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Kenyan running and the American Ideal

I love reading books that have some kind of local connection to me. Who doesn’t love reading about their town or even places they know? When I got The Cybernetics of Kenyan Running: Hurry, Hurry Has No Blessing by Randall E. Mayes at a local bookstore downtown, I had no idea it was a local author. My wife and I had a date day, basically, we take a random Friday off to go to bookstores and just hang out. I was probably high off sugary boba tea when I spent over 100 bucks at a local bookstore but it led me to this amazing book.

I feel like this book should be read right after you read books like Born to run to give less of a fairy tale feel to what makes a great runner. Many times, people get very deflated that we can’t be like the sexy stars or athletes we admire so we don’t even try to be healthy. This book points out the real reasons that Kenyan runners have been known to dominate the running world.

But not every Kenyan is a world-class runner, so what makes us so different from them? This book lays out the differences that may show the reasons why Americans and other countries can’t keep up. The one quote that stuck with me was “It appears as though Kenyans, for the most part rely on inner strength. In the U. S, a large commercial market exists for self-discipline and self-esteem….is something missing in the psychological socialization process?”

Why do we, especially women feel that we have to live up to some kind of Hollywood ideal? Or why do we feel a way when we can’t run as fast or far as someone else? This book really helps break down the social and psychological factors that play into that. My take away from it is to run my own race for my own reasons. To be healthy for my own reasons and to stop being so hard on myself.



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