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Review of New Running Book

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If you think that running is simple and not particularly deep in meaning, you haven’t read the new book Footnotes: How Running Makes Us Human . It is true that running a lot gives one lots of time to think, but the auther, Vybarr Cregan-Reid, has surpassed what most of us have conceived of regarding thinking about running. This is not a light-hearted how-to, but a serious 331 page consideration of the meaning of running.

Why do people like to run so much? The book theorizes that the activity is vital to our very identities as human beings. He calls on both hard science and literature to mix in with his extensive personal experiences running throughout the world to form an interesting thesis regarding human evolution. However, when he veers into poetry and discussions of the soul, it becomes somewhat strained. We know running feels good and that it probably relates to our evolution as physically active beings, but do we really need to say more?

Some people run to clear their heads and get away from their thoughts. This book tends to push the reader in the opposite direction, but it is unlikely to inspire the average reader to run more. Why do people put themselves through such pain to complete ultra-marathons? Apparently, if you have to ask, you aren’t really a runner.

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