No running book will escape my grasp, muahaha! I knew I needed to give this one a try when the cover mentioned a dad and a daughter, because my dad’s the one who pushed me to take up running. Tom Foreman’s narrative is humorous, his running experiences distressing (but addicting), and overall, this is a great book about a personal account of someone older who takes up running again. I’m definitely giving this book to my dad – but with a warning that I’ll never approve of him running an ultra. 🙅
Fifty-year-old CNN correspondent Tom Foreman is tricked into running a marathon with his elder daughter. As he trains, he reminisces about his high school long-distance running experiences – and the more he runs, the more he falls back in love with running.
So I’m continuing my obsession with running/exercise books because my dad just persuaded me to sign up for yet ANOTHER half-marathon, and I need all the motivation that I can get. Foreman starts this running memoir with his daughter, Ronnie, asking him to run a marathon with him, as well as his first training run. You’ll be happy to note that his experiences are relatable and realistic: lots of struggles just to get through that first run, that second run, and still struggling even on the tenth run. But the human body is amazing, and Foreman eventually gets the hang of running again. Interspersed in his training experiences are his memories of him running as a youngster, and those easy runs from decades ago really contrasted with his experiences at the present. I can really feel his desire to run, and his gradual and renewed enjoyment for running.
When the title boasts of running “dangerously”, I was definitely thinking of Foreman running through war-torn lands and running away from predator beasts in the wild, but that wasn’t the right interpretation. Running is inherently dangerous, and as much as our bodies can adapt to running long distances, ultras and Ironmans and the like are pushing the limit for some people. I hold my breath as Foreman describes his numerous falls, scrapes, and being lost in the woods. I’m relieved that he is still healthy and relatively unscathed after his running experiences, but I hesitate to try them myself – or let my dad try them. (Because I know he’ll get addicted like Foreman did, and that’d be the end of that.)
Foreman’s humor is another aspect that I really liked about this book. He makes his family and his coworkers sound so funny (okay, maybe he wasn’t exaggerating and they’re actually pretty funny people!), and there’s just the right amount of irony and dramatic flair in the way he narrates. He’s not afraid of showing moments of selfishness and superiority and hopelessness, and other negative attitudes that we’re all prone to develop at some point. He also integrates some of his running-related experiences as a CNN news anchor/reporter into the story, and those anecdotes are also surprisingly numerous. Another fun part of the book are the photos of Foreman that separate each chapter. Yay for pictures in books!
One thing that was surprisingly lacking was the father-daughter interactions. Ronnie’s influence on Foreman is highlighted at the beginning and the end of the book, and her presence was weak throughout the middle. This makes sense though, as she was then a freshman at Georgia Tech, and Foreman was still working. I like how Foreman focused on his own running experiences, but also took the time to highlight his daughter’s role in spurring those experiences as well. (Also, super side note: Ronnie Foreman and I are basically sorority sisters! I say “basically” because I don’t actually remember the last time I paid my dues… 👀)
Overall, My Year of Running Dangerously is a quick read, full of interesting anecdotes and showcasing how fun (and dangerous) running can be. I’d recommend this book for fellow runners, would-be-runners, and those of you looking for memoirs with realistic and day-to-day adventures.