One man's obsession with running
Robin Harvie ran his first marathon in 2000 after a bet. Since then he has run 15 more.
There is much to enjoy in this erudite, literary memoir - ObserverWhere the book truly excels is in its depiction of Harvie's internal landscape. He largely shuns training tips and inspirational advice in favour of a true memoirist's tone, exploring the reasons why he runs - grief, ambition, boredom - with an almost brutal honesty. These passages are as moving as they are illuminating . . . this is a memoir for anyone who has ever dreamed about reaching the outer limits of what they're capable of and, as such, it should be enjoyed by an audience far wider than just those who head home this evening wearing a medal - Independent on SundayHarvie writes intricately on how such a limit-busting endeavour (the Sparthalon) made him understand himself, his journey into adulthood and his family - MetroHis journey is undeniably a compelling one - IndependentHarvie tells many more fascinating stories in this vein about everything from the suicidally dedicated marathon monks of Mount Hiel in Japan, whose initiation requires them to run a marathon a day for 100 days, to the danger of modern trainers - Mail on SundayEvery runner has a story, and Robin Harvie's is one of the most remarkable I've ever encountered. Why We Run is brilliantly written, deeply emotional, raw and honest. Robin scrapes away the superficial dermis and offers a rare glimpse into the mindset and motivation of a long-distance runner - Dean Karnazes, Ultramarathoner and NY Times bestselling authorAn astonishing memoir--wholly unlike any other writing about 'running' and 'obsession' that I have encountered. It is both eloquent and rawly emotional--candid to the point of pain, illuminating, and finally very touching. It will make all who read it, who are drawn to running, feel stirrings of true excitement, if just a bit tinged with dread! For Robin Harvie is a 'real' runner--and a 'real' writer, and though competition is not the point, as the memoirist makes clear, in this case he is an uncontested winner.' - Joyce Carol OatesAn intensely personal journey, woven with memoir, philosophy, history and pain, Robin Harvie's debut is by turns compulsive, challenging and ultimately rewarding--a magnificent literary marathon in itself - Philip Hoare