An Accidental Athlete
By John “The Penguin” Bingham
Velo Press, www.velopress.com, Retail $16.95
An Accidental Athlete chronicles John “The Penguin” Bingham’s journey from being an overweight, smoking couch potato to becoming a runner (5K to marathon), cyclist, duathlete, triathlete, and adventure racer. Bingham has been called the Pied Piper of the second running boom, motivating thousands of would-be athletes to overcome their own inertia and find (and better) themselves through movement.
The book is an enjoyable, easy read. Each chapter is an invitation to find – or remember – the joy of being an athlete, no matter your skill level or speed. I found myself drawn to his enthusiasm and optimism, leaving me excited to lace up my shoes to go see what adventures I could have.
So often we get caught thinking that we have to be good/fast/thin/covered-in-medals to be successful athletes. But Bingham argues that being an athlete means something more: “Being an athlete means taking risks, reaching for something beyond your grasp, and accepting failure as an integral part of success... Being an athlete doesn’t mean that you are athletic. Being an athlete means that you are committed to encountering the world around you with the courage and conviction of an athlete.”
So if you’re looking for a bit more courage, conviction and JOY from your workouts (and aren’t we all!), give The Penguin a try. And, as he says, “Waddle on, friends.”
Reviewed by Kristi Spackman
Dave Scott, Mark Allen and the Greatest Race Ever Run
By Matt Fitzgerald, Review by Amber Foster
Velo Press, www.velopress.com, Retail $25.95
As a triathlete, I was very excited to read this book about one of the greatest Ironman races ever run. Iron War is the story of the remarkable race ran by Dave Scott and Mark Allen in the 1989 Ironman in Kona. I found myself carrying this book around with me everywhere I went so that I could read in any spare moment that I found. This book caught my attention quickly; it was sustained throughout the entire read. As I read the book, I was inspired by their stories and found myself thinking, “Have I pushed myself hard enough in my own races? What are my true limits?”
Iron War not only focuses on the race itself, but also discusses the history of triathlon and Ironman, the first athletes in the sport, as well as studies that have been completed on elite athletes. It discusses the mental versus physical challenges that we all face as triathletes, and how each of these men conquered them in their own way.
The book is a true description of two men's journey through triathlon competitions to become the best that they could be, and to fulfill the goals that they had set. It reflects their childhood, youth, and personalities that drove them to this sport of competition. Iron War is a great reminder to all of us that we are on our own journey in this sport. It may take years to fulfill the goals we have set for ourselves. The important part is that we enjoy the journey.
My favorite quote in the book, “You desire to know the art of living, my friend? It is contained in one phrase: Make use of suffering.”
Reviewed by Amber Foster