“Running for My Life” Book Review and Saturday Parkruns


I finished reading this book last night. It’s not the type of book I’d normally choose to spend a good few hours reading. Usually that’s thrillers – or the occasional Nicholas Sparks romance.

But I felt like reading something with SUBSTANCE.

Something that was going to consume me, inspire me, and get me thinking about it long afterwards. Well, this book did the trick…

What’s it about?

It’s a true story about Olympic athlete, Lopez Lomong and how he came to be a runner from growing up in war-torn Sudan in Africa. 

It’s exactly the type of book I’ve been yearning to read for months. Yes, it’s nice to get lost in a lighthearted trashy novel every now and then, but sometimes you just need something with a bit of meat behind it – something meaningful that gets the wheels turning.

Something that doesn’t have a predictable ending.

Ever since I started running, I’ve been completely fascinated with this sport. I’ve never been sporty – I did dancing for years and hated team sports with a passion. Mostly because I was so shy, but also because I didn’t know the meaning of the words “team” or “pass the ball.” That’s what makes running so perfect.

Anyway, I saw this book on my way out the bookshop and it caught my eye. After reading the back cover I simply HAD to read it.

Thoughts on the book

I had a hard time putting it down. To read something like this and know that someone really went through this – it kind of just makes you realise how thankful you should be for what you have in your life right now. Regardless of what isn’t going right.

I’m reminding  myself of this right now as I type these words.

I loved reading about how Lopez overcame so many obstacles and how running was the core to what kept him going.

More than anything, my favourite part of the book was reading about how he founded the 4 South Sudan project.

You and I take things like clean water, food, education, and health care for granted. Read this book and you’ll realise just how lucky we really are. If you’re interested to hear what Lopez is trying to do for the children in Sudan, take a listen here…

What this man went through, how he made it to the Olympics against all odds, and what he is doing today to try and help children in his home country is astounding to say the least. If you’re looking for something inspiring to read and something a little different to what you’re used to, I highly recommend this book!

Running progress for April 2014

Just like my healthy eating a few months ago, I realised I’d done the same thing with running recently – focusing too much on the numbers and not enjoying the journey.

Instead of having fun, I was constantly competing against myself to see how far I could run in the shortest amount of time possible. Not a bad thing – but I was obsessive about it. Heaven forbid I took an extra minute to run 2km... This month it stopped being fun. I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m just a very ambitious person – having always been average at school, I think it’s a way of subconsciously trying to overcompensate for all those years. Who knows?! Bottom line – I realised this was NOT working.

No more 5km runs every few days. No more running as many times a week as possible. This morning I ran for the first time in a week and I couldn’t stop smiling. I think I must have smiled at every person I walked past and greeted them all – which I never do. And my energy levels were on fire! It might have to do with that (decaf) cup of coffee I had 40 minutes before hitting the road. I only did 3.2km in just under 25 minutes.

Why was it different this time round? I forced myself to take a new route… To look at the squirrels and guinea fowl on the sides of the road, to smell the flower bushes I ran past, and to look up as the sky changed colours. It was the BEST run I’ve ever had. EVER.

And that’s what I realised: Running is supposed to bring you joy. Otherwise why bother?

Fun, free weekly (worldwide) Parkruns!

It’s the Parkrun again this weekend – we haven’t been in 2 weeks so it’s going to be VERY interesting this Saturday, but I can’t wait. It’s something fun that Geoff and I do together and it’s a great way to start the weekend. Even if he does finish his run a good 10 minutes before me and have to wait!

This is a picture he snapped of me running just before getting to the finish line two weeks ago. You probably can’t tell, but I was on the verge of collapsing on jelly legs and throwing up in my mouth just a little. I was determined not to let that girl behind me pass. She did, but oh well – it was a good effort I think!

Have you tried a Parkrun in your area?

These runs aren’t only held in 30 locations all over South Africa, they’re held worldwide. WELL worth it, I promise you. Run, walk, take a stroll, grab your family or a few friends, take your dogs and enjoy. It’s such a fun (and free) weekend event to start Saturday with.

If you’re interested in joining this weekly run/walk, here are the websites you can check out:

Running is a road to self-awareness and reliance-you can push yourself to extremes and learn the harsh reality of your physical and mental limitations or coast quietly down a solitary path watching the earth spin beneath your feet. Doris Brown Heritage


8 Replies to ““Running for My Life” Book Review and Saturday Parkruns”

  1. An amazing man. Thanks for sharing this!
    Tandy | Lavender and Lime recently posted…In My Kitchen May 2014My Profile

    1. Melanie Chisnall says: Reply

      It’s a pleasure, Tandy! So glad that book caught my eye – not what I normally read, and so glad I did 🙂

  2. I gotta check out that book, thanks Mel

    although, recently i read that walking helps boost one’s creativity, so I was thrilled that I am on the right path 🙂
    ruchira recently posted…Wordless Wednesday #33My Profile

    1. Melanie Chisnall says: Reply

      Yay! You’re the second person to tell me that – I think I need to make a plan and walk more during the week too. 🙂

  3. I love reading books sometimes that I would normally read and being pleasantly surprised that I don’t want to put said book down. Sounds like that is what happened to you here and so glad you got to read and enjoy this one. And good for you with the running. I cannot for the life of me seem to enjoy running and never could, but always admire those who can. Have a wonderful Wednesday now!! 🙂
    Janine Huldie recently posted…Losing Power Is No Laughing Matter, But..My Profile

    1. Melanie Chisnall says: Reply

      So true! It’s good to get out of your “normal” routine every now and then and venture into reading something completely different. Have a fab day!

  4. Hey Mel! I love your enthusiasm about life. It is infectious!

    I have not read that book; it’s not really the type of book I would read, but thanks for the recommendation. I’ll spread the word to my runner friends.

    I hope you’ve had a good week so far. Carry on my friend!

    1. Melanie Chisnall says: Reply

      Thanks Bill – I try, lol 😉 Hope you’re having a brilliant start to the week!

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