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Autobiographies on Long Distance Runners


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#1 Aching Hammie's

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Posted 26 July 2004 - 02:13 PM

Hey Everyone - I am searching for any interesting biographies or autobiographies on long distance runners. There are heaps of manuals and 'how to' books, but I am really wanting someone to tell their story - not really too phased on who it is!

Any sugestions?

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#2 plu

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Posted 26 July 2004 - 02:54 PM

I am always on the look out.  A good starting point is


Cool Running Library

It also contains links to other threads and book reviews.
Plu

#3 Corsta

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Posted 26 July 2004 - 03:26 PM

G'day.  I'm about done with "The Measure of Success" by arguably our best ever, the great Ron Clarke.  I cannot speak highly enough of this book.  It details his youth and then great athletics career, and also spends a lot of time detailing his successful business and then philanthropic career.  The reason it is a great read is that it is far more than a how to book, it gives you insight into what a great human being he is, and how you can achieve so much in life across a wide range of areas, if you act with passion, ethical standards, and have fun!  Get into it, you'll get a lot more than just a swab of motivation for your next running goal.

#4 danieljohngreen

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Posted 26 July 2004 - 04:46 PM

There are so many good running biographies out there and these form the majority of my favourite running books. Three of my favourites are:

"No bugles, no drums" - Peter Snell (outstanding book)

"The golden mile" - Herb Elliot (also outstanding)

"A clean pair of heels" - Murray Halberg (also great)

Then there are others such as:

"Running Free" - Seb Coe

"In the long run" - Steve Moneghetti (How can you go past it)

"Deek" - Rob de Castella

Steve Ovett - an autobiography (very interesting read into one side of the Coe-Ovett battles)

"In the long run" - Jim Peters (English marathon world record holder from the 50-60's)

"The unforgiving minute" - Ron Clarke

And if you are looking for an outstanding fictional read then get a copy of "Once a runner" by John L Parker Jnr, by far the most outstanding running book I have ever read.

These are a few of my favourites that I have read.

If anyone has a copy of Derek Clayton's book (name escapes me at the moment) that they are interested in selling, I have been trying to get my hands on one for a while.

Thanks
Greeny

#5 ParkRat

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Posted 26 July 2004 - 06:17 PM

Greeny,

'Kiwi's can fly' is also a cracker.  Covers Walker, Dixon & Quax 1975 European tour.

Spehry.

#6 bjs1965

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Posted 26 July 2004 - 06:28 PM

The best running biographical books I ever read would have to be those by Canberran running identity - Brian Lenton. I can't recall their titles, but they were self-published back in the 80s and were on all the top runners of the period. Very hard to find. Wish he was still doing them!

#7 plu

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Posted 26 July 2004 - 06:39 PM

The Brian Lenton book names can be located in this table
Running and other Motivational Books

The table is sorted by the right hand colum.  Just scroll down the left side column.

I am also interested in a copy of D Clayton's book.

Plu

#8 lebusqp

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Posted 26 July 2004 - 08:46 PM

Derek wrote a book called Running To The Top. This is more an instructional rather than autobiographical book. I don't know if he wrote a genuine autobiog. The Lenton books are great reads unfortunately moving house a dozen times in the 80s has left me with just Through The Tape (currently on loan to a CR). Some Lenton interviews were published in the magazine Marathon and Distance Runner as were many fine Alistair Aitken interviews. Unfortunately i've lost many of my LDR mags as well.

#9 danieljohngreen

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Posted 26 July 2004 - 10:38 PM

Parkrat

I actually have a copy of Kiwi's can fly at home, but unfortunately never got around to reading it. I am going to make a start on it tonight as it is about time I opened it.

Running to the top was the Derek Clayton book I was thinking of. I had always thought it was a biography. Still think it would be a very interesting read. He was certainly someone who liked the challenge the boundries of what is physically possible.

Regards
Greeny

#10 Aching Hammie's

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Posted 26 July 2004 - 10:50 PM

Thanks everyone for the feedback - but I am struggling to find any of these books anywhere. Amazon, Dymocks, Angus and Roberston - NO LUCK! Any suggestions?

