Reading on the Run
An Interview with Mark Remy of Runner’s World
We runners are a reading bunch. I’d say the more a runner runs, the more we read, usually about running.
In fact, if I could read about running while I run, I would. But we runners also tend to be injury prone, keeping even the most avid reader-runners from attempting such a feat. That said, I bet if someone’s done it, Mark Remy, editor-at-large of Runner’s World, has documented it.
Mark is the blogger at Remy’s World and author of three great books on running that don’t take themselves too seriously. His latest, “C is for Chafing,” is a kid-friendly running book illustrated in the old Dick and Jane style.
He’s also the dad of an adorable 2-year-old girl. So in addition to writing and reading about running, he’s reading to his daughter or running after her.
Mark recently answered a few questions for our blog about being a Book Person on the run.
What’s the most bizarre reading-related running story you’ve come across?
There aren’t a lot of stories that fit in that category, but I’d have to say the story I read once about a woman running while reading – or reading while running – in Austin was one of those. It was raining – and it was a paperback.
And I thought audio books were distracting!
How does going out for a run impact your writing?
Running has a huge impact on my writing, on at least two levels.
One, I often have ideas during a run for stuff I’ll write later. Sometimes these ideas come in a direct, obvious way, when I see or hear something that I think is interesting. Like that run where I ran across a flock of cardinals and was struck by the silence of running.
Other times, the ideas just sort of bubble up from my subconscious or Lord-knows-where. I “wrote” a lot of my first two books this way, on solo long runs. On really productive runs, I’d come up with five or six ideas I might like to use, and then I’d have to invent these ridiculous mnemonic tricks to remember them all until I could get home and write them down. (I don’t run with a phone or voice recorder or anything.)
And two, more generally, running just clears my head and leaves me fresh and recharged when I return and sit down to write. That’s a big deal, because when I’m foggy I’m useless. Running lifts the fog.
That might sound paradoxical — running sparks ideas, running clears my head — but that’s how it works, for me anyway. Much like writing, running can be a mysterious and surprising thing. Which is one reason I enjoy it.
Any children’s books involving running you’d recommend to a new parent (aside from ‘C is for Chafing,’ which is obviously a given)?
Well, “The Gingerbread Man” is a classic, of course, with a valuable lesson. The lesson being that while running fast can be fun, you shouldn’t be cocky about it or you might be devoured by a fox. (As I concluded in my own adaptation of “The Gingerbread Man” for runners.)
“The Little Engine That Could” doesn’t involve running, per se, but man! What a valuable message for runners, of all ages: Don’t give up, keep pushing, you can do it.
Then there’s “The Tortoise and the Hare,” but that’s more a fable than a “children’s book,” isn’t it? Also sort of obvious.
You read a lot for work. But I bet you enjoy reading the most with your daughter. What’s your best book experience with Bea?
I’ve been reading to my daughter since before she was born — yes, through her mom’s tummy — and you’re right that it’s my favorite sort of reading. It’s tough to name a single “best book experience” with her, but if I have to choose, I’ll say the best (so far) was when she held a book toward me and said, for the first time ever, “Daddy read?”
Here at RIF, we’re uniting Book People like you in a movement to raise awareness about children’s literacy and get books to kids who need them most. What does being a Book Person mean to you?
To me, being a Book Person means knowing that you can’t possibly read all of the terrific books in the world… but still wanting to try.
UPDATE: Congratulations to Tammy M. of Lubbock, TX! Tammy is the winner of the Book People Unite book giveaway and will receive a set of signed copies of Mark Remy’s three books. For all of you Book People who haven’t pledged yet, the contest is over but you can still pledge! Just visit BookPeopleUnite.org/Pledge. Book People Unite!
posted by Jay