Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Review: Run the World by Becky Wade

I haven't laced up my running shoes in a very long time. I enjoyed running, enjoyed the people I met through it, and enjoyed how in shape I felt when I was doing it. But I was firmly a middle of the pack recreational runner so when I drifted away from it, I don't think anyone ever noticed, not even me until I woke one day and realized I hadn't run in months. And while I do miss it sometimes and make numerous unkept plans to pick it back up, I have never felt like running was like breathing for me, so vital that I couldn't live without it. Becky Wade, whose account of her year long Watson Fellowship is chronicled in the new memoir Run the World has to run; it is who she is and it is indeed like breathing for her.

Wade is an elite runner who wanted to explore the running culture and training practices around the world after she graduated from Rice University before taking up the mantle of professional runner and Olympic hopeful in her post-college career. She applied for and was granted a Watson Fellowship to do just this, traveling to England and Ireland, Ethiopia, Switzerland, Sweden and Finland, Japan, and Australia and New Zealand. In each place she was hosted by people in the local running community, joined in training with local runners, enjoyed the food that elite athletes from these very different parts of the world use to fuel their workouts, and examined the running innovations born in these very disparate places for both elite and casual runners. Wade found very different training regimens across the world, all of which have, at one time or another, developed world class runners, and she tried all of them on her exploratory running year. More than the differences though, what Wade found was a warm and welcoming community of runners the world over. She was embraced by fellow runners, experiencing their world from the perspective of a treasured guest, and coming away from each experience with new dear friends. She also came away from her year with a renewed appreciation for her running gift and a different perspective on training and listening to her body, not tethered so tightly to technology, more intuitive and innate.

Wade has an easy, chatty narrative style making this a fast, delightful read. Her wonder and enthusiasm for her sport and for the people and places she encountered on her travels shine through the book. The brief bits of running history she sprinkles through the very personal tale are interesting, even for the non-runner. As an elite runner herself, her unexpected positivity about recreational runners and joggers and their growth within this accessible sport is a delight. Wade clearly has a wonderfully positive attitude, a curiosity, and a joy about running that served her well as she traveled far from family and friends. She doesn't share much about the harder parts of her year abroad, and there had to be harder parts, so the narrative is definitely weighted towards the incredible and favorable experiences. Each leg of her journey is captured in a separate chapter, at the end of which she adds a recipe from that part of the world. The individual chapters allow her to encapsulate what she's learned from each different country in terms of training, her own body, and the life lessons she takes away from each philosophy she encounters. The book is not terribly long and will take most readers only slightly longer to read than it takes Becky Wade to run a marathon (and she's fast!). Those who love running, those who have an interest in different athletic cultures, and those who enjoy memoirs about a year devoted to doing one thing will certainly enjoy this friendly and entertaining account of Wade's year running around the world.

For more information about Becky Wade, follow her on Instagram and Twitter. Check out the book's Good Reads page, follow the rest of the blog tour, or look at the amazon reviews for others' thoughts and opinions on the book.

Thanks to Trish from TLC Book Tours and the publisher for sending me a copy of this book to review.


  1. It's so easy to drift away from exercising. I used to swim a mile every other day. First I stopped in the winter when it was too cold. Then I started walking and doing the weight machines on off days and before I knew it, I haven't been swimming in about a year. I need to get back in the pool.

  2. I love reading about people who find ways to fully experience something they are passionate about. I'm not a runner but this sounds like a fascinating read!

    Thanks for being a part of the tour.


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