Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Run the World - Book Review

About the book
From elite marathoner and Olympic hopeful Becky Wade comes the story of her year-long exploration of diverse global running communities from England to Ethiopia—9 countries, 72 host families, and over 3,500 miles of running—investigating unique cultural approaches to the sport and revealing the secrets to the success of runners all over the world.

Fresh off a successful collegiate running career—with multiple NCAA All-American honors and two Olympic Trials qualifying marks to her name—Becky Wade was no stranger to international competition. But after years spent safely sticking to the training methods she knew, Becky was curious about how her counterparts in other countries approached the sport to which she’d dedicated over half of her life. So in 2012, as a recipient of the Watson Fellowship, she packed four pairs of running shoes, cleared her schedule for the year, and took off on a journey to infiltrate diverse running communities around the world. What she encountered far exceeded her expectations and changed her outlook into the sport she loved.

Over the next twelve months—visiting 9 countries with unique and storied running histories, logging over 3,500 miles running over trails, tracks, sidewalks, and dirt roads—Becky explored the varied approaches of runners across the globe. Whether riding shotgun around the streets of London with Olympic champion sprinter Usain Bolt, climbing for an hour at daybreak to the top of Ethiopia’s Mount Entoto just to start her daily run, or getting lost jogging through the bustling streets of Tokyo, Becky’s unexpected adventures, keen insights, and landscape descriptions take the reader into the heartbeat of distance running around the world. Upon her return to the United States, she incorporated elements of the training styles she’d sampled into her own program, and her competitive career skyrocketed. When she made her marathon debut in 2013, winning the race in a blazing 2:30, she became the third-fastest woman marathoner under the age of 25 in U.S. history, qualifying for the 2016 Olympic Trials and landing a professional sponsorship from Asics.

From the feel-based approach to running that she learned from the Kenyans, to the grueling uphill workouts she adopted from the Swiss, to the injury-recovery methods she learned from the Japanese, Becky shares the secrets to success from runners and coaches around the world. The story of one athlete’s fascinating journey, Run the World is also a call to change the way we approach the world’s most natural and inclusive sport.

My thoughts
I am a relatively novice runner, and I still very much enjoyed reading about running culture around the world (plus it motivated me to lace up my own sneakers a bit more this month). It was so interesting to learn the practises and deeply rooted running traditions from different countries.

Wade clearly describes the different running events she attended and makes you feel like you are actually there. For example, when she describes watching the marathon in the 2012 London Olympics, even though I was just reading about it, I could feel the anticipation building around the event.

Food is so connected to the sport of running and to building community and friendships, so each chapter finishes with a recipe native to one of the countries she was visiting. At the very end of the book, Becky Wade also shares with us her pre-race playlist to get her ready to run.

For anyone with even the smallest interest in both short or long-distance running, you will enjoy Wade's easy to read adventures and discoveries within her book. I learned so much, not only about running, but about different cultures within our global village. I also look forward to keeping an eye out for Becky Wade at future Olympic events!

Run the World is available for purchase here from Amazon and here from Chapters.


Connect with Becky on Instagram and Twitter.

Disclaimer – I received a copy of Run the World courtesy of the author, Harper Collins, and TLC Book Tours in exchange for my review. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own. To check out what other bloggers had to say about Run the World here is the full book tour. Enjoy!

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