Yes, I am reading one running book a month to keep the dream alive (and the enthusiasm) until I can begin my running program. Though I know very little about ultra running as a sport, I did watch a documentary or two. It doesn’t seem like MY thing, but I felt it would be interesting to read written by someone involved in the movement and learn more about the passion and motivation behind the intense training. Jornet is a champion runner who has run up all sorts of mountains and holds all sorts of records. At the time of Run or Die‘s publication he was 25. As the book begins Jornet explains a bit about his upbringing and how he fell in love with the mountains. His parents were caretakers of a mountain refuge on the north slope of Cerdanya. His formative years were spent wandering in nature, skiing, and climbing mountains with his parents and sister.
Jornet began skiing and running competitively whilst in high school. It did not take him long to realize that his natural love for being in the mountains led to a natural affinity to run on trails and test his endurance against the highest peaks. After the initial chapter, where Jornet talks about his beginnings in the sport, each chapter outlines a specific race or achievement. He tries to take the reader along with him on the journey and feel what he is feeling. I am not sure he is entirely successful and wonder if in his native Spanish his florid descriptions and poetic ramblings would make more sense. I imagine they would. As he relives these races, Jornet also throws in a bit about a failed romance. I was very confused about what that had to do with anything (although, I not so secretly felt that was the most interesting part of the book) as it didn’t add anything to a discussion of running. They actually served to take me out of the moment when I was ready to run those races with him.
I judge running books by their information and their inspiration. Though I think runners or ultra runners might enjoy sections of this book, overall it is challenging in that it is repetitive about the running and doesn’t give much insight into the runner.