#11 42.195

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Posted 26 July 2004 - 10:52 PM

Running with the Legends by Michael Sandrock is a great book. "More than just a collection of biographies, Legends details the development, training techniques, coaching, competitions, motives and perspectives of 21 all-time great runners."
Emil Zatopek, Kip Keino, Bill Rogers, Frank Shorter,Grete Waitz, Ingrid Kristiansen, Sebastian Coe, Deek, Rosa Mota, Said Aouita, Lasse Viren etc.
A great read - Zatopek chapter is a favorite. The man was awesomely tough!!!!

#12 42.195

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Posted 26 July 2004 - 10:54 PM

Aching Hammie's, many of these books will be out of print. Do you live near a good library?
Otherwise, do a websearch for second hand booksellers. There are many in USA, England and Australia that will be worth trying.

#13 lebusqp

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Posted 26 July 2004 - 11:59 PM

Hammie, i may be able to grab the Golden Mile for you as i saw it in a 2d hand shop last week. I regularly find running books in 2d hand book stores and antique shops. I have a spare Ovett autobiography, if you want it email me your postal address and i'll send it to you. Greeny if you want to borrow the Clayton book do likewise  :)

#14 Puntermatt

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Posted 27 July 2004 - 12:29 PM

Great thread guys!!! I'll be looking up some of these books myself.

I'll add another for required reading:

"Running on a Dream - The Pat Farmer Story" by Ian Eckersley.

It details Farmers running career and the personal tragedies he has overcome along the way. The man was an animal - I was stunned to read how inadequate his training was in his early years. Essential reading for the all ultra runners here.

Cheers
Puntermatt

#15 shark

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Posted 27 July 2004 - 01:02 AM

AH

Good thread.

I agree they are hard to find - I always trawl the 2nd hand bokshops.  Running is not a big area - most of us are tight-ar@#$ so we all look for them 2nd hand.  Cricketers must be loaded - there are so many 2nd hand cricket books that the stores knock them back.

My favourite is the Elliot "Golden Mile" - read after the recent Cerutty "Why Die" and Percy's own book it was a great read.  Herb was a great champion and has been a success in life since - well done.

Heather Turland "Gold beyond your dreams" was another diamond found in a 2nd hand shop.

Keep looking.

S

#16 stokesy

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Posted 08 August 2004 - 12:09 PM

you can find all these books at www.alibris.com

#17 plu

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Posted 08 August 2004 - 12:28 PM

Hi all,

Just came back from Bowral and called into Berkelouws Book Barn Berrima.  The running section had a good collections of old books.  One on City to Surf.  A few of the old training manuals from the 70s and 80s.

I picked up three of note:

The Games by Hugh  Atkinson
The Complete Marthoner by Jo Henderson.  Old and classic for advice.
and Playng in the Zone Exploring the spiritual dimensions of Sport by Andrew Cooper

Left the others there.  I looked closely in the biography section no luck this time but in past came across A Golden Mile.  

Cheers Plu

#18 TRAVY

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Posted 08 August 2004 - 05:20 PM

cheep second hand books

#19 Rob Hadgraft

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Posted 02 September 2004 - 03:49 AM

Could I humbly recommend my own new book, which is the first full-length biography of the legendary ALF SHRUBB, who was the world's finest distance runner 100 years ago. He was the winner of the first two World Cross Country championships, among other things, and broke world records galore. His life story is truly amazing and one interesting episode for Cool Running poeple might be the pioneering trip he made to Australia and New Zealand in 1905, during which he smashed allcomers records in Sydney, Mebourne and in NZ. The Foreword is written by legendary Aussie runner RON CLARKE, who is a big Shrubb fan. Now here comes the plug:  for details of how to get a copy, etc, visit the website www.desertislandbooks.com
The 320-page ilustrated hardback book is called 'The Little Wonder - the Untold Story of World Champion Runner Alfred Shrubb', by Rob Hadgraft. It's also available on Amazon. Cheers!

