3 Books to get you to the Finish Line

Posted by martin.parnell |
3 Books to get you to the Finish Line

I recently read three books, all involving running, but with very different focuses. The first was “Fast after 50” by Joe Friel. Joe is 70 years old, a masters multiple champion and has coached athletes of all abilities. The book gave guidelines for high-intensity workouts, focused strength training, recovery, cross training and nutrition for high performance. The book also listed some amazing older athletes such as Diana Nyad, age 64, who swam from Cuba to Florida in 53 hours, Bob Scott, age 75, who set a new Ironman World Champion record in 13:27:50 and Libby James, age 76, who set a new half marathon world record in 1:45:56. Sue gave me this book for Christmas and I’m not sure what she was trying to tell me. I did switch to Coconut milk, cut down on my bread and tried some interval training. The jury is still out.

The second book was “Two Hours” by Ed Caesar. Ed is a journalist and has reported from Iran, the Congo and Kosovo. This book looked into the possibility of a marathon, 42.195 kilometres, being run in under two hours. The current world record of 2:02:57 is held by Dennis Kimetto of Kenya set on September 28th 2014 at the Berlin Marathon. Ed spent months with Geoffrey Mutai, another top Kenyan marathoner and discovered that the world of elite marathon running is a business involving big-money races and drugs. The question is, can the magical two hour target be broken without drugs? I’m on Warfarin for my clot on the brain however I don’t think it could be considered “Performance enhancing”.

 The third book I read was “The Illegal” by Lawrence Hill. Lawrence is a Canadian writer and is best known for “The Book of Negroes”. This novel tells the story of Keita Ali. Keita is on the run and is desperate to flee Zantoroland, a mountainous black island that produces the fastest marathoners in the world. Keita signs on with notorious marathon agent, Anton Hamm, who provides Keita with a chance to run the Boston marathon. But when Keita fails to place among the top finishers, rather than being sent back to his own country, he goes into hiding. This book addresses the fate of undocumented refugees who struggle to survive in nations that do not want them. I really enjoyed this book and was thrilled when Clara Hughes defended it in the CBC Canada Reads competition and it won.

Reading these three books made me realise that running is a metaphor for life. There are struggles, triumphs and disappointments. However, whatever is thrown at you, you have to keep going to the end. Remember, having a “Finish The Race Attitude” will take you further than you ever thought possible.

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