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Footnotes: How Running Makes Us Human

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  404 ratings  ·  59 reviews
Running is not just a sport. It reconnects us to our bodies and the places in which we live, breaking down our increasingly structured and demanding lives. It allows us to feel the world beneath our feet, lifts the spirit, lets our minds out to play, and helps us to slip away from the demands of the modern world.



When Vybarr Cregan-Reid set out to discover why running means
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Hardcover, 352 pages
Published July 4th 2017 by Thomas Dunne Books (first published June 9th 2016)
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Average rating 3.75  · 
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Start your review of Footnotes: How Running Makes Us Human
☘Misericordia☘ ⚡ϟ⚡⛈⚡☁ ❇️❤❣
Well balanced between a painstakingly thought out account of personal experiences, generalistic musings about the world in its glorious variety, factual research and a stream of conciousness. All without bordering on gibberish.

Q:
Whoever heard of anyone getting lost in the mountains, in bad weather, and without a map? (c)

So, running is not just about running but also about intelligence, instints, perception, biology and nature.

Yep, and our feet are not 100% symmetrical.

Glimpses into the author'
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Elena Florko
Bought this book because I wanted to learn more about running experience from other runners. Very disappointed, all I got is the author's showing off in knowledge of literature like quotes of Tolstoy that have nothing to do with running. Author mostly describes his own running experience and insists on the idea that the only right way to run is... barefoot. Also that running it the only right way to exercise and that gyms are the 'fast-food' of exercising.
My bad that I just expected the book to
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Sophie
Jan 11, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2021, uni
(8.5) - read for uni
I promise I'm not just rating this highly because Vybarr has the link to my goodreads account.
Considering this was down as extra reading and I currently have nothing else to do with my time, hence my decision to read it, this book was highly interesting.
I did enjoy that a lot of the locations referenced are placed I've lived in or know well, although the idea of attending a Bleak House convention did provoke a slight reaction of dread.
I also feel like I should start running a
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Craig Dickson
Jun 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was beautiful and interesting and put into words lots of things I wouldn't have been able to without it. Really great. My experience of it was a little interrupted because I had to put it down for three weeks while I was injured and couldn't run, because I became too jealous reading about running when I couldn't do it myself.

What's that? Jealous about running? Mental.

Yep, I'm as surprised as anyone. Please forgive me while I go into a little autobiographical diversion here.

I tried ru
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Cindy Dyson Eitelman
Seldom have I anticipated a book so much nor been so glad when it was over.

Chapter 1, Footnotes to a Body of Knowledge, was exactly what I was hoping for:
an overview of the many adaptations in our species that fit us for running. If you've read Born to Run, most of it won't be new, but still very interesting to re-visit. To sum up,

...as a Homo sapiens, you have evolved to be one of the best running animals that the planet has ever witnessed. Running is not what we might do; it is who we are as
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Martin Faulkner
Sep 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this a lot.

I knew I would from the early passages triggered by the author being asked, in different forms, "what are you running from?". Perhaps it's because I was airborne at the time and suffering from a Wittertainment-textbook case of AALS, but it really made me take a moment to think about my own relationship with running and recovery since I made important changes to my life five years ago, and almost everything the author touched upon thereafter gave me similar cause to consider ma
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Luke Leighfield
Jun 14, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Equal parts running manual, travel diary and love letter to the joy of being in nature, 'Footnotes' calls on literature, philosophy and psychology to build a compelling argument for why we're called to run across the planet we find ourselves on. It's an engrossing read for runners and non-runners alike, and makes me want to tear off my shoes and hit the trails. Thanks, Vybarr!

"If we see with our bodies, and we change our bodies when we learn how to run, that means that we see things, or underst
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Howard
Mar 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoy a writer that digresses and spouts facts that you've never heard before. As you'd imagine, there are only so many ways you can describe running and how it affects you physically and mentally, but, if you're an English professor with a love of nature and history, the athletic soup becomes much thicker, if that makes any sense at all. This book also inspired me to bunk off work during the recent snow and take a ten mile run through a sub-zero Epping Forest, what more recommendation could y ...more
Ida
Aug 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I really enjoyed this book - and it did actually inspire me to get out and run. I liked all the literary references, and I found the author's style relatable and non-preachy. I suppose it makes sense that it would take an asthmatic professor of literature to convince me that running can be pleasant. ...more
Anna Cordova
Sep 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book on running and the human spirit.
Catherine
Jan 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Massively enjoyed this beautifully written account of a blossoming love of running. Quite poetic, obviously heartfelt. It lost its way a little in parts, but was no worse for it.
Jennifer
Not quite as I expected, more rambling, less biomechanics and exercise psychology and a heck of a lot more Thomas Hardy. As with all the books on running I have read so far, ultimately it has to be declared a personal view, one I largely share. I gather that it was written in a particular way and I think that shows, not necessarily to the benefit of the work. However any book about the experience of running has the advantage that anyone with any personal experience of running well understands ho ...more
Tyler
Aug 26, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The writing itself is good. However, the author goes on and on about each point with out really saying anything new. I think there is probably good information in there but it is buried in so much fluff and just pointless writing I really can not say it is worth reading.
Erin
Oct 05, 2018 rated it did not like it
I gave it a chance, but I have to admit I definitely didn’t finish. This guy strikes me as VERY pretentious and is trying to intersperse running with a philosophy that just doesn’t jive. Skip this one, running friends.
Rick
Oct 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A nice read as it is, but a must for runners with some intrest in philosophy and literature. "The best runs dissolve one's attachment to the world, and allow you to become the run, not the runner." ...more
Emma
Jun 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Part running book, part literature review with a bit of science and history. An enjoyable read. Where are my trainers?
Stijn
Aug 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A beautiful meandering through history, literature, psychology, held together by a love for running.
Tom Bennett
Oct 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a bloody brilliant book.

