Rapid review: Long May You Run

Chris Cooper, Long May You Run (Touchstone, 2010)

This book is a hodgepodge of running facts, figures, and motivations. Seemingly intended for an audience new to running, it has some items that can enlighten most veterans. In my case, I learned about the evolution of the marathon distance to its current 26.2 miles (you can thank the British royal family for that).

Chris Cooper has assembled an all-star crew that he calls “contributors” to the book, although it’s not clear which sections were contributed by such luminaries as Jeff Galloway, Scott Jurek, Kathrine Switzer, and Bart Yasso, among others. There are also profiles of other running legends of yore in the Hall of Fame series, including Emil Zátopek, Steve Prefontaine, and the late Grete Waitz.

As a Canadian reader of this book, I was a bit overwhelmed with the emphasis on many things American, including sections on running on the 4th of July and on Thanksgiving, and a blank page to write down 50 marathons completed in 50 states. In some race descriptions, mileage conversions of metric distances (“5k = 3.1 miles”) are relentless. There was even a little blurb about Bannister and Landy and the “Mile of the Century”, but was disappointed that Vancouver (where it took place in 1954) was not mentioned. I’m not sure why this bothers me, as I have a subscription to Runner’s World, but that’s the nature of the beast, I suppose.

Long May You Run is definitely an interesting compendium of running miscellanea for runners of all abilities. I would give it an OK recommendation simply because of its varied content and short snippets.

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