It was a couple of months after Meb Keflezighi won the Olympic Marathon Trial in Houston when I saw an Amazon promotion posted on Twitter about this book, Run to Overcome. It was offered at $0.99! I jumped on it and started to read. However, it did not go as fast as it has done for other books. This is partly because I had three other books (Young at Heart, The Four-Minute Mile, and Jim Ryun Story) from the public library, which I had to finish within three weeks – they were all great books. That, unfortunately, made me put Run to Overcome aside for a while until I finished one of these three books. I went back to it for a few chapters, but I started to read the second one of the three. This was repeated until I read all three books. So, there was no continuity in my reading of Run to Overcome, and possibly this is one of the reasons why I did not get into it too much. But also I felt the story-telling could be more captivating, especially considering Meb’s experience in having spent his early childhood in Eritrea, moved to the United States, and become elite runners and considering how much he achieved over the years.
There are plenty of materials he, or the editor, could have turned this into a better story. Perhaps, the impact from his life events got diluted, because they covered too much. Both Four-Minute Mile and Jim Ryun Story covered only a few years of each spectacular runner. This book covers almost 30 years of Meb’s life. But then, Young at Heart covered about 60 years of John A. Kelley’s life and I could not put down the book. There should be a way to make Meb’s story more exciting.
Also, the focus of the book may not be very obvious to its readers. There is competitive aspect, spiritual aspect and instructional/educational aspect to this book and none of them stand out strongly. For example, Ryan Hall’s book, Running with Joy, has very strong spiritual component, and others I have read have very strong competitive components. Run to Overcome might have succeeded if the focus was more clear to the readers.
I admire Meb’s excellent achievements and his tenacity that just wouldn’t quit. Reading this book, I learned that he has overcome many challenges and obstacles, and running certainly helped him overcome. I wish all the best in his training for and performance at the London Olympics this summer.