The Quotable Runner (Edited by Mark Will-Weber)
This book contains pretty much every running quote in existence. I got this book from my teammate/best friend during my final track season in high school after breaking the school 2-mile record. Flipping through it brings back great memories of that season – as well as fresh inspiration even from the most often re-read quotes.
The Perfect Mile (Neal Bascomb)
Loved this account of the battle to break the 4-minute mile barrier. Also, Bannister is officially my hero – training to break the 4-minute mile during med school? Yep, that’s officially impressive.
Uncommon Heart (Anne Audain and John L. Parker, Jr.)
I actually had the pleasure of having a retired Ms. Audain, a former world-class runner from New Zealand, fly past me on the greenbelt during a summer tempo run (ok, a tempo run for me, only an easy run for her!) a decade ago. I really enjoyed her autobiography – it’s not a particularly fast-paced read, but the insight into her development as a runner and growing strength as a person was inspiring.
On the Wings of Mercury: The Lorraine Moller Story (Lorraine Moller)
Lorraine Moller’s story was especially interesting after reading Anne Audain’s book. Lorraine and Anne raced as rivals during a large part of their careers, and it is really interesting seeing each woman’s story from the perspective of the other. Although there is definitely some antipathy in their competitive relationship, there are some interesting parallels in their personal lives and the challenges that they faced as female athletes during the developmental decades of women’s distance running.
Once a Runner (John L. Parker, Jr.)
Freaking amazing – if you’ve run in high school or college you’ll appreciate all the random runner goings-on. I really loved the goofy parts, but the workout and race scenes are brilliant as well. Considering how much reading the racing parts got my heart rate up, I’d say you could almost count it as a workout 😉
Again to Carthage (John L. Parker Jr.)
Although this book’s content heavier than its prequel’s (Once a Runner), and a bit less focused on running overall, it really resonated with me during my first Fall away from collegiate XC. The book delves into many experiences more profoundly heart wrenching than the small tragedy of a runner suddenly absent a team, uniform, and sense of purpose. However, the way Parker portrays this loss, as a loss of a family built during the endless miles and hours spent just hanging out and goofing around during the down time at meets and on trips, perfectly captured the absence that I felt after essentially saying goodbye forever to my daily life as a member of that running family.
What books do you use for running inspiration?