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Run the World: My 3,500-Mile Journey Through…

Run the World: My 3,500-Mile Journey Through Running Cultures Around the…

by Becky Wade

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Long-distance runner, Becky Wade, travels the world and spends time with running communities in different cultures. She trains in England and Ethiopia, Switzerland and Australia and Japan. Along the way, she learns that there are multiple ways to train. She adopts some new techniques and makes new friends on trails and tracks around the world. ( )
  porch_reader | Dec 9, 2016 |
I haven't laced up my running shoes in a very long time. I enjoyed running, enjoyed the people I met through it, and enjoyed how in shape I felt when I was doing it. But I was firmly a middle of the pack recreational runner so when I drifted away from it, I don't think anyone ever noticed, not even me until I woke one day and realized I hadn't run in months. And while I do miss it sometimes and make numerous unkept plans to pick it back up, I have never felt like running was like breathing for me, so vital that I couldn't live without it. Becky Wade, whose account of her year long Watson Fellowship is chronicled in the new memoir Run the World has to run; it is who she is and it is indeed like breathing for her.

Wade is an elite runner who wanted to explore the running culture and training practices around the world after she graduated from Rice University before taking up the mantle of professional runner and Olympic hopeful in her post-college career. She applied for and was granted a Watson Fellowship to do just this, traveling to England and Ireland, Ethiopia, Switzerland, Sweden and Finland, Japan, and Australia and New Zealand. In each place she was hosted by people in the local running community, joined in training with local runners, enjoyed the food that elite athletes from these very different parts of the world use to fuel their workouts, and examined the running innovations born in these very disparate places for both elite and casual runners. Wade found very different training regimens across the world, all of which have, at one time or another, developed world class runners, and she tried all of them on her exploratory running year. More than the differences though, what Wade found was a warm and welcoming community of runners the world over. She was embraced by fellow runners, experiencing their world from the perspective of a treasured guest, and coming away from each experience with new dear friends. She also came away from her year with a renewed appreciation for her running gift and a different perspective on training and listening to her body, not tethered so tightly to technology, more intuitive and innate.

Wade has an easy, chatty narrative style making this a fast, delightful read. Her wonder and enthusiasm for her sport and for the people and places she encountered on her travels shine through the book. The brief bits of running history she sprinkles through the very personal tale are interesting, even for the non-runner. As an elite runner herself, her unexpected positivity about recreational runners and joggers and their growth within this accessible sport is a delight. Wade clearly has a wonderfully positive attitude, a curiosity, and a joy about running that served her well as she traveled far from family and friends. She doesn't share much about the harder parts of her year abroad, and there had to be harder parts, so the narrative is definitely weighted towards the incredible and favorable experiences. Each leg of her journey is captured in a separate chapter, at the end of which she adds a recipe from that part of the world. The individual chapters allow her to encapsulate what she's learned from each different country in terms of training, her own body, and the life lessons she takes away from each philosophy she encounters. The book is not terribly long and will take most readers only slightly longer to read than it takes Becky Wade to run a marathon (and she's fast!). Those who love running, those who have an interest in different athletic cultures, and those who enjoy memoirs about a year devoted to doing one thing will certainly enjoy this friendly and entertaining account of Wade's year running around the world. ( )
  whitreidtan | Jul 13, 2016 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 006241643X, Paperback)

From elite marathoner and Olympic hopeful Becky Wade comes the story of her year-long exploration of diverse global running communities from England to Ethiopia—9 countries, 72 host families, and over 3,500 miles of running—investigating unique cultural approaches to the sport and revealing the secrets to the success of runners all over the world.

Fresh off a successful collegiate running career—with multiple NCAA All-American honors and two Olympic Trials qualifying marks to her name—Becky Wade was no stranger to international competition. But after years spent safely sticking to the training methods she knew, Becky was curious about how her counterparts in other countries approached the sport to which she’d dedicated over half of her life. So in 2012, as a recipient of the Watson Fellowship, she packed four pairs of running shoes, cleared her schedule for the year, and took off on a journey to infiltrate diverse running communities around the world. What she encountered far exceeded her expectations and changed her outlook into the sport she loved.

Over the next twelve months—visiting 9 countries with unique and storied running histories, logging over 3,500 miles running over trails, tracks, sidewalks, and dirt roads—Becky explored the varied approaches of runners across the globe. Whether riding shotgun around the streets of London with Olympic champion sprinter Usain Bolt, climbing for an hour at daybreak to the top of Ethiopia’s Mount Entoto just to start her daily run, or getting lost jogging through the bustling streets of Tokyo, Becky’s unexpected adventures, keen insights, and landscape descriptions take the reader into the heartbeat of distance running around the world.

Upon her return to the United States, she incorporated elements of the training styles she’d sampled into her own program, and her competitive career skyrocketed. When she made her marathon debut in 2013, winning the race in a blazing 2:30, she became the third-fastest woman marathoner under the age of 25 in U.S. history, qualifying for the 2016 Olympic Trials and landing a professional sponsorship from Asics.

From the feel-based approach to running that she learned from the Kenyans, to the grueling uphill workouts she adopted from the Swiss, to the injury-recovery methods she learned from the Japanese, Becky shares the secrets to success from runners and coaches around the world. The story of one athlete’s fascinating journey, Run the World is also a call to change the way we approach the world’s most natural and inclusive sport.

(retrieved from Amazon Wed, 08 Jun 2016 22:18:01 -0400)

"An elite marathoner describes the year she spent running over 3,500 miles in nine different countries, living with host families and exploring diverse running communities and cultures all over the globe,"--NoveList.

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