The ultimate list: the best running books, blogs and movies of all time

8733654151_b9422bb2ec_kSource: Scooter Lowrimore (Flickr Creative Commons)


What books, blogs and movies get you pumped to lace up your shoes and go running?

Over this past week, we asked members of the SportPursuit community to share their favourite running resources with us. From movies that inspire to blogs that provide little boosts of motivation, the SportPursuit community provided us with a treasure trove of great running related material.

Whether you have a thing for fell running, are mad about marathons or maybe just getting ready to run your first 5K, there’s something in this list for everybody.

Have a favourite running book, blog or movie of your own to add? Don’t let us miss out on it. Let us know in the comments at the bottom of the page!

Read on for:

6 of the best running movies ever made

6 books every runner should read

6 most useful running blogs to bookmark

6 runners you should follow on Twitter

6 of the best running movies ever made


Source: antony_mayfield (Flickr Creative Commons)


1. The Athlete (aka Atletu) (2009)

The inspiring true-story of Ethiopian runner Abebe Bikila, who unknown and barefooted won Olympic gold in the marathon at the 1960 Rome Olympics, followed by becoming the first athlete in history to win the Olympic marathon twice.

2. Unbreakable: The Western States 100 (2012)

This documentary chronicles the epic showdown of four of the greatest undefeated mountain runners at the Western States 100-mile Endurance Run in 2010, battling themselves, each other and the sweltering heat.

3. Run for your Life (2008)

A look into the life of Fred Lebow – the eccentric Romanian Jewish immigrant who founded the New York City Marathon. Fuelled by Lebow’s unbridled passion for running, what began with only 55 finishers in 1970 has become one of the world’s largest marathons.

4. The Runner (2006)

Inspiring documentary following extreme ultrarunner David Horton as he runs over 40 miles per day for 66 days in a row in his attempt to set the speed record on the 2,700 mile Pacific Crest Trail spanning Mexico to Canada.

5. Spirit of the Marathon (2007)

Featuring five runners of different abilities and backgrounds, this documentary takes a heartfelt look at the spirit and motivation that lies behind the pursuit of running 26.2 miles.

6. Running the Sahara (2007)

Follow the bold attempt of three men with different stories and motivations attempting to become the first people to run coast to coast across the Sahara Desert, crossing 6 countries in the process.

6 books every runner should read


Source: See-ming Lee (Flickr Creative Commons)


1. Once a Runner – John L. Parker Jr

“In mind’s special processes, a ten-mile run takes far longer than the 60 minutes reported by a grandfather clock. Such time, in fact, hardly exists at all in the real world; it is all out on the trail somewhere, and you only go back to it when you are out there”

This is regarded by many as the greatest book of all time about running.  In this novel, John L. Parker expertly writes about the highs of running victories and the lows that accompany setbacks. He captures the pure essence of what it means to be a competitive runner.

2. Running with the Buffaloes – Chris Lear

“In many ways, a race is analogous to life itself. Once it is over, it can not be re-created. All that is left are inpressions in the heart, and in the mind”

Chris Lear chronicles the trials and tribulations of the University of Colorado cross-country team during an unforgettable 1998 NCAA season. Get a glimpse of what drives gifted runners and great coaches to succeed in running at a very high level.

3. Dead Man Running: From Alcohol to Atacama – Billy Isherwood

“We all have our crosses to bear, I say pick the bugger up and take it that extra mile ’cause no one else will carry it for you

A captivating and humbling page-turner detailing Isherwood’s switch from a life battling serious drink and drug abuse to finding balance and serenity in long distance running and eventually taking part in one of the world’s most extreme desert marathons in The Atacama Desert.

4. What I Talk About When I Talk About Running – Haruki Murakami

“When I’m running I don’t have to talk to anybody and don’t have to listen to anybody. This is a part of my day I can’t do without”

Murakami’s ode to running expertly weaves travelogue with training memoir and general musings on life. Murakami has run for his entire writing life and uses his masterful ability with words to describe the joy and delight that can be found in the act of running.

