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Can't Nothing Bring Me Down: Chasing Myself in the Race against Time
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Can't Nothing Bring Me Down: Chasing Myself in the Race against Time

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  451 ratings  ·  88 reviews
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Can’t Nothing Bring Me Down is the memoir of 104-year-old, world-record-holding runner Ida Keeling. Miss Ida, as she’s known throughout her Bronx community, isn’t your typical runner. Her fierce independence helped her through the Depression and the Civil Rights movement. But her greatest trials were yet to come.

Ida’s two sons were brutally murdered
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published February 27th 2018 by Zondervan
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Michael Delaware
Jun 22, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: memoirs
This was an interesting book, but as a reader I had mixed feelings about it. I first became interested in reading this because I wanted to find out more about her experience as an runner. She started running in 5K's and other races at age 67, and has been running past age 100, which is amazing. She has set several world records in her age group. Learning about this was what drew me to the story.
However, she spends only about 10% of the book or less talking about this, and instead includes her w
Donna Lewis
Aug 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
What a delightfully inspirational book. Ida Keeling is an eighty-three pound, four foot, six inch amazing woman. Of Caribbean descent, she grew up in Harlem, living through Jim Crow, the Depression, The Harlem Renaissance, the Civil Rights Era, and women’s lib. She is a civil rights activist and above all she is a runner. She started running at sixty-seven, to help get over the deep depression she fell into after her two sons were murdered two years apart. She lived through poverty, homelessness ...more
Apr 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Quick read. I was reading this book for longevity advice but it was more of a U.S. history book. An Insiders view of the Great Depression and other historical events in the course of a 100+ lifespan. Keep it up Ida!
Feb 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Can’t Nothing Bring Me Down is the memoir of 101-year-old, world-record-holding runner Ida Keeling. Miss Ida, as she’s known throughout her Bronx community, isn’t your typical runner. Her fierce independence helped her through the Depression and the Civil Rights movement. But her greatest trials were yet to come. Ida’s two sons were brutally murdered. Justice was never found. Ida felt like she didn’t have the strength to carry on and she couldn’t hope anymore. But encouraged by her daughter, Ida ...more
Aug 02, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I don’t remember why this book was on my list of books to read, perhaps because she’s become a serious runner as an elderly lady. I do like runners. However this book is an autobiography of her entire life, and the running past grief and onto podiums is just touched on in a small way.

So, read this if you want a firsthand account of a centenarian black woman in Harlem who has lived through the 1910s through the present. It is interesting.

