Since I started running a bit more than eight years ago, I have read several books on running. Authors have included Amby Burfoot, John “The Penguin” Bingham, Hal Higdon, Frank Shorter, Dean Karnazes, among others. Four books stand out, though. They are Born to Run — a Hidden Tribe, Superathletes and the Greatest Race the World has Never Seen by Christopher McDougall; The Longest Race: A Lifelong Runner, an Iconic Ultramarathon, and the Case for Human Endurance by Ed Ayres; Eat & Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness by Scott Jurek with Steve Friedman; and My Year of Running Dangerously: A Dad, a Daughter, a Ridiculous Plan by Tom Foreman.
Each of those books involve ultramarathoning, yet I’ve never completed a marathon, much less an ultramarathon. But each has been inspirational in my running in some way. McDougall’s book was the first of this list. His thesis is that human’s got to be the biggest and baddest on Earth because we can run farther than any other land animal. We’re not the fastest, but we have the greatest endurance. Our bodies are made to run.
Scott Jurek’s book is inspirational because like me, he’s a vegan. He’s proving that it’s possible to accomplish incredible feats of enduring without eating animal protein. He spoke at the local running club’s annual banquet this past January, months after he ran the Appalachian Trail in record time.
Ed Ayres’ book is the only one of the four that I’ve read multiple times. At the age of 60, Ayres set a record for running the JFK 50-miler in Maryland. Ayres, who finished the first New York City Marathon in 1970 when it was loops around Central Park in Manhattan, is the former editorial director of Worldwatch Institute.
Tom Foreman’s book I completed earlier this month, and it is the basis for the title of this blog: Running Dangerously. Foreman, a correspondent with CNN, was challenged on Thanksgiving by his then-18-year-old daughter to train with her and run with her a marathon. She was a freshman at Georgia Tech at the time and they chose a spring marathon in Atlanta. After the marathon, Foreman kept running until he entered an ultramarthon in Maryland (same time of the year as the JFK 50, but not that race because he was too late to sign up).
My goal is to run a marathon in 2017, possibly a spring marathon, either the Sunburst in early June in South Bend, Indiana, or the Carmel Marathon in mid-April in Carmel, Indiana. Or maybe something else. I need to choose a race that’s affordable and near enough to home. Then I need to get a workable plan and get off my arse and get running.