Nicole Esplin

Sometimes, we run away from our fears.  Sometimes, we run towards our dreams.  Sometimes, we run against our own ghosts, striving to keep improving.  And sometimes, we run to move on, to make life change faster, and forget about a certain time, a certain person who came into our lives, or a certain feeling we had.  It doesn’t matter why we run, but it matters that we do run.  Recently, I have been leaning on running more than ever before.  I had my ups and downs this year as a freshman college athlete, and I have learned to appreciate running for all it does for me.  It makes me proud when I look back at the miles I’ve logged, proud that I have accomplished something in my life when other things may not go like I want them to.

After my run this morning, I was talking to my old high school coach and some of my teammates about what I should blog about this week.  They came up with some great ideas (which I will definitely be using for future blogs), but as I was driving home, I started thinking about how I want to make sure I share how great running is before I talk about all the technical aspects of it.

I am only one person, so I can only describe how running has shaped my life and helped me through hard times.  Every runner has been affected differently by the sport, and that is why I’m dedicating this blog to the great running novels.  It’s summer time, so everyone has a little extra time when they want a good book to soak up on the beach or lake, and some of the most inspirational books are written by runners and about runners-for any type of athlete.

  1. Once A Runner- Written by collegiate runner John L. Parker Jr., this book follows a fictional runner, Quenton Cassidy, through his struggle as a college runner and Olympic hopeful.  The biggest theme consistent throughout this book is determination, and Cassidy’s love for running is inspiring-as he gives up his college career, girlfriend, and friends to train for the race of his life.  (There is a sequel-Again To Carthage, which I haven’t personally read, but it’s on my list to finish as soon as summer school is over!)
  2. Running with the Buffalo’s- Uniquely written by author Chris Lear after he followed the University of Colorado’s Men’s cross country team and their 1998 season.  Then member of Colorado’s team and now well-known professional distance runner Adam Goucher is highlighted throughout the book, as well as the other members of the team.  The book describes the ups and downs of running, including wins, losses, injuries, and even tragic deaths of teammates.  Whether a runner or not, this book will bring out emotions, and have you rooting for the Buffalo’s as they work towards the national title.
  3. Duel in the Sun-  Written as an extension of a Runner’s World Article by sports writer John Brant, Duel in the Sun tells the story of distance runners Dick Beardsley and Alberto Salazar, and how their lives changed after running the Boston Marathon.  The story of the marathon and the story of the men’s lives are told simultaneously through the book, creating a suspenseful novel.
  4. The Runner’s Rule Book- A quirky, fun read that defines running lingo for all runners and non-runners.  It is fast and easy to read, and essential for any runner who needs a laugh.
Other must-read novels:

The Perfect Mile- Neal Bascomb

Pre-Tom Jordan

Born To Run-Christopher McDougal

So this is my message to you this week:  sit down, grab a great running book, and start reading.  And when you get the urge to go for a run, begin your own inspirational running story to savor for yourself or share with the world.