Edgar Hill is a “meh” father at best: he’s content to let his wife take care of the kids while he avoids responsibility and contemplates his dreary life. Until the sky begins to fall, and he only has a few hours to prepare. With a rain of asteroids imminent, Edgar is catapulted into motion, trying to scrape together everything he can to help save his family from the apocalypse. They are trapped in their basement for two weeks, and emerge into a world almost totally devastated.
With a few other survivors, they attempt to sort out their lives. When Edgar is out on a supply run one day, his family is rescued and taken all the way across the country in preparation for evacuation. Now he has only weeks to make it to them, with no vehicles, no supplies, and crazy, power-hungry scavengers who want to rule their own territories between him and his family. Running is the only answer. And Ed has never been much of a runner—more of a couch potato—so the lack of supplies isn’t even his biggest obstacle. Will his ragtag group make it to safety in time?
This novel mixes a dystopian, end-of-the-world feel with literary prose to achieve an adventure that focuses on the outer obstacles, but also a man’s struggles with his own inner ugliness. Ed isn’t a nice guy. He loves his family, but he’s kind of—okay, definitely is—a jerk. The end of the world doesn’t change that, but it does shake loose something in Ed and make him realize how precious his family is. Ed’s friend, Bryce, is a fantastic supporting character, injecting humor and attitude that Ed is decidedly lacking. This was a good read that gave me a bit to think about.
Catriona Menzies-Pike lost her parents in an airplane crash when she was twenty, and spent years floundering. Then she started running, and found a way to move through her grief.
There have always been obstacles for women runners, from cultural constrictions to clothing to men considering it flat-out dangerous. Catriona talks about these problems when she talks about running, and she talks about some of the (underrated in the public eye) triumphs of women in running as well.
The Long Runisn’t a book about some grand triumph in flashy Rocky Balboa style—it’s more about the quiet sort of triumph, one filled with personal satisfaction, accomplishment, and contentment with your own ability. The history of women runners is interesting and frustrating at the same time—why did men find women running so threatening?—and I learned a lot from reading it.
If you have any interest in running or the women’s movement, give The Long Run a read.
Running Man is the autobiography of Charlie Engle, a former drug addict and ultra-runner who spent time in prison for mortgage fraud.
Charlie Engle got involved with drinking at a young age, and soon developed a taste for drugs as well. He forgot his love of running in the haze of drinking and drugs, his life a roller-coaster ride of near-misses, unconvincing excuses, and a struggle to keep it—whatever “it” was—together. He was only partially successful, until his son Brett was born. A few months later, Charlie started running again, in an effort to fuel his sobriety.
Marathons and ultra-marathons soon left Charlie unsatisfied, so he turned to adventure-racing and found his niche. Raising money to support causes he believed in had Charlie traveling the globe and tackling the biggest challenges of his life, including running the Sahara Desert. Then Charlie landed in prison for mortgage fraud, and he had to re-build his life from scratch, not a task for the faint-of-heart.
Running Man is for more than runners. This book will inspire anyone who has ever struggled to overcome a problem, from a physical injury or illness, to bad decisions or betrayal by someone they trusted. A powerful, moving story of one man’s fight to overcome his past as he forges his life into the future he wants, not what the world wants for him. You should definitely read this if you need inspiration for anything!
Chris Spriggs had run several big races—marathons, half-marathons—when his uncle was diagnosed with motor neurone disease. His reaction to his uncle’s diagnosis led Chris to places he never imagined. The Reason I Run tells the tale.
Motor neurone disease, a group of diseases the most well-know of which is ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), affects the voluntary muscles of the body and eventually results in death. But before that, MND causes those who suffer from it to lose control of their body. What they could do before the disease is just a memory. So when Andrew Spriggs, runner of 39 marathons, was diagnosed with it, he knew his racing days were over.
But his nephew, Chris, decided to fight that fate. Instead, he started training to run the Brighton Marathon…while pushing Andrew’s wheelchair, giving his uncle one last chance to race. The obstacles were many: getting permission to push a wheelchair in a race, finding a strategy to keep Andrew secure, training in the rain and the snow, and Chris’ own issues with abandonment and loss. Through it all, the two men persevered, chasing their own personal dreams in the face of overwhelming odds.
The Reason I Run is a first-hand look at one family’s struggle with a horrible disease that transforms their reality. The book is honest, and doesn’t pull any punches with the truth of MND, but will also inspire readers, both the runners and those who do not run.