Going Long is a compilation of short but inspirational stories from Runner’s World Magazine about exceptional runners. Not all of them are distinguished or decorated runners. There are stories about everyday runners who have never placed in a race, whether it is an Olympics or local 5K run. But all 34 stories have motivational pull that every runner or wanna-be-runner will be benefited from reading. If I have to pick my favorites, they are Life and Limb by Bruce Barcott and Leading Men by Kenny Moore.
Life and Limb is a story about Tom While, who is a very active country doctor and used to be a nationally ranked cross-country when he was in college; however, the motorcycle accident in his 20s had slowly stripped his ability to run and he had to give up running all together by the time he was 47. Maddened by his condition, he decides to have his leg amputated and get a prosthesis. After the operation and rehab, he gets a custom-made prosthesis. Surely, he had a lot of adjustments to make and get used to the new leg, both physically and mentally. But he gets over them and completed a 10-K in the French Alps after six months since the operation. What’s extraordinary about him is not just his fast recovery but his conviction that his life would be much better once he got a new leg. He did not have to amputate his leg. It was not life-threatening condition. There were a lot of accomplished runners running with prosthesis these days, but almost all of them had no choice but amputate. Tom White was different. He chose to get a new leg, so that he can run again. He can run 10-K races with his daughters and a marathon with his wife. That’s extraordinary. Would I do the same if I was in his position? I will consider but I don’t know if I will be brave enough.
Leading Men is a story about Steve Prefontaine and his relationship with his coach, Bill Bowerman. Many books and articles were written about him and there are two movies, that I know of, made about him. I’ve read them and saw them. He was a super talented runner and eccentric man. His races were exciting, and many people, including non runners, wanted to see him run. But what I really enjoyed this story was the coach-runner relationship between Pre and Bill. I don’t recall the books I read and movies I saw were focused on this (maybe they should make a movie about it). Perhaps, this is because I did not have such experience when I ran track. I did have a coach in high school, but I was not nearly as talented as Pre, and my high school coach was a distance runner while I was running short distance then. Also, my personality is very different from his. Because of the differences, I thoroughly enjoyed reading and it is a classic and beautiful story about a runner and his coach.
All other 32 stories are as good as these two. Some of them are more mind-blowing, while others are tear-flowing. But these two stories stuck the most. I would recommend this book to anyone who are interested in running, whether they are runners or not.[schema type=”book” url=”http://www.amazon.com/Going-Long-Oddballs-Comebacks-Adventures/dp/1605295337/” name=”Going Long” author=”Editors of Runner’s World” publisher=”Rodale Books” pubdate=”2010-03-30″ isbn=”978-1605295336″ ]