Book Review: The Ultimate Runner

A while back Tom and Amy over at the Runners’ Lounge were soliciting submissions for a book… a book full of stories and photos from real world runners… not a collection of stories from elite athletes or runners doing extreme challenges, but runners like you and me. The result of that: The Ultimate Runner: Stories and Advice to Keep You Moving.

The Ultimate Runner - book cover

The stories are grouped into chapters, so that like topics are together. The chapters are:
– Why We Run: Physical Transformation
– Emotional and Spiritual Insights
– The Social Side of the Sneakers
– Off the Beaten Path
– Memorable Races
– Running for a Cause

If you’re ever feeling a little bit down and unmotivated when it comes time to run, this book would be a great thing to pick up. A 2-3 page short story about the positive effect running has had on someone else can be very inspirational, especially when it feels easier to relate to these runners.

The last chapter is called “Must-Know Info”, this is a section where they’ve gathered some good tips from experts on a variety of topics: Stretching, Nutrition, Injury, etc. While this section isn’t as thorough and inclusive as a book geared purely toward the technicalities of running, it is full of helpful info for newbies and good reminders for experienced runners.

Interspersed throughout the book are beautiful photos that illustrate the reflective, challenging, humorous and quirky sides of running. They’re great… which kind of brings me to one quibble I had: the cover of the book. I know… “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover” (which you definitely shouldn’t, because the innards of this are really a gem). But the cover just looks like something from another decade. I’m pretty sure the guy is wearing sweatpants and the chick looks like she’s wearing an aerobics unitard. Yes, it’s a silly complaint, but it makes me snicker every time I look at the cover.

My one other complaint is that the writer bios are all grouped together at the back. Many of the writers are bloggers, so I would like to be able to see their bio right at the end of their contribution to the book. Then I can get a feel for who the person is that wrote the story that just inspired me and if they have a website, visit it and read more from the author. It just seems disjointed to flip to the back.

But The Ultimate Runner has WAY more positives than negatives. It’s full of inspiration, motivation and real everyday people… some of whom running didn’t come naturally or gracefully, but they powered through for some individual reason and keep doing it because they love the feeling that comes from the sport. That’s something I can relate to!

This book was sent to me for review by the publisher after I submitted a request on the Runners’ Lounge blog when they were asking for interested participants.


  1. I had hoped to get my review out this week, but I am only half through!!! I did not read this thouroghly because I want my review to be my own when I do it….wonder how many people are reviewing it???

    • I totally respect that approach. I knew others were going to be reviewing it, so I wanted to make sure I read it and got my review posted before I had the other perspectives influencing me.

  2. I remember when they asked us for submissions to that book. I’d sent mine in to the Runner’s Lounge, but then didn’t get my act together for this one – did you? I guess I should get my act together NOW and just buy a copy of it! Thanks for the review, and I agree with you – that cover does look like she’s wearing a unitard!

    • No, I never got a submission in… and after reading this I really wish that I had. Not saying that I 100% would have made the final version, but that would have been super cool to see my story in print.

  3. I started writing something for a submission for this book, too! I didn’t get my act together either. I am glad it turned out to be a good book and I should go out and buy it.

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