Even though I feel like I spent most of 2019 on my feet, I also spent a lot of time with my nose in the pages of a book. Obviously, running tales were my top choice. Reading about other runners and their truly admirable feats kept me motivated when I thought of giving up (which is more often than I care to admit). I listed some of my favourites below; I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.
Operation Ironman | George Mahood
George Mahood never fails to make me laugh, even when he recounts the story of his harrowing training for an Ironman triathlon just months after a major surgery to his spinal cord. Entertaining and inspiring, this book is a great motivation booster!
Jog On | Bella Mackie
I’m currently re-reading this book! Bella Mackie paints an honest and humorous picture of her battle with anxiety, and advocates running as a way to manage mental health issues. It’s not just anecdotal either: the book is filled with interesting statistics, inspiring stories and opinions from healthcare professionals. A good read, especially for those who suffer from anxiety and depression.
Running Like a Girl | Alexandra Heminsley
Running Like a Girl is a fun, motivational memoir full of excellent tips for beginner runners. I particularly liked that the author listed benefits of running beyond the usual ‘weight loss’ – a closer relationship with her father and brother, glowing skin, improved self-confidence, etc. Highly recommended for new and experienced runners alike!
Downhill From Here | Gavin Boyter
Gavin Boyter recounts his journey from John O’Groats to Land’s End as an ‘ordinary runner’ (his words). It can feel a bit repetitive at times – then again, so is running – but also very gripping. A pleasant little Kindle find!
Born to Run | Christopher McDougall
I learned so much while reading this one! It’s filled with scientific facts and amazing achievements, but most of the book is centred around the Tarahumara – a tribe of born ultra runners indigenous of Mexico’s Copper Canyons – and McDougall’s attempt at organising and training for a friendly competition (if you can call a 50-mile race in the desert ‘friendly’) between them and a group of American ultramarathoners. A must-read for anyone who has even the tiniest interest in running!
The Rise of Ultra Runners | Adharanand Finn
This is a fascinating essay on the growing popularity of ultra running with just the perfect balance of inspiration and information. I enjoyed reading about the author’s experience of training for and running several ultras, including the iconic UTMB.
401 | Ben Smith
The extraordinary tale of a man who set off to run 401 marathons – that’s over 10,000 miles! – in 401 days all over the UK. Ben Smith writes candidly about his journey and the difficulties he encountered along the way, which makes him somewhat relatable. The 401 Challenge has since grown into a foundation promoting wellness through physical activity and raising money for mental health charities. Truly inspiring!
Happy reading, happy running!