#20 Ultraphil

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Posted 02 September 2004 - 04:41 PM

There are still plenty of "Cliffy's book" available. Tells the story of Cliff Young.  If anyone is interested, send me an email to ultraoz@iprimus.com.au and I'll forward to the Lady that still has a few boxes in her shed!

Phil

#21 Westie

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Posted 02 September 2004 - 06:53 PM

Shark's recommendation of Heather Turland's book is a very good one...if you are looking for an inspiring running story, this certainly is one.

#22 Rob Hadgraft

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Posted 03 September 2004 - 03:56 AM

quote:


Originally posted by Aching Hammie's:
Thanks everyone for the feedback - but I am struggling to find any of these books anywhere. Amazon, Dymocks, Angus and Roberston - NO LUCK! Any suggestions?



#23 plu

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Posted 04 September 2004 - 05:42 AM

quote:


The Games by Hugh Atkinson
  

Almost finished this book.  Have started to skip the politics for the running sections.  Is dated but now looking forward to seeing the movie that I taped earlier.

About to start the Lydiard biography.  Thanks Ian for your help in locating and getting the book from NZ.

Plu

#24 Darkie

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Posted 04 September 2004 - 06:19 PM

e-bay has a lot of biographies...have noticed a few of the mentioned titles when I've glanced through the lists previously.

Have never bought anything on e-bay though so don't know how painful/less it is?

#25 plu

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Posted 25 September 2004 - 06:44 PM

Just reporting in.  The ultra Marathon Book I ordered from USA arrived today.  It is by Don Allison "A Step Beyond: A definitive GUide to Ultra Running". I got it from Ultra Running Association.  Not strictly Autobiographies but looks great.  

Just a tip. It took from mid to late July to now to get here.

I was only talking to Uncle Dave last night about it at the  drinkies  and I got up this morning and it was in the mail.  I am a happy chappie and motivated after talking to all the runners last night.

Plu

#26 Luckylegs

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Posted 25 September 2004 - 07:17 PM

My order went on Aug. 15, so a few more weeks to wait;  oh well.... haven't read all 921 pages of Noakes yet!   :rolleyes:

#27 RobR

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Posted 25 September 2004 - 07:19 PM

Just finished reading a book called My Life on the Line by Ron Grant. A friend found the book in a second hand book shop. It's signed by the man himself. The book took some ploughing through but sure told Ron's round Australia story in graphic detail. What an epic adventure and tremendous feat. Though Ron's record has been broken, as Ron says, he will always be the first.

What a Champion! Talk about mental tenacity, grit and determination.

Ron performed this great feat in 1983. I remember the run, world records etc. but they didn't mean a lot to me because I wasn't a runner, or any sort of athlete for that matter.

Now that I am a runner, and having read the book I can only just bearly begin to appreciate what a tremendous achievement Ron's run really was.
Surviving the run as one of Ron's crew was an incredible achievement in itself. My hat off to these pioneers of very ultra distance running.

Could I consider ultra running? Maybe. Having only done two marathons I think I still have a lot of work to do. One must have the right mindset that's for absolutely sure.
Eddie

#28 plu

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Posted 25 September 2004 - 07:37 PM

Eddie,

Have you read Phil's online book (PDF)on the Westfield Run.  It's a couple of hundred pages and sits well on the computer for a read now and then.  

I met a few of the ultra runners last night.  They are so inspirational and humble.  I will get back to you with the location.

Edit: By the way I read Ron's book as well.

Plu

#29 RobR

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Posted 25 September 2004 - 07:58 PM

Thanks Plu.
I havn't read it. I'm a bit aprhehensive  about being too inspired though. I might find myself committing to something. A bit scary, though if somebody had told me 3 years ago that I would be running marathons I would have told them they were whacko.
Eddie

#30 plu

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Posted 25 September 2004 - 08:10 PM

Eddie,

I am still trying to find the link.  I will get back to you.  I agree about declaring your hand about interest in ultras.  I am looking seriously at Canberra 50 next year.  

I just read with wonder the ultra threads but don't comment (except for the occasional comment of thanks for the inspiration) because I have no experience.

