Run or die

Posted on March 20, 2014

At the running (10)BRC last weekend, I finished absorbing the words of world-renowned endurance runner and total rockstar, Kilian Jornet. His book, Run or Die, had been on my list for an age, which can sometimes spell disappointment when it comes to actually reading it… you know, when expectations shoot through the roof in the build up so when the day finally comes that you flick to the first page, it’s already doomed not to shine.

Run or die, however, was a joy to read. Covering lots of Jornet’s epic races and adventures including his 2010 Western States, FKT (Fastest Known Time) on Tahoe Rim and epic ascent and descent of Kili, he gives a real glimpse of what goes on in his mind… which as we all know, is the maker or breaker of such achievements rather than the strength in the legs or the fight in the lungs.

The story-telling is raw and agenda free… he’s not a writer so don’t expect perfect prose and sublime sequences. But you can expect some wonderful yarns about his tales of the trail and you can expect to want to tie up your laces every time you put it down to go for a run!

If on your list too, read and enjoy. If not, however, and you just want to absorb the greatest words from cover to cover, see below!

Pg. 33

“Running is an art, like painting a picture or composing a piece of music. And to create a work of art, you have to be clear about four basic concepts; technique, effort, talent and inspiration. And all of this must be combined in dynamic equilibrium.”

Pg. 64

“Thresholds don’t exist in terms of our bodies. Our speed and strength depend on our body, but the real thresholds, those that make us give up or continue with the struggle, those that enable us to fulfill our dreams, depend not on our bodies but on our minds and the hunger we feel to turn dreams into reality.”

Pg. 116

“I see only the images I want to see, those that enable me to continue to forget the pain. I think of Dick Hoyt,  a triathlete with a son who suffers from a bone-marrow disease that has left him paraplegic. So that his son can experience the joys of life, just like anyone else, Hoyt runs Ironman races dragging his son in a boat behind him on swims, transporting him by bike, and pushing his wheelchair on runs. I picture fierce battles, when soldiers dragged themselves along when wounded. They never lost the energy or strength to continue.”

Finally, for all those running this weekends Dube Run(s)… enjoy every moment. With Riverside behind the scene, it promises to be wonderful. And when the going gets tough, have these three quotes etched on your memory. To be physically able to run, to have the freedom and choice to run… these are a privilege that we should be eternally grateful for.

Over & out.


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