The Incomplete Book of Running by Peter Sagal [8/10]

Older runners will immediately recognize the cover of “The Incomplete Book of Running as part homage, part spoof of Jim Fixx’s “The Complete Book of Running,” the bible of the nascent 1970s running boom. Indeed Peter Sagal attributes acquiring the running bug, as an overweight teen, from his wise dad who saw the light according to Fixx. Sagal’s book is nothing like Fixx’s, less a prescriptive paean, more an extended memoir and wise shoulder, but it is nonetheless an inspiring work. I loved his immersive descriptions of key marathons and his dive into the question of why we runners hurt ourselves was welcome to me at this point in my life. The book also reverberates as a memoir of a comedian whose life plunges low after a divorce. Sagal’s lynchpin is the tale of his terrorism-blighted 2013 Boston Marathon guiding a blind runner. There’s plenty of blindingly brilliant writing here (it’s not easy bringing a run to life, as I know) and the book is artfully constructed. Would I recommend “The Incomplete Book of Running” to a non-runner considering the sport? Possibly not, but if you’ve ever donned joggers and hit the roads, this is a zesty and stylish reminder of why you should be out there right now.

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