It’s been a great year for running books! If you have a runner in your life and are still looking for the perfect gift, consider one of these excellent tomes. All of these books are compulsively readable, so if you’re hoping to snuggle up with your loved ones, you might have to wait until they have finished reading (fair warning)!
The Boy Who Runs by John Brant
John Brant has written about running greats, such as Alberto Salazar and Dick Beardsley, and now he turns his attention to Julius Achon, a former child soldier in the Ugandan Civil War who rose to prominence as an Olympic middle-distance runner. Brant expertly weaves the troubled history of Uganda with Achon’s heart-wrenching personal story of triumph throughout his running life and eventually his rise as the director of Achon Uganda Children’s Fund. If you’re interested in how people persevere through unimaginable circumstances that include extreme poverty, war, death and tyranny, read this book and rise like a phoenix from the ashes!
Nowhere Near First by Cory Reese
Cory Reese, social worker and blogger at Fast Cory, writes about long distance running (and more specifically, running multiple 100 milers!) from the perspective of a slower back-of-the-packer, something that in the larger world of running books is lacking. He takes us through his birth as a slow high school track athlete who ran for the love of it to his growing love (and dare I say obsession) with running ultramarathons (sometimes in a catsuit unitard). Reese writes about his life with equal amounts of humor and humility, and also with a healthy dose of pure, unadulterated love and respect for his family. You will love this book with its message of running for the pure joy it brings, engaging your family in your journey, and remembering above all, what is most important in life.
Run the World by Becky Wade
What do you do when you are awarded a Watson Fellowship right out of college? You take your money and travel the world, running in each city, each town you pass through. That’s what Becky Wade, NCAA All-American did after graduating from Rice University. She traveled to 22 countries and logged over 3500 miles in her quest to study running cultures around the world. On her journey, Wade struck up lifelong friendships with the folks she encountered in each place, along with experiencing the food, culture and running habits of each area of the world she visited. She also gained a greater appreciation for vastly different styles of training, nutrition, and recovery. Upon returning to the United States, she went on to win her inaugural marathon, the California International Marathon in 2013. This is a great read for anyone who dreams about running around the world.
Shoe Dog by Phil Knight
I don’t normally pick up books by CEOs or other business folks, because they don’t always reflect my lifestyle, dreams and what’s important to me. But there was something about this book that caught my eye. Enter Shoe Dog, by the storied co-founder of Nike, the most valuable sports and athletic brand in the world (according to Forbes Magazine). I decided to read it because I was really curious about how Nike came to be. How did it rise to be so dominant in the sports world when it had such humble and troubled beginnings as Blue Ribbon Sports in 1964? When most athletes wore Adidas or Pumas? How did Phil Knight, Bill Bowerman (the legendary running coach) and a host of other characters contribute to its ascendance to the company that sponsors such high-profile runners as Allyson Felix, Carmelita Jeter, Jordan Hasay, Shalane Flanagan, and Sanya Richards-Ross? You’ll find out Nike’s incredible story along with anecdotes about Knight’s travels around the world, family life and friendship in this addicting tale about the world’s most recognizable sports brand.