engaging details about grueling training schedules, the obstacles and injuries in the sport, the idiosyncrasies of some runners, and the rewards of various running lifestyles. Elliot's collection offers stories that can't help but broaden the perspective of the sport for both runners and non-runners, and will introduce readers to the humanitarian aspects so often involved in running.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 23, 2010

    Highly recommended. You must check it out!

    Runners on Running, a collection of thirty-two essays, will appeal to a much wider audience than distance runners. It will resonate with all those who with grit and passion, heart and spirit, have struggled to reach a goal and found themselves in doing so. As the editor, Rich Elliott, states in the introduction: "It is imagination that fuels the distance runner."
    This anthology celebrates the literature of distance running and the creators of that literature. As the editor points out, world-class runners and master writers have much in common: discipline, patience, hard work, and devotion. Among the writers included are Kenny Moore, Amby Burfoot, Kathrine Switzer, and George Sheehan. Frequently, an essay will linger in the mind long after a first reading. For example, Kenny Moore's "Chasing Justice" describes the lifelong bond Moore and marathoner Mamo Wolde forged when Moore pulled up lame in the Munich Olympic Marathon in 1972. Years later, Moore spearheaded the crusade to free his former competitor, unjustly wasting away in an Ethiopian prison. Moore describes Wolde's death simply and poignantly: "He died peacefully, as befits a marathoner, knowing the rightness of all things physical has an end."
    Like Moore's essay, others in this anthology have outstanding literary merit. For example, savor the lyric beauty and philosophic depth of this passage from George Sheehan's "Running":
    "And there on the roads, I can pursue my perfection for the rest of my days, and finally, as his wife said of Kazantzakis dead at seventy-four, be mowed down in the first flower of my youth.
    "The fight, then, is never with age; it is with boredom, with routine, with the danger of not living at all. Then life will stop, growth will cease, learning will come to an end. You no longer become who you are. You begin to kill time or live it without or purpose. Everything that is happiness, all that is excitement, whatever you know of joy and delight, will evaporate. Life will be reduced to a slow progression of days and weeks and months. Time will become an enemy instead of an ally."
    "When I run, I avoid all this. I enter a world where time stops, where now is a fair sample of eternity."
    Runners on Running will fuel the imagination of its readers. It captures why distance running is not just strenuous but meaningful and transformative.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 16, 2011

    "The Best Nonfiction" Lives up to Its Claim

    Runners on Running is a masterpiece of its kind. The editor, Rich Elliott, clearly knows a great deal about the history and legends of his sport, and he possesses a keen eye for top quality writing. This anthology will appeal to runners of all ages and of all skill levels, but it should appeal as well to non-runners who enjoy reading about the trials and triumphs of the human spirit.

    The 32 selections are thoughtfully organized, so that the anthology achieves an orchestrated rhythm. We read Roger Bannister's understated account of his four-minute mile, which ends in glory: "We shared a place where no man had yet ventured--secure for all time." Then we shift to the chaos that greeted Kathrine Switzer's historic run in the hitherto all-male Boston Marathon. Next, we move to a more obscure, but equally memorable race, as Marc Bloom reconstructs one of the great high school relays of American track history. Then we move to two legendary races: the brash Marty Liguori fighting his peerless rival Jim Ryun, and the relatively obscure Dick Beardsley fighting to outpace Alberto Salazar, running at the peak of his career in the 1982 Boston Marathon.

    Yet this is not simply an anthology about the famous and the celebrated. We read about how running can forge bonds, from the friendships that Sara Corbett found while running to the loyalty inspired by coach Jim White in the dusty impoverished town of McFarland, California. And we read about a loving father, Dick Hoyt, whose running began with a 5-mile race where he pushed his son Rick in his wheelchair. In over 30 years since then, father and son have participated in over 200 triathlons and 27 Boston Maratons.

    Simply put, this anthology is a triumph.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2011

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