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Running My Life - The Autobiography [Paperback]

Seb Coe
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
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Book Description

23 May 2013

One second in time may separate the great athlete from the merely good. Seb Coe has made every second count. From an early age he has been driven to be the best at everything he does. Since the moment Coe stood alongside a 'scrubby' municipal running track in Sheffield, he knew that sport could change his life. It did. Breaking an incredible twelve world records and three of them in just forty-one days, Seb became the only athlete to take gold at 1500 metres in two successive Olympic Games (Moscow 1980 and Los Angeles 1984).

The same passion galvanised Coe in 2005, when he led Britain's bid to bring the Olympic and Paralympic Games to London. He knew that if we won it would regenerate an East London landscape and change the lives of thousands of young people. It has.

Born in Hammersmith and coached by his engineer father, Coe went from a secondary modern school and Loughborough University to become the fastest middle-distance runner of his generation. His rivalry with Steve Ovett gripped a nation and made Britain feel successful at a time of widespread social discontent. From sport Coe transferred his ideals to politics, serving in John Major's Conservative government from 1992 to 1997 and developing 'sharp elbows' to become chief of staff to William Hague, leader of the Party from 1997 to 2001 and finally a member of the House of Lords.

Running My Life is in turns exhilarating, inspiring, amusing, and extremely moving. Everyone knows where Sebastian Coe ended up. Few people realise how he got there. This is his personal journey.


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Product details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks (23 May 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1444732536
  • ISBN-13: 978-1444732535
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.8 x 3.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 23,887 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

Fascinating and rather uplifting... This is a singularly well-written sporting autobiography. (The Sunday Times)

In his enjoyable autobiography, Running My Life, Coe goes some way towards dispelling the myths. A combination of Olympic success, allied to political nous, made Coe a perfect candidate to run the campaign for the London Olympics. And what a success he made of it. (The Times)

Fast-paced, lively and packed with anecdotes. (Daily Express)

A well-timed autobiography from a true British great. (Sun)

Running My Life is far from the self-congratulatory account one might expect. Charting his rise from a Sheffield secondary modern to double Olympic champion, multiple record-holder, politician and inspirational leader behind the successful Games, he reveals a personality far more amusing and unpretentious than his smooth public image would suggest. (Independent on Sunday)

It's a proper autobiography in that it begins at the beginning...Coe's direct prose drives this engrossing book. (Daily Telegraph)

Book Description

The full story of the man who won two gold Olympic medals and then brought the Olympics to London.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Published with athletic timing. 22 Nov 2012
Format:Hardcover
You wonder how long this book or the idea of this book was a glint in the eye of Seb Coe.
He has had so many opportunities throughout his glittering career to have sat down and put pen to paper to tell "my story" but averred. Something must have told him to hold on, just wait, and not make a hasty dash for the line,- until this year- the year of perhaps his greatest triumph- the London 2012 Olympics. In this regard Seb Coe and his autobiography are very different from the hordes of other autobiographies rushed out to make the most of "ten minutes of fame."

The book starts off with Seb's 'roots' and the story of his father, Peter Coe.( the ultimate "autodidact" as Seb puts it). His personality explains a lot about the latter father-son relationship which is discussed in a very open manner ( yes, Peter Coe did tell his son that he ran like a c*** after the 800m at Moscow where he won Silver) and generally the book did not have the feel of hagiography ( Seb is honest enough to recount what he perceives as personal failings and this does create a more rounded and realistic self portrait). What you do also realise if you didnt already know this was that when it came to running, Seb Coe was a very lucky man indeed in the choice of his highly analytical father. In this regard I think the 'old man' would be pleased with his son's efforts to set the record straight about their relationship.