After meeting Paul Every and Sean Greenhill last night I am not sitting on the fence as much.

Plu

#31 Ultraphil

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Posted 25 September 2004 - 08:36 PM

Hi Everyone,

Thanks for the kind words on my book.  Go here and you can download for free.  http://www.coolrunni...fieldbook.shtml    Thanks Plu for the reminder - thats a redundant page. I will clean up my Ultraoz 50 megs site! Promise!  But might end up just concentrating on the complete Ultra running history of Aust the next few years!

Eddie and Plu.. Just do it. Pick an ultra, train and do it. I only ran a 4h23m15s marathon before I headed to Ultras.  As some events of the last few days has taught some of us -we only have one life and we need to live it to the MAX whilst we can! We dont get a second chance.

Regards

Phil

#32 Luckylegs

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Posted 25 September 2004 - 10:09 PM

quote:


Eddie and Plu.. Just do it. Pick an ultra, train and do it.

I doubt that it could be put more succinctly or correctly than Phil has said it here! That's all there is to it really & that's what I did & look at the 'old girl' now fellas....rearing to go for a second ultra..... & if LL can do it,  everyone can!   :D     LL

#33 tim

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Posted 25 September 2004 - 10:29 PM

once you do one you will wonder why your worried about it so much.

If you can run a marathon you can run an ultra.  You just have to pick your pace.

#34 Sharon James

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Posted 25 September 2004 - 10:38 PM

Hope it's okay to ask here, but I read a fantastic book once about a lady who lost weight, started running and completed the London Marathon.  I borrowed it from a library that has since gone!!  I am desperate to read it again but I can't remember her name or the books name!!  She was / is married to an English author (forgot his name too!!!) and it is a fantastic book........can anyone help me?

#35 clairie

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Posted 22 October 2004 - 05:27 PM

I just finished reading Joan Benoits book on Running for Women. It was a great read with lots of tips but mainly for inspiration. What an amazing runner....my new idol (Krishna, AG and Tesso aside.... :)  )

#36 plu

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Posted 01 November 2004 - 09:01 PM

Hi All,


Just received in the mail a copy of  Cliffy's Book 1995 it was mailed down to me by Helen Powers who I believe was part of the family Cliffy lived with in his later years.

Contact me if you would like details on how to get the book.

Also thanks Phil E for pointing me in the right direction.

Cheers

Plu

Edit: RITH I agree I read Pat Farmers Book.  If you want an earlier perspective  try and get Ron Grant's book.

#37 Runner In The Hills

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Posted 02 November 2004 - 11:18 AM

G'day Gang,
        Puntermatt was good enough to loan me his copy of Pat Farmers bio written by a very good local runner Ian Eckersley (apologies to I an for my lousy spelling if I got it wrong).
    It really opened my eyes that the body will stretch as far as the mind allows. A fascinating read to a bloke who is dabbling with the idea of Ultras. Next stop - the Glasshouse 80km in Sept 2005.
       Rith
Ps Matty , I returned the book to your Mum while you were at work on Sunday - sorry about the delay. Can i now have the DEEK Helsinki run video from '83?

#38 robbo

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Posted 02 November 2004 - 12:20 AM

Another biog that I reckon is a beaut is called "One step beyond".  It's about a bloke called Chris Moon who lost his leg and almost his life clearing  land mines.  After this he went onto complete the london marathon amongst other things.  It's a really inspiring story.

#39 pjay

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 08:51 AM

This morning during a run a Cliffy clone suddenly appeared ahead.  Probably though a beginner runner yet to understand the mechanics of running heat production.

Still a tad spooky, since I have recently been reading Cliffy's Book.

#40 dave1678

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 06:23 PM

greeny,
Clayton's book is available through the SA library if you want to borrow.

#41 Preecey

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Posted 18 February 2012 - 02:34 PM

I have just finished reading "The Greatest" which is the bio of Haile Gebrselassie.. A very VERY inspiring book about one of the all time greats.  It must have been writeen soon after 2004 so doesn't go into his marathon phase, but is stillan awesome read!