However, be warned, the book as a whole is clunky, with no
Sarah Hay
Oct 12, 2018 rated it liked it
This was an interesting book. I expected it to be more about Mrs. Keeling's running career but it was more the story of her life. She has a great story to tell. Growing up in New York and living in Harlem Ida Keeling has experienced a lot in her hundred plus years. The book reads a lot like a conversation that you would have with a grandparent who is telling you about their life. There were a few places where it might have been edited better, but overall it is an interesting read. ...more
Mar 02, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An amazing woman, endured many hardships throughout her life. I bought the book thinking it was more about her running, yet it wasn't mentioned until about 90% into the book. She is quite an inspiration on so many levels! ...more
Dec 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
I wanted more about running so was a bit disappointed. The book is more a history and autobiography text than training manual or memoir. Still, she's amazing and had lived through a lot. Many lessons here. Caribbean diet for the win!!! ...more
Feb 17, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sports, memoir
'Can't Nothing Bring Me Down' is the story of a formidable woman who is presently 105 years old - the track and field athlete Ida Keeling, a Masters record holder. The American of Caribbean descent walks us down memory lane of having been through two world wars, the Great Depression, the American Civil War, from hearing Martin Luther King's 'I Have A Dream' standing in front of him, to wondering if she would ever get to see a black man in the White House, battling homelessness and joblessness, b ...more
Jul 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir
Ida Keeling is a 103 year old woman who started running in competition when she was in her mid 60s. she has won many awards over the years and continues to run today. This is her memoir. from birth to now. She was born I NYC one of ten children. she grew up poor married young. had two boys divorced married a few years later had two girls. divorced again. she writes how she spent most of those years as a single mother. Tried to teach her children to be good people. suffered the tragedies of the m ...more
Aug 17, 2020 rated it liked it
Ida Keeling is now 104 years young, and an athlete still running and winning races! Her memoir Can’t Nothing Bring Me Down is just the right motivation for anyone who considers their existence as stagnant and unfulfilling. Keeling shares her life story—one of humble beginnings as an immigrant, hardship, poverty, sexual harassment, racism, failed relationships, single parenthood, dysfunctional family life, and so much more. However, nothing, absolutely nothing brings her down, not even the un
Susan Zizza Maguire
Jan 04, 2021 rated it liked it
Miss Ida is my new idol and I adore this spectacular woman, however, her truly remarkable life story deserves a more worthy, more cohesive telling. Meandering and weird editing pull from the narrative's intrinsic power-and we need to know more about her astonishing running career- which is treated almost as an afterthought, oddly. Her life and character are breathtaking so it pains me to rate it only 3 stars...dang ...She needs an inspired biographer. ...more
Constance Chevalier
Oct 21, 2018 rated it liked it
Enjoyed it. Strong woman. She's living at 103 with a Caribbean diet she grew up on! ...more
Greg Nybo
May 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Fun light hearted read about an amazing woman's life and how she copes with trying circumstances in her life. ...more
Theresa Hildebrand

In my continuing quest of reading about the lives of Strong women, I found myself listening to Ida Keeling's story of struggles & perseverance. This story led me through the Depression years & the Civil rights movement, which granted me more insight into the challenges of that time. And so my journey of understanding & embracing multiculturalism continues.
Feb 26, 2019 rated it liked it
Like listening to your grandma tell you about growing up. Mrs Keeling went through a lot in her 100 plus years as a Black woman in NY. Like most of the reviewers I had assumed the book was going to be about running, and picking up running later in life. I spent most of the book waiting for the running.

The story line, just like hearing a story from my own grandmother meanders, and sometimes backtracks. Mrs. Keeling went through a lot, and overcame much in her years. And it is interesting to hear
Rosemarie Patch
Jul 06, 2018 rated it liked it
Took me forever to read this short book BECAUSE...... the good stuff was the last 3 chapters. The rest was about the roots of her life —- history about growing up poor and black. About her relationships , where she worked and friendships. The end was about, sadly ,the death of her two sons and how her daughter got her into running to keep her going . At 101, still running and winning — AMAZING!!!
Now onto the next one ———
May 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
I loved reading her story. But be aware the book is 98% her life story and her relationship with God and 2% about her racing.
Born May 15, 1915, Ida Keeling (nearly 104 at this time) has experienced a great deal, and she (with the help of Anita Diggs) recounts some of the key events of her life. Keeling is hardworking, responsible, driven, and dedicated to her family. She is noted for running races into her 80s, 90s, and 100s. However, that is merely one manifestation of her grit.

