In To Be a Runner: How Racing Up Mountains, Running with the Bulls, or Just Taking On a 5-K Makes You a Better Person (and the World a Better Place), author Michael Dugard develops running as a metaphor for the impetus to be your best in life. The book really is about running–I made notes about how to train and what to look for in a running shoe–but at a deeper level it’s about finding that sweet spot of pushing yourself to be your best without crashing and burning out.
I enjoyed the book on both levels. As I’ve recently returned to running after a 15 year hiatus, I appreciated the practical insights and examples. Dugard is a life-long competitive runner and also a cross-country coach, so his thoughts on running are well-formed and tested.
His applications are also personal. In describing various extreme races and running feats, Dugard is thoughtful and funny about what it means to be driven, how he’s grappled with balance, and how goals change in adulthood.
With good humor and tight writing, To Be a Runner is an engaging and interesting read, with wide applications. It will appeal most to people who run, obviously, but if you’re the sort of person who likes to push your limits in other ways you’d probably also enjoy it.
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