“RUNNING with the LEGENDS”, by, Michael Sandrock, Human Kinetics, Champaign, Illinois. 1996, pp 568
While trying to finish the Dr George Sheehan trilogy (see last months Newsletter) I finally finished a book that I have been reading for over a year. “Running with the Legends” is definitely not an easy read. At over 550 pages it is a solid commitment. At 21 chapters in length, basically 21 different short stories (one for each ‘legend’) don’t necessarily lend themselves to a cover to cover read. The legends include Zatopek, Keino, Rodgers, Waitz, Coe and Benoit among many others. I find reading a chapter or 2 at a time and most likely in a random order the most satisfying. Sometimes not getting back to the book for weeks at time has been the norm. The short story format lends itself to a great experience. Each story has been very well written and very complete. You will get a nice understanding of the running careers of each ‘Legend’ with the welcome addition of their insights and training trips. Each chapter begins with a historical picture of the runner, a birthdate, a nickname and many of their most important running records/awards. At an average of 25 pages per story you will be drawn into the life of each legend. “Running with the Legends”, if in a slightly larger and thinner format. would make an excellent coffee table book for any proud Empire Runner (see Cosmo Kramers idea for a coffee table book about coffee tables :}. Well even if this book doesn’t end up on your coffee table it would be a welcome addition to any runners bookshelf and his or her essential running library list. I would rate “Running with the Legends” a 5/5 and a must have. In addition, the reading of the short stories of each legend may pique your interest to find and read the full length versions where available. Happy reading.