Keeling was born to immigrants from the Caribbean. Her father worked hard, but the Great Depression set him back considerably. Ida didn't ha
Aug 06, 2019 rated it liked it
I wanted to read this book because i was inspired by the fact she is a centarian runner and was hoping to gain some advice and insight on what its like to be able to still run and stay healthy at that age. One of my life goals is to still be running after I retire. With that being said, i was disappointed in how little the book focused on her running career. I enjoyed learning about her life and what it was like during the Great Depression and World War 2. I understand some of her experiences ar ...more
It's excellent read for anyone. Just an extraordinary glimpse into the Black life of Harlem throughout most of the 20th century & the beginning of this one through the eyes of a Black woman who lived it from the same apartment in a high rise public housing project. Surviving in the tenements of Harlem, learning from hardworking immigrant West Indian parents, helping raise a slew of siblings, watching the rising & falling of Harlem decade by decade, enduring poverty, abusive husbands, watching a ...more
Apr 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
One of the most honest accounts of someone who has literally lived it all. From growing up in a large, poor family in Harlem, experiencing abuse, assault, walkaway boyfriends, teenage pregnancy and a host of other setbacks, Ida continues to keep her passion and zest for life alive. She attended the March on Washington and listened to MLK Jr. She brought her daughters to hear Malcolm X speak twice a week in the 60s. She grew up during the Depression and experienced so many difficult things - abus ...more
Aug 10, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: biographies
I enjoyed reading this biography. Ida Keeling shares how she got through the worst times in her life. First and foremost is her relationship with Jesus Christ, her faith that God would take care of her and her family got her through everything. Second is her strong work ethic that she got from her parents, she never stopped working and doing everything she could to support her family. Third was her drive to make the world a better place for her kids and grandchildren through reading, becoming ed ...more
Ruth Failor
Apr 05, 2020 rated it liked it
I was seduced into buying this book due to the description by a close relative, of a woman who started running at age 67 and continues to race at over 102 years of age. Unfortunately, only the last two chapters of the book were devoted to her running. The eleven preceding chapters were about her childhood then raising four children as a single mother in Harlem. Don’t get me wrong, I love stories about overcoming obstacles like discrimination and poverty. I just expected the book to be more about ...more
Jul 17, 2021 rated it really liked it
This is my second book on older runners (my first being What Makes Olga Run) and I'm fascinated by them. Ida Keeling seems like such a strong person and the entire book I was in awe of her fierce determination. By virtue of living so long, Keeling witnessed so many changes. It was eye-opening seeing her struggle with racism and the great depression to seeing her witness the first black president. It made me appreciate how momentous that truly was. I loved Keeling's faith in God and how she relat ...more
Feb 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
"Can't Nothing Bring Me Down" is a great book about a Ida Keeling who is extremely brave. Running at 102, nothing will keep her down. She has been through some difficult things in her life and this memoir is a great testament to her faith, her life story and her determination to not give up on life.

This book was a quick read. I read this book in less than two hours and found it to be quite inspiring. Ida shares about her childhood, her family and her children. This book will make you hold your
This isn't going to win any writing awards, but it is a fascinating story! A black woman who was born before the great depression. Her story of being a young single mother with two kids, of living through rampant sexism and discrimination, an dof surviving it all. Two of her four kids, both of her sons, are killed when they are both in their forties and she falls into a depression. To recover, her daughter convinced her to run a 5k. At the age of seventy something, she becomes a runner and start ...more
Jul 24, 2020 rated it liked it
3.5 I'm so glad to have Ms. Ida's stories chronicled forever in these pages as it is an excellent look into the daily life of an ordinary American. (Obviously I mean no offense as she is a world recorder holder, but Ms. Ida's only became world renowned late in life. What I mean is throughout history mostly only leaders and the wealthy have their stories well documented.) Despite her world records in running, this book only discusses running in the very last pages, so if that is the reason for re ...more
Paris Chanel
Nov 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
I adore this woman.

Although this book doesn’t touch on Mrs. Keeling’s journey as a runner until chapter 13, I found the other chapters on her life to be eye-opening, especially seeing through her eyes the different firsthand eras she’s experienced—The Harlem Renaissance, The Great Depression, Jim Crow, the Civil Rights Movement, etc—and her life as a woman of Caribbean-descent who was raised in Harlem with a distinct Caribbean lifestyle, like the particular ways her family prepared food and the
Ida Keeling herself is an amazing, strong woman, who has witnessed, experienced, and learned so much in her more than 100 years of life. It would be amazing to listen to her in person. That said, this biography did little to keep my attention, and the way in which is was written made the "lessons learned" felt clunky, and possibly problematic, to me. Since the text doesn't seem to capture the nuance of existence, it often feels like the message boils down to the overly simplistic one of work har ...more
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