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Why We Run
Format: Paperback|Change
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on 7 July 2013
A must read book for any runner. Very emotional at times too and relatable to any runner of any distance.
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on 2 March 2013
It took me a couple of chapters to get used to the style of writing but I found myself enjoying the book. I've seen that the book has had low stars on the reviews on Amazon but I tend to think that if people have a strong opinion they are more likely to leave reviews. There are probably a lot of people out there that have read the book, would have rated it a 4 or 3 but just haven't because their view isn't that strong.

Amongst other things I liked about the book is the fact that it included some history of running which meant I also learnt a lot about running. It also provoked me to think about why I run and what I think about when I run. The answers are not that complicated for me but thankfully Robin Harvie is a much deeper thinker and so it's a good read.

There are not many books I keep hold of to read again but I have kept this one and will read it again so for me it deserves a 4* review.
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on 28 July 2013
..."we" being those who've similarly taken to the roads at crazy hours, run whilst the world around us slept, got lost in the run and its rhythm...
...admittedly the majority of the population think we're mad, but - we understand each other :-)
The Spartathlon provides the backdrop to a story that is about so much more than the running. I particularly empathised with how, for all the miles of solitude, when it came to the main event Robin found himself longing for companionship. It needn't involve conversation: just sharing a few miles with a couple of Finns (names unknown) would have sufficed. It's a theme that most runners will instantly appreciate: we run alone but, thanks to that unspoken understanding, we secretly enjoy sharing the journey with fellow passengers...
I only became a runner a year ago and, quite frankly, before then I would have been bemused by a lot (but not all) of what Robin recounts here. But for anyone who's lost themselves, even if just once, even if only briefly, in the rhythm of the run... this will resound quite beautifully.
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on 4 June 2014
I really liked this book, and don't agree with the negative reviews on here. Perhaps because I read it as a mixture of a biography (of a short period in the authors life) and a history book.

The sections on the history of running, literary and cultural references were interesting, and I thought made you get to know Robin a little.

I read a lot of running books, a lot of them are very technical and dry, this was a much lighter book and it made for a pleasant and contemplative read.

It would have been nice to hear a bit more about the actual Spartathalon race, but then the story is really about the lead up to it.

One thing I didn't like, is that a seed has been planted in my mind. I recently ran the 145 mile Grand Union Canal race in the UK, and swore that was my last long race ever. My wife will not be happy...
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on 6 January 2013
It skips about a lot dipping into running history, literature, geography and memoir and in that sense unlike most books people probably expect when they pick up a book about running. The historical and literary threads are nicely woven, kind of like Robert Macfarlane's work, which is a really interesting and credible approach. The memoir sections can feel a little indulgent, but... it's a memoir and the ending is a bit loose, but overall an enjoyable read. Couple of things did spring to mind 1) the astonishing patience of the author's (grieving) wife having her husband banging out 100 mile weeks with double marathons at the weekend and an ultra every 3 weeks. She must *really* love that guy. and 2) Not getting injured with that volume of training.
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on 16 July 2013
This book is a great mixture between one runner's own story and the philosophy behind running. Anyone who runs for pleasure, whether it's 5km or 50km, should read this book. A really inspirational read that helped me to get through a very tough race!
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on 15 November 2013
This was a hard book to get into at first but do stick with it for a chapter or two and you really get into it.
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on 7 March 2015
I am a runner, although nothing like these guys who take on the ultra's.

When I pick up a running book I am looking for an interesting read, to see how ordinary people overcome extreme challenges and also to understand a little more about them as people and what makes them tick. This book had all of that, it is certainly one of the better running books I have ever picked up. There are plenty of interesting anecdotes along the way and you do get a flavour of the history or marathon/ultra running.

I found his final run heart wrenching. In many ways I would have liked to read more about it, but I believe the book is aimed more at the preparation and training.

It is a shame that there are a few poor reviews, I can only imagine the style does not appeal to everyone. I am not a person that bothers to write many reviews ... but felt Robin Harvie deserves 5 stars for his amazing book.
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on 14 April 2014
Great read for all lovers of the continual pavement pound. Helps make sense of the mental obsession that drives everyday runners on to do extraordinary things. I was intrugued to learn about the Spartahlon and felt that i was not alone in a curious addiction to one of the loneliest sports that you can do.
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on 25 July 2016
This is an interesting subject but a badly written and poorly structured account. I found the whole thing really disappointing and actually struggled to finish it, such was its lack of readability. The autobiographical episodes are interesting but leave the reader with so many unanswered questions, and key details are omitted which leave you trying to work out what on earth was going on - particularly in the sections dealing with his in-laws.
The historical references and quotes are interesting but seem to be randomly peppered into the book and don't fit naturally. The final account of the ultra marathon race is the best part of the book but even that is a bit disjointed and at times confusing. But the main disappointment is the readability - I regard myself as fairly literate, but I had to re-read several paragraphs in order to work out what the author was trying to say.
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