5. Born to Run – Christopher McDougall

“We run when we’re scared, we run when we’re ecstatic, we run away from our problems and run around for a good time”

McDougall visits the Tarahumara – a canyon-living tribe of Mexican Indians acknowledged by many to be the best-distance runners in the world. Alongside a group of top ultra-runners, McDougall talks us through his time training with the tribe as well as his visits to the labs at Nike and Harvard in his attempt to unearth what makes an incredible runner.

6. 14 Minutes: A Running Legend’s Life and Death and Life – Alberto Salazar

“I had as many doubts as anyone else. Standing on the starting line, we’re all cowards

A gripping and insightful self-study by long-distance running legend Salazar addressing why runners run and how they deal against adversity. The title “14 Minutes” refers to the scary moment when Salazar’s heart stopped beating for 14 minutes during a training session and his subsequent recovery after.

6 most useful running blogs to bookmark

Source:  Timothy Takemoto (Flickr Creative Commons)

1. Lazy Girl Running

Running has shown Lazy Girl Running’s author Laura that she can do more than she ever thought possible. Her mission is to share that feeling with others, help them learn to love running and assist them in achieving their running goals. Her blog is the perfect place for down to earth tips, advice and encouragement.

Start with this blog post:

How to do something amazing

2. No Meat Athlete

Written by ultramarathon runner Matt Frazier, if you’re a long distance runner and considering the switch to plant-powered nutrition, this is the blog for you. A great destination for running and vegetarian nutrition advice written in a friendly and non-preachy tone.

Start with this blog post:

63 ways to shake up your running routine

3. National Post Running Blog

A well edited and balanced mixture of opinion pieces, running advice and latest running research findings make the National Post Running Blog a blog worth bookmarking.

Start with this blog post:

Jane MacDougall: Why we run, or do we?

4. Mud, Sweat & Tears

A favourite blog amongst the SportPursuit community. Mud, Sweat & Tears covers the world of mountain running and fell running comprehensively making it the ultimate one-stop destination for all your off-road running info. Expect honest and passionate writing.

Start with this blog post:

3 peaks – the joy of winning

5. Strength Running

If you want to learn to train smarter and race faster, this is a blog that delivers. Strength Running features the lastest workouts, strength exercises and injury prevention tips making it a resource well worth checking regularly.

Start with this blog post:

Everything you need to know about running in the heat this summer

6. Ultra Runner Girl

Written by a female ultra-runner originally from Canada working in some of the most remote places in the world, Ultra Runner Girl brings insight and opinion to her posts which include reflections on running long distances, training logs and race reports from exotic locales around the world.

Start with this blog post:

What running has taught me

6 runners you should follow on twitter

12614761854_1ba9a5b8bd_hSource: Thomas Rousing (Flickr Creative Commons)


1. Anna Frost (@annafrosty)

Anna is a pro mountain/trail marathon runner (for Team Salomon) and a lover of life. Her love for running and the great outdoors is evident in her tweets and awe-inspiring action shots that she shares.


2. Steve Magness (@stevemagness)

Self-confessed ‘exercise geek and somewhat fast runner,’ Steve Magness is the University of Houston head cross country coach and author of the Science of Running. His tweets feature great tips and words of wisdom.

3. Rob Krar (@robkrar)

Ultra-runner and ultra cool guy, North Face runner Rob’s passion for sport and the outdoors is contagious. A down to earth guy who also happens to be a great runner. His tweets have plenty of pictures of beautiful scenery and tasty nutrition.


4. Gary Robbins (@gary_robbins)

Mountain marathon runner Gary’s Twitter bio states “sometimes I run over mountains & into sunrises.” His feed is full of dazzling pics from said mountains, training updates and mountain inspired tweets.

5. Landie Greyling (@LanGreyling)

If you’re looking for inspiration and motivation, pro trail runner Landie’s Twitter stream features stunning snaps from the beautiful trails that she runs and positive words of encouragement.


6. Ian MacNairn (@imacnairn)

“Mountain man, explorer, anthropologist, writer on the run” – North Face mountain athlete Ian wears many hats. As can be expected, his twitter feed is equally as varied and inspiring.

Feeling ready to go on a run?  As we reach the end of our ultimate list, here’s a final dose of running inspiration to set you on your way.  As we all know, a little inspiration can go a long way!

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Want to add to our ultimate list? If it’s a running resource that you love, we’re sure that we’ll love it too. Let us know in the comments below!