The story rapidly moves on however to look at athletics, and writing about the most fascinating aspect of Coe's life (for many of us) was always going to be a fine balancing act- I mean the Coe versus Ovett story. I initially thought this bit was a little undercooked but then on further reflection saw that most of the hype and media interest in the pair was just that- hype.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars High Achiever 15 Nov 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a book written on the back of the great success, for which Coe can claim a lot of the credit, of the London Olympics and Paralympics. The author gives a lot of insights into the bidding process and help received from diaparate people as Ken Livingstone, Tony Blair, Tessa Jowell, John Prescott and Juan Antonio Samaranch, though I felt he skated over Samaranch's dubious record in the Franco era.
The book is long (470 pages of text, plus illustrations)and I found the first few sections dealing with his childhood and adolescence, the most interesting. His father Peter played a huge part in his success as an athlete, and he paints a justly admiring picture of his father, who was regarded by the athletics establishment as a bit of a heretic. Seb, too, had several brushes with the sports authorities until recent times, and once he was famous was exposed to more than one made-up story in the tabloids, two of which he successfully sued.
The athletics part of the book - the major part, obviously - races along at breakneck speed, interrupted by the period as a Tory MP (despite having grown up in a Labour area) which was a principal ingredient in the breakdown of his first marriage. There is a good account of his 'rivalry' with Steve Ovett, exaggerated by the media.
There are one or two sloppy uses of English ('equally as') which is all that stopped me awarding the book five stars. Incidentally there is another book by a fellow Olympian, though a less distinguished one - but of course there is no copyright in titles.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read, intelligently written 28 Jan 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This was really well written and brought me back to my teenage years when I followed athletics fervently. When you get used to Seb Coe's ability to remind everyone just how wonderful he was/is then it is a fascinating read. The difference to other autobiographies of sports stars is that he has a wonderful story to tell of all of the strands of his life. Not to be missed
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A really good read 7 Feb 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed reading Seb Coe's autobiography and recommend it to anyone interested in sports or politics. It is well written and very interesting.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read! 22 Jan 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A thoroughly enjoyable read. Surprisingly witty and a great insight to a good guy! From little acorns and all that...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Be Prepared to be Inspired ! 28 April 2013
By Windy
Format:Hardcover
I've just finished this book and I must confess I did not want this to end. This was such an entertaining read. Fascinating, humorous, inspirational and uplifting from start to finish.

Being around the same age, I've grown up watching many of Seb Coe's achievements from Olympic titles to world records. In his book he talks honestly and frankly about his rivalry with Steve Ovett, life as a politician, how the political system works, working for William Hague, and the absorbing, honest, enlightening, and at times comical revelations of how the Olympics were won.

I've been surprised at some of the revelations that have been made in this book, especially about mainstream political figures, Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, Ken Livingstone, Boris Johnson, he holds nothing back.

His honesty and at times humorous anecdotes are what makes this book so enjoyable. His recap of the Olympics rekindled those wonderful feelings of bursting pride and magical spirit that consumed everyone. His recall of issues surrounding the obtaining of planning permission for Greenwich equestrian events, the exploits of our athletes and his recapping of the positive comments that other global entities were saying about our Olympics. All of this was hugely entertaining.

This book is truly inspirational, and although he's already achieved more than many of us can only dream about, it seems Sebastian Coe is not ready to sit back just yet, as illustrated with his closing comments. "Although my children consider me ancient, I'm still only in my mid fifties. And while I may no longer hope to run faster, jump higher or be stronger, there's still a lot I want to do with my life. I'm not ready to slow down yet"
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars EXCELLENT READ
Excellent read, good to follow through the process of winning the Olympic games at the end. Recommend this book highly.
Published 5 days ago by Ray Macpherson
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
great buy looking 4ward to reading it
Published 21 days ago by Paul Ristow
5.0 out of 5 stars I bought this book as a present for a friend ...
I bought this book as a present for a friend who is mad on sports and she wanted it for her Birthday. She was Over the Moon. Thank you.
Published 1 month ago by Brenda Statham
5.0 out of 5 stars christmas present
Bought this for my son as christmas present as loves sport and was interested in olympics and loves reading books.
Published 4 months ago by debra hart
5.0 out of 5 stars fabulous
Am now in awe of seb and all he has done - fabulous reading. Wonder what he will do next?
Published 5 months ago by Sarah
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book Great Guy
Fantastic read. A book about his dad would be just as interesting. Seb clearly owes a lot to his father.
Very readable with some great training insights
Published 5 months ago by Barry Phillips
2.0 out of 5 stars you need to be a full on sports fan to enjoy this
Just found this rather boring , it was chosen for our book club but somehow it missed the mark as a general read .
Published 6 months ago by V.A. Tuxill
4.0 out of 5 stars Running my life - seb coe
A good read but with some very long chapters. An enlightening clash of politics and sport. Well done Lord coe
Published 7 months ago by Avril Rennard
5.0 out of 5 stars xmas present
excellent book very good read brought as xmas present and was liked by everyone, a lovely man and comes out in book
Published 7 months ago by miss melanie haycock
4.0 out of 5 stars Seb Coe Autobiography
Excellent bed time reading. Very interesting reading after all the effort he put into organising the olimpic games in London.
Published 8 months ago by P R.
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