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To Be a Runner: How Racing Up Mountains, Running with the Bulls, or Just Taking On a 5-K Makes You a Better Person (and the World a Better Place)
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To Be a Runner: How Racing Up Mountains, Running with the Bulls, or Just Taking On a 5-K Makes You a Better Person (and the World a Better Place)

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  892 ratings  ·  108 reviews
Now with a new introduction and additional stories accumulated in the eight years since its original publication, To Be a Runner is a fresh and exciting update on a running classic. With an exuberant mix of passion, insight, instruction, and humor, bestselling author and lifelong runner Martin Dugard takes a journey through the world of running to illustrate how the sport ...more
Paperback, 238 pages
Published April 9th 2019 by Rodale Books (first published May 4th 2011)
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Average rating 3.75  · 
Rating details
 ·  892 ratings  ·  108 reviews

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Start your review of To Be a Runner: How Racing Up Mountains, Running with the Bulls, or Just Taking On a 5-K Makes You a Better Person (and the World a Better Place)
Dec 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
Over the weekend I completed my third 5K. Running is still relatively new to me so I've been signing up for a 5K a month to keep myself working towards a goal. There are two libraries I regularly visit and somehow at the one location I seem to always find running books. This is the book I read on Sunday night when we were without power. It was nice to have few distractions, but it would have been nicer to have more light. I think I need a better book light!

The book is a collection of essays
Jess Dollar
Jul 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
Fun and inspirational. A quick, easy read that will cheer you up and make your next few runs a little more meaningful. A few observations I liked:
The author doesn't have goals, he has quests. I love the idea of having quests instead of goals. Makes them seem more personal and engaging.
I love the point the author made about how good goals (quests) allow you to become a better person in a way that fits into your life, not by taking over your life. Many athletes forget that and become obsessed with
Dec 19, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: couldn-t-finish
I wanted to like this book and despite multiple attempts to finish it I simply couldn't get to the end. I agree with another reviewer who stated it was a decent book ruined by the author. The final straw for me was in reading Dugard's reflections on 'writing a good sentence' and how it gives him satisfaction. His mantra of 'keep pushing...always' speaks to the seemingly obtuse nature of this author. If you want inspiration, read Born to Run.
Sep 28, 2013 rated it liked it
My favorite part of this whole book was on the 17th page in the essay called "Excuses, Excuses" is starts:

"To be an endurance athlete is to have a million excuses at the ready: It's too cold to train, too wet, too sunny, too Saturday. My shoes are wet. My tires are flat. I'm fat. I'm out of Gu. I can't put this book down. I just ate a burrito. My cat has a tumor. And on and on."

I loved it because as a long distance rummer it was very relate-able. To be sure there, there were other relate-able
Sep 14, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: gave-up-on
Meh. I sort of enjoyed the first couple chapters of this book, but only sort of. The stories are fine, but not particularly unique or unusually interesting. The tone is a bit too "inspirational poster" for me. Lots of positivity and thinly veiled life advice, and no particular reason that advice from the author is any more worthy than advice from, say, the guy who drove me home from the airport. The fact that the author has been a runner and a coach for a long time is his only particular ...more
David Doty
Apr 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Martin Dugard is a terrific writer, and this series of essays about how running has changed, improved, and sustained his life is both entertaining and inspiring. My favorite chapter was his description of how he felt after running the New York City Marathon. As he walked back to his hotel with his finisher's medal around his neck, a mother and her young daughter approached him on the sidewalk, and as they came near, the woman said to her daughter: "This man did something very special today." ...more
Aaron Maurer
Aug 04, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
This summer I have been on this rampage of reading non YA books and instead reading books about bettering ourselves(not self help), increasing mental toughness, eliminating the things in our lives that we don't really need that end up causing us more stress, and fitness.

I saw this book at my local library and picked it up on a whim. What a great whim as I found this to be the perfect book for me to end my summer on. It helped to guide me with appreciating my runs, where I run, my habit of
Jul 15, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: running
In having read a lot of running books in the last year, I have found that I most enjoy ones formatted like To Be a Runner. It seems that most running books devote each chapter to an anecdote of some sort. Often each chapter is devoted to telling a story about a different runner's inspiring experience, a la Chicken Soup for the Soul. I have a hard time getting into those books. This book, like Personal Record and Mile Markers, on the other hand, is full of anecdotes that directly relate to the ...more
Apr 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book, an eloquent collection of essays on running by Martin Dugard. So many of his statements resonated deeply with me, a devoted runner (some of my friends might call me obsessed). I don't think this book will appeal to others who don't have a deep love for running, nor those who do run but do it solely for exercise and not for the love of the sport.

