Nowhere Near First [Book Review]

Nowhere Near First
A little while ago I heard that a talk/presentation was going to be given at a local running store by ultrarunner Cory Reese. I thought to myself, “That name sounds familiar, wonder why?” Then I saw a picture of him and thought to myself, “I feel like I went to college with this person.” Then my alma mater posted something about him on the website and I thought, “Okay, yeah… I had to have gone to college with him.” Then I read the book and became pretty sure that I had classes with him since we majored in the same thing. But I worked in the registration office back in the dark fun days when everybody basically had to go there to sign up for classes, so I knew a ton of people at school without actually “knowing” them. I lose track of who I know.

All that is to say, “Small world,”

But not that small of a world… I just live 2.5 hours away from said college and based on the book, Cory lives in between those two locations. So… not that small of a world, I guess.

Anywho… his talk was coming up and I looked on the local library website to see if they had his book, which they did not. So I put in a request. Then life got busy and like so many things I plan to attend, I wasn’t able to attend the presentation because my 5-year-old wasn’t going to watch herself! (Okay, she often tries to convince me to just leave her home alone. But that’s not really an acceptable option.) So I missed out. Story of my life, I guess.

But right before my trip to Connecticut last month, the library notified me the book was in and I could check it out. So I took it with me and read it all on a plane flight.

Nowhere Near First - back cover of book

Cory’s book isn’t about some super-elite runner who wins all the races. Cory runs ultramarathons while balancing family and work and he finishes those races somewhere in the middle of the pack. Basically, it’s a life that most of us can identify with as it seems more attainable.

Except for all the miles and miles he runs. I still can’t quite get myself to that place, no matter how much of a closeted-ultrarunning-wannabe I am. For now, I will run my own mileage and keep trying to be content with that.

Cory takes pictures when running, funny pictures and he includes them in his book. Each chapter starts with one and they really help paint the picture of who he is, not that it’s needed because it comes through in the text as well.

Page from Nowhere Near First - Mosquito Chapter

Despite a few moments while reading where I wanted to be a book editor (I am a good editor of other people’s content… don’t make me audit my own stuff though!), the writing is personable and flows well.

Cory writes about ups/downs in his life, and while there are some incredibly sad things that have happened it never once feels like he’s wallowing in any kind of self-pity. In fact, it’s amazingly optimistic; even when he’s talking about races going wrong and difficult life moments, there’s an undercurrent of happiness.

Pick up a copy of the book when you get a chance. It’s a fun read and I don’t think you need to have a strong interest in ultrarunning, but a passing interest in running generally might help. Buy it on Amazon for $9.99 on Kindle or $15.98 in paperback. Or see if your local library has it and if they don’t, request that they order it!

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