To Be a Runner (Hardcover)

How Racing Up Mountains, Running with the Bulls, or Just Taking On a 5-K Makes You a Better Person (and the World a Better Place)

By Martin Dugard

Rodale Books, 9781609611088, 256pp.

Publication Date: May 10, 2011

Other Editions of This Title:
Paperback (4/9/2019)
MP3 CD (8/30/2016)

List Price: 24.99*
* Individual store prices may vary.


With an exuberant mix of passion, insight, instruction, and humor, best-selling author—and lifelong runner—Martin Dugard takes a journey through the world of running to illustrate how the sport helps us fulfill that universal desire to be the best possible version of ourselves each and every time we lace up our shoes.

To Be a Runner represents a new way to write about running by bridging the chasm between the two categories of running books: how-to and personal narrative. Spinning colorful yarns of his running and racing adventures on six continents—from competing in the infamous Raid Gauloises to coaching his son's high school cross-country team—Dugard considers what it means to truly integrate the activity into one's life. For example, how the simple act of buying a new pair of running shoes can be a source of meaning and hope. As entertaining as it is provocative, To Be a Runner is about far more than running: It is about life, and how we should live it.

About the Author

MARTIN DUGARD has been a leading authority and writer on running and endurance sports for more than 20 years. His work has appeared extensively in Runner's World, Outside, Esquire, Sports Illustrated, and GQ. His books include the New York Times bestsellers The Last Voyage of Columbus and Into Africa: The Epic Adventures of Stanley and Livingstone. To Be a Runner is his seventh book.

Praise For To Be a Runner: How Racing Up Mountains, Running with the Bulls, or Just Taking On a 5-K Makes You a Better Person (and the World a Better Place)

“Great summer beach read for the thinking runner...engrossing...if you're looking for the ideal running-related summer read, look no further than To Be a Runner. It is characterized by a rare combination of lightness and substance that makes it a pleasure to read.” —Matt Fitzgerald,

“Attention all runners. If running is your life, your lifeline, your escape, or even if you're hopelessly caught up in the What Makes Sammy Run rat race – this is your book.” —New York Times best-selling author James Patterson

“Anyone who has run has a story to tell as a result and usually behind that story is an important life lesson if we have open eyes to see it. To Be A Runner shares lessons that have been learned through the rocky, hard, sweat-filled miles as well as those miles that float by effortlessly, with extreme joy, and elation. Running is the ultimate school master. I learn something about myself, others, and life every time I lace up my shoes and head out the door. Whether you are a seasoned runner that can relate to the lessons shared in To Be A Runner or are just a beginner looking to avoid some of those painful lessons that those who have gone before can attest to you will be sure to find some gold nuggets to take with you for your next run around the block.” —Ryan Hall, Olympian and American record holder in the half-marathon and cofounder of a The Steps Foundation, a growing community of radical runners stepping together to end global poverty

“Martin Dugard on running is like reading Anne LaMott on faith, John Grisham on law, or William S. Burroughs on drugs. He is entertaining, enlightening and inspiring. Read this book, but keep your running shoes close by. Because when you put it down, you're gonna want to go find a trail.” —Austin Murphy, Sports Illustrated Senior Writer

“Martin Dugard has filled every role a runner can--athlete, teammate, coach, adventurer, wanderer--and, as such, writes with a perspective any runner can appreciate. Whether you're a beginner or an ultra-runner, you'll see yourself in this book, which is a testament to the important places that running takes you.” —Dimity McDowell, co-author, Run Like A Mother: How to Get Moving and Not Lose Your Family, Job or Sanity