5 of the best books about running

October 20, 2014, Article by Tom in Books, Culture, Sport


Get your trainers on, tape up your nipples and run down to your local bookshop: here’s our pick of five of the best books about running.

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Our pick of some of the best books about running…

What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami (published by Vintage): Think Murakami is a legendary writer? You’re correct, he is. But did you know he’s also a bit of hero when it comes to running as well? This is his story of running over twenty-five marathons AND an ultramarathon, detailing the physical and mental torment involved in taking on the 62-mile course. Even if you’ve actually got no interest at all in running, this is compelling stuff.

Born to Run by Christoper McDougall (published by Profile Books): Or, to give it its full, catchy title: Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen. Here, the author is trying to find members of the reclusive Tarahmara tribe in Mexico, famous for their ability to run up to 200 miles at a time. Whilst barefoot. Often after getting absolutely leathered the night before. One of the main things that McDougall discovers is the potential power and sense of freedom that can come with ditching your running shoes and going barefoot. Read this and you might just want to do the same (unless you live somewhere like Hackney).

Running Like a Girl by Alexandra Heminsley (published by Windmill Books): NOT just one for girls, this is a book that proves that anyone can run if they put their mind to it. Charting the author’s journey from a disastrous first ever run through to running five marathons, this is honest, funny and inspirational stuff.

The Perfect Mile by Neal Bascomb (published by Willow): The true story of three men in the 1950s as they tried to achieve the ‘Holy Grail’ of running: the four-minute mile. Eventually it was good old Roger Bannister who cracked it and wrote his name into the history books forever, and Bascomb details both how he did it, and how his achievement changed the running landscape forever.

Ultramarathon Man by Dean Karnazes (published by Tarcher): Although this isn’t a perfect book, and Karnazes can sometimes come across as a bit arrogant, it’s definitely entertaining, and offers some real insight into the ultramarathon experience. If nothing else, you might enjoy the description of a man eating an entire pizza whilst running, which is quite impressive when you think about it.

 All images © the respective publishers


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