The Way of the Runner

Original Title:
The Way of the Runner : A Journey into the Obsessive World of Japanese Running
Adharanand Finn
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“In the quite pause we know the answer. In every training run, we fill ourselves with the experience of life, the air rushing through our lungs, our hearts pounding”.  This is how A.Finn explains why people run since running can be quite hard experience, but quite magical, and people tends to come back to it. This book is result of author’s 6-months long research conducted in Japan on the way of Japanese running. Together with his family author moved to Kyoto in Japan in order to become part of some company’s eikiden team and experience Japanese running firsthand. Eikiden refers to a long-distance relay running race, typically on roads. The original concept of the race originates from Japan's old Tokaido communication and transportation system in which stations were posted at intervals along the road. In the eikiden race, each runner on a team runs the distance from one "station" to the next, and then hands off a cloth sash, or tasuki, to the next runner. These eikiden races are very popular in Japan, and the book gives insight about its popularity, race preparations, and the most important eikiden races. I was amazed and inspired to read about those preparations, organisation, and motivation of even high school students to train hard. As in everything, Japanese people are hard-working and team people even in the running.

The book provides great and surprising insights in the world of Japanese runners, with the particular focus on eikiden races, which are, highlight in Japanese running. While author went to Japan to find out what to do to run better, he found out what not to do in order to run better. Expect about running, book gives great insight in Japanese culture too, alluring the reader to experience it himself.

Reading this book with great descriptions, I felt like I am in Japan. Author combines science, with humor and great storytelling. I was fascinated with Japanese culture and hard work before reading this book, but after this book I was fascinated even more. It motivated me to run more, regardless of whether conditions, and helped me to pay more attention to and try to improve my form during running. I highly recommend this book if you want to read about another culture, about running, or just great story about family journey.