I am nervous about reading running memoirs. I don’t want to read about some super-athlete’s running diaries, because I am not a super-athlete, and I doubt I will ever be. Also, I’ve never really hero-worshiped an athlete so reading someone’s memoirs based on a sport they are good at, does not appeal to me.
Tom Foreman’s My Year of Running Dangerously appealed to me because his running journey is described as “from half-hearted couch potato to ultra-marathon runner”; and also because he ran after being prompted by his college-aged daughter. Family for the win!
Foreman is brutally honest about his running. He is a natural athlete (which I am not) and writes bluntly about his younger days of running without adequate training. His humour is sharp and intelligent.
“…my races were exercises in absurdity. I’d start out fast, fall apart in the middle, and by the end be hobbling like some newly discovered Dickens character named Chuffy Dimblewit.”
I love his fine illustration of the love-hate relationship runners have with running. How it can raise you up one day, and pull you down the next.
“Each painfree gallop down the road with songbirds winging alongside has been matched by an agonizing grind in which every muscle and joint howl to the heavens.”
The memoir becomes even more exciting when Tom decides to go into ultra-running. It is a testament to his writing that I have now become interested in ultra-running, whereas before I always claimed that I would never run more than a half-marathon.
I would highly recommend this book, although I’m not sure that somebody who has zero interest in running would appreciate it. If you’re considering taking up running, this may provide the push you need to get started. If you’ve hit a plateau, this might push you back into the fast lane. And if you’re just a happy runner, this memoir will be like taking a run with a favourite running partner.
Disclaimer: I received an eARC of this book via NetGalley and Blue Rider Press in exchange for an honest review.