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Four must-read books for every runner

Part education, part biography, part inspiration - these books will get you running.

Young man sitting on sofa with cat is reading

Born to run: A hidden tribe, superathletes, and the greatest race the world has never seen – Christopher McDougall

Author and journalist Christopher McDougall researches the isolated Tarahumara Indian tribe living in the Mexican Copper Canyons. The tribe’s ability to run ultra marathons at speed with very few injuries is a source of fascination for McDougall and he takes readers on a journey as he models his own running after the Tarahumara’s style. ‘Born to run’ has been credited as being a catalyst for the ‘barefoot running’ movement.

What I talk about when I talk about running – Haruki Murakami

Written as a personal memoir of sorts, Murakami documents his thoughts, ideas and reflections on running in this short, intimate read. A long-distance runner most of his life, Murakami’s disciplined approach to exercise is revealed through the book and offers a rare insight into his dedicated attitude to writing. For Murakami fans with a keen interest in running, this is a winning combination.

Bowerman and the men of Oregon: The story of Oregon’s legendary coach and Nike’s co-founder – Kenny Moore

Over his career as an American track and field coach, Bill Bowerman trained 31 Olympic athletes and 16 sub-4 minute milers. A progressive thinker, Bowerman co-founded Nike with Phil Knight and the company’s Oregon headquarters is located on Bowerman Drive in his honour. He coached running legend Steve Prefontaine, invented Nike’s iconic waffle-sole runner and helped spark the jogging boom of the ‘70s. Author Kenny Moore is a two-time Olympic marathoner and was coached by Bowerman. At its heart this book is about running but the tale of Nike’s success woven throughout makes for an interesting read.

Paula: My story so far – Paula Radcliffe

English long-distance runner Paula Radcliffe holds the current women’s world record in the marathon with a lightening quick time of 2:15.25 hours. A three-time winner of the New York and London marathons, Radcliffe’s autobiography was released in 2004 and tracks her decorated running career but also provides a detailed look at the injuries that have plagued her along the way. Nutrition, her struggle with asthma and the emotional toll of elite sport are all explored.

Quick trivia

  • If you were to listen to the Lord of The Rings trilogy on audiobook, it would be 54 hours long. That’s one way to clock up some miles in the legs!
  • The Tarahumara tribe who inspired ‘Born to run’ are extraordinary endurance runners who wear simple huarache sandals when running.
  • Coach and Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman used his wife’s waffle iron to heat the rubber for the first lightweight waffle outsole shoe.

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