06 April 2013
"Running Shorts" Worth the Wear
As a purely amateur runner barely able to keep a 7:30 pace most days, I discovered Joe Muldowney's "Running Shorts" on the shelf of A Running Start, where I buy my shoes. The stories in this book are very much along the lines of his columns in the Pottsville Republican-Herald: informative, inspiring, and amusing.
To call it a "Runner's Bible" would be trite, although accurate enough. As a Catholic priest, I regard it rather as a "Runner's 'Lives of the Saints'." Muldowney and his several sidekicks have amassed countless exploits throughout his years of racing, which are coextensive with my life. He skillfully situates his stories within the larger context of the sport's world, national, and local history. He retraces the thousands of roads and trails that his feet have graced, giving the impression that he is happy to run them again. Muldowney has encountered his fair share of gainsayers along his route. His (usually) benevolent responses brim with the confidence of one who starts his seventh decade in a condition that people a third of his age would envy. Joe's characteristically coach-like advice--born of trials as much as triumphs--encourages the running reader to improve his own habits and outcomes.
In the Irish wake of his book, Muldowney now blogs his ongoing efforts in the book's light and readable style. At the writing of this review, he shares the preparations for his 16th Boston Marathon. I'll gratefully root him on during whatever workout I will wager that day, and I'll eagerly await his results.
Both the book and the blog known as "Running Shorts" are treasured additions to my regular devotional reading. Whatever your level of, or interest in, physical fitness, you too can derive the encouragement everyone needs to put one foot in front of the other.