Fantastically well written, thoughtful and clever.

And a good read for runners, walkers and anyone who loves the great outdoors.

Fascinating.
David
Oct 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
a couple too many literary tangents for my taste [then again, he teaches English and Environmental Humanities at University of Kent, so understandable], but mostly a lively read about his experiences as a runner. He has strong preferences [barefoot or in minimalist shoes good, treadmills or anything that keeps you from experiencing nature bad] but a good sense of humor in delivering them.

It's partly a travelogue as he visits prominent sports scientists, runs the London Marathon, etc. Definitely
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Christian Hamaker
Nov 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
I signed myself and my daughter up for four runs next year - two 5Ks and two 4-milers. We ran a 4-miler together a couple of years ago, and I was embarrassed to bomb out a mere 2 miles in. My daughter stopped running soon after that run (she beat me by more than a full minute, I'm proud to say). I got back into running last year for a time, but stuck to treadmill runs only. Then those ended, too, as my periods of active running always do.

I usually need a good running book to inspire me to get ba
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Donn Lee
Jul 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I almost didn't carry on with the book after the first couple of chapters - there were too many literary references, and the author seemed more interested in showing his knowledge of the literary world than in saying what he wants to say about running. It took a while to warm up, but I'm glad that I stuck with it, because once you get used to his writing style, you realise he's not such a show-off, and his love for literature is the reason he writes so much about it.

In the end, I really enjoyed
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Wendy
Jul 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Wendy by: Goodreads Giveaways
In “Footnotes: How Running Makes Us Human” which I won through Goodreads Giveaways, Vybarr Cregan-Reid shares his love of running which makes him feel calm, invincible and super-sensitive in the hectic pace of this modern world. Running for health, escaping from society’s multiple anxieties it’s the therapy offered rather than looking at it just as a sport he proposes that helps people decompress, free their senses and enjoy the natural environment around them.

Easy-to-read, in a flowing written
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Samuel Larcombe
Oh dear me, I was hoping for a nice quick enjoyable running book, full of the joys of the trail, but I ended up struggling to finish this. What this is is essentially an academic dissection of running by a left lib English professor. I could barely turn a page without a quote from Thomas hardy or William Wordsworth, or some snipe at austerity, nuclear energy or inequality. Spare me please I only wanted to read about running!

I'm sure the writer had good intentions but I found it overwritten and
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Benenden School Library
This is a great book which deals with the process of running, how we run, why we run and what to notice as you run. Vybarr in an English lecturer at Kent University and writes about his experience of running, his experiments with shoe-less running and generally the inspiration he gains for getting out into the world through running.

As I prepare my marathon on 27th May, I have constantly delved into the book to keep me on track and it has led me to experiment with my own running, from trying the
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Madamedupin
I loved this! It’s right up there with Born to Run as one of the best running books I’ve read - but more than that, it’s a treatise on being human, bringing in literature, philosophy, history, politics...
The main thing I am reminded of is that running is necessary... it is part of us, and we are part of the world, and we are required to go out in the world and absorb it, else we wither and fade.
( Since I’m currently in a rest phase this was both inspiring and frustrating. )
It also reminds us t
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L
Sep 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Finally a wholistic, impeccably researched, accessible--and meanderingly amusing and enlightening--book that explains so many of the reasons why i love running . . . that need to simply move my body through natural space for a few hours a week. BONUS: What are William Blake, Daniel Defoe, Charlotte Smith, Thomas Hardy, Oscar Wilde, Virginia Woolf, Leo Tolstoy, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Henry David Thoreau, and many other literary titans doing in a creative nonfiction book about running . . ? Don’ ...more
Ariel
Oct 11, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: health-fitness
This was my latest book about running, and this was certainly the most unique. It's not a how-to, informational book; it's not a memoir. It's hard to define, actually. I am a total literature junkie, so I loved the connection of great writers and poets and running. I loved the emphasis on the beauty of nature, as part of the running adventure. He's right - running on a treadmill can never compare to the healthy freedom of being unfettered in the land around us.

It's dense to read, because of the
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Roy Prejean
This book helps to confirm my interpretation of myself that I am not a runner. 1). I am not artistic and he relates running to being art. Also I am not an artist! 2). I also like to be in the gym and work out, but he sees it as a prison sentence. The rest of the book seems to go on about him running in different cities such as San Francisco, Paris, London, and Venice. The one thing I did find interesting was being able to run with no shoes on and makes for an interesting concept.
Christie
I was surprised by this read, in a mostly good way. I liked that the author tied literature (and a number of other things) to running. But I think this also meant that parts were a bit rambly. I also think it's not so realistic--I don't know anyone who can just pick up and go running in San Francisco, Venice, Paris, etc. Sure, I'd love to go running in those locales, but I'm pretty much restricted to a treadmill to beat the heat in the stifling Texas summer. ...more
Mr Matthew Alan Swainston
I struggled with this one and gave up about a third of the way through the book. Potentially this doesn’t actually mean it’s a bad book, but not what I was looking for. Maybe it’s a different take on a book about running, but I couldn’t get into it, with too many obscure literary references for my liking; some might say I’m just too low-brow which is fine, but it wasn’t the straightforward bedtime read that I wanted
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Vybarr Cregan-Reid, Ph.D., is an author and academic. He is Reader in English and Environmental Humanities in the School of English at the University of Kent.

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