Book Review: A Year on the Run

What’s the running relevance of 5 January? Well, on this day in 1947, Kathrine Switzer was born. For those of you who read my review of the book Marathon Woman, you’ll know that Kathrine Switzer was the first woman to ever run the Boston Marathon as a registered participant. She was also a major advocate for women’s running and responsible for getting the women’s marathon recognized as an Olympic sport.

What about 13 April? Any guesses? That was the day that Britain’s Paula Radcliffe won the London Marathon in two hours, 15 minutes and 25 seconds, beating her own previous world record of 2:17:18.

What’s special about 4 October? That’s the day in 2014 that Park Run turned 10!

All of these are stories from my new book, one of the excellent running themed things I got for Christmas. The book is called A Year on The Run and it is essentially a daily look at all 365 days of the year with historical running stories on each day. It’s basically 365 short stories about running through the ages. Written by Damian Hall and illustrated by Daniel Seex, the book chronicles running from the days of competitive walking in the 1800s to today’s trend setters and record breakers. But, it’s not just stories of accomplishment. What kind of book about running would be complete without tales of challenges and misfortune? This book also includes several anecdotes about the quirky and not-so-glamorous side of running.

Can I write a review without reading the book first? Yes, in this case, I think I can. This is not the kind of book you sit down and read for hours. Each entry is only a short paragraph and takes just a minute to read. For that reason, it’s a great thing to pick up in the morning and read vs. scrolling through Instagram for 10 minutes. Starting my day with an inspiring or amusing running story is a great way to get motivated for the morning workout.

In just 5 short days, I’ve already learned some fascinating facts. For example, did you know that there is an annual race in Surrey, southeast England, on New Year’s Day called The Knacker Cracker? 200 people gather at Box Hill and run 10K dressed as bananas and ladybugs, and it’s apparently always sold out.

The illustrations are gorgeous. Daniel Seex is a true talent. Also his Twitter handle, @TheJoyofSeex, cracked me up. I could happily take the title page from each month of the book and put it on my wall.

It is such an excellent, beautiful book. A big shout-out to my brother-in-law’s gf Lesley for the wonderful gift! I highly recommend it as a gift for any runner you might know. You can order it on Amazon here.

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