Martin, I'm running my first marathon this year at age 49...any words of wisdom for me? :)
Lynette Angelique
Good motivator to get up and run :)
Jun 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This was a fun read for me because I related to so much of what Martin Dugard says about running.
Bedrooped Bookworms
Sep 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I went to the wedding the other day of one of my high school running teammates, then found this book on my shelf that my mom bought for herself a while back then gave me to read. I was most definitely a runner in high school, and would definitely not consider myself one now. I was actually pretty good at it, but just really didn’t like it. At the end of the day, I’d have to go pretty deep into introspection/self analyzation to tell you why I gave it up and just can’t convince myself to go back ...more
Carianne Carleo-Evangelist
A kind of all over the place look at Dugard's career as a runner from his childhood in a gym to coaching varsity cross country in the San Diego suburbs. He's a dedicated trail runner and gives a great run/sightseeing tour of his area through that lens. I'd really love to see some of the trails he ran at Mammoth. He got a little philosophical when it came to his time in Pamplona with friends. An OK but not great read. It just felt a little disjointed.
Mitchell Stenoien
Oct 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
For someone who has run competitively for about a decade (half of my life). It surprising how little I've reflected on what running means to me. I've spent so long chasing PR's and the guys in front of me, that I forget to just take off the watch and enjoy it. I read the book in no more than a couple of days, as it was very to read. I enjoyed it quite a bit and I recommend something like it to anyone that finds themselves in a running funk.
May 13, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: insomnia-cures
Bought this after hearing Dugard interviewed about running on a podcast. Maybe its his writing "voice" but this collection of essays was as self-congratulatory and somewhat juvenile. A HUGE disappointment. For a much better book on the same subject I would strongly recommend What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami.
G Kahuna
Jun 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Was reaching a low point in my own running. This book really helped pick me up and gave me some much needed inspiration. Probably not a good read for non-runners. Dugard is into too much trail running for my personal taste, but every runner is different.
Jun 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book hides great running motivation in tips on living a better life! I absolutely loved it.
Mar 16, 2018 rated it did not like it
Rubbish. Started really good then it lost it.
Aug 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I so enjoyed this book

I could totally relate to this book. I loved the humor. Makes me wish I could coach and be the sunshine for future runners and life lessons.
Eric Mayle
Oct 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
It felt like it was for fans of running, not attempting to convert. As a guy who hates running, it wasn’t for me, but I think if I was a runner, it would have been profound?
Sep 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
Very enertaining and somewhat educational.
Dec 11, 2017 rated it liked it
I think anyone who runs would appreciate this book. A fast, fun, playful read.
Sep 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
I'm always looking for something to inspire me into liking running. I run, I can't say I particularly enjoy it all the time, but I always feel like I've accomplished something after a run. So, enter all the running books I can find for helping with that inspiration. This one had an interesting title "To Be A Runner: How Racing Up Mountains, Running with the Bulls, or Just Taking on a 5-K Makes You a Better Person."

We start the book with how Dugard got into running through his parents. Then we
Clark Goble
Mar 07, 2016 rated it it was ok
This book is a collection of essays about running by cross country coach and writer Martin Dugard. At times, the writing is very good. Dugard knows how to write and his love of running is certainly illuminated through his essays. For the most part, I enjoyed this book. As a beginning runner, I enjoyed seeing how Dugard’s love for the sport has kept is interest over a lifetime.

Though I enjoyed it, To Be a Runner wasn’t without it’s problems. First, the essays were connected in theme only. They
Jan 17, 2012 rated it liked it
I'm a relatively new runner, and it was this book's second title that got my attention: "How racing up mountains, running with the bulls, or just taking on a 5-k makes you r abetter person (And the world a better place)." I believe that sentiment, as running made me a better person, and I was eager to read another runner's experience with being better because of running. I found Dugard's essays to be rather hit-or-miss with that goal, or perhaps it's just a matter of personal connection. In some ...more
Cindy Dyson Eitelman
Nov 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
Totally elevating. Even his descriptions of bloody, chafing thighs fail to demotivate. He talks of his own running, his coaching, and his racing with equal intensity. This is clearly a runner who runs because...well...because he runs.

He's run many marathons and other races in his life, but at some point he realized it was time to reconsider--
When would crossing the finish line of yet another superhuman test of endurance make me feel complete? A still, small voice in my head reminded me that the
Oct 08, 2014 rated it it was ok
Getting through endurance runner Martin Dugard's Book, To Be A Runner, was, for me, an endurance test in and of itself. Like most runs, it started out nice, the scenery pleasant enough, the path seemingly having some direction. But like the runs the author likes to take - wandering and aimless - the book followed suit. That was all okay, I can hang with a book of vignettes about running, but it was the ego that seeped in, the guts and glory rhetoric, the megalomania, that started to make this ...more
Aug 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Dugard shares his lifelong love and passion for running without separating it from his life. The various essays contain amazing anecdotes (e.g., Pamplona), failures, epiphanies, practical advice and coaching how-tos within the context of his parenthood, marriage, philosophical pondering and unabashed and stolid faith. Nothing comes across as overwrought, insincere or trite.

Personally, I find Dugard's book to be a rarity, and not because it joins the ranks of all the others I have found
Aug 22, 2014 rated it liked it
As I sit here I think of the audience for this book. The focus is fairly narrow and I don’t imagine non-runners being terribly excited about Dugard’s anecdotes, or his philosophies. Within the running community, perhaps a narrower group of people that really enjoy a memoir type running book. I liked the book. Dugard writes clearly and isn’t overly florid, but I can’t imagine I would recommend this book to very many people. Not because it isn’t good, it just fits into an awkward niche.

For a full
Helen Dunn
Jun 08, 2011 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: runners
I'm a fan of Martin Dugard, I've been reading his books and his blog for years and I even have a t-shirt that his cross country team was selling as a fundraiser, so I was inclined to enjoy this book.

I found the essays got a bit repetitive over time but the general message of "keep pushing....always' is a good one. Strive to be your best self is hard to argue with. Anyone who runs will feel a connection with the author and I found many of the passages inspirational.

I think this would be a great
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New York Times bestselling author Martin Dugard is the co-author of Killing Lincoln, Killing Kennedy and Killing Jesus, written with noted television personality Bill O'Reilly. To date, there are more than seven million copies of these books in print.
Mr. Dugard is also the author of the critically lauded memoir To Be A Runner (Rodale, 2011), a series of essays which takes the reader around the
“To be a runner is to learn continual life lessons.” 8 likes
“Just the hill and me. Just the challenge and me. Just my fears an me. Bring it on.” 0 likes
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