River Road, Pt. 1

Monday morning was cool as Len stepped out the door just after sunrise in a long sleeve t-shirt and shorts. He started running quickly to shake off the chill. After the humid summer mornings, running in the cool dawn was invigorating. Some of the leaves were just beginning to turn and a slight reddish hue glowed over the top of the waking neighborhood as the sun touched the peaks of the maple trees that lined the street. Len made good time to the river and turned onto the River Road under a canopy of still mostly green oak leaves that were now tinged with yellow and red. He jogged down onto his path through the dew-soaked woods to his clearing. He stretched for a few minutes, watching the sun begin to burn off the ethereal morning mist from the river. Steam rose off of his damp shirt. He moved quickly back up the hill to the River Road and kept a strong pace all the way home. He felt good and was hungry. 

This is an excerpt from Dennis Barker’s book, The River Road. Mrs. Onkcen (Rachel’s mom) got it for me for Christmas. Every year she gets me a book (or multiple books) to read and every year she hits a home run.

Two years ago it was The Animal Keepers, which was about a storied Wisconsin high school XC team and one of their state championship seasons. That book was phenomenal.

Last year it was a load of Arthur Lydiard books…RUNNING LITERATURE GOLD.

This year, with The River Road, it’s another home run. This might be the best running book I’ve read. And excerpts like the one above are why. This is the first book I’ve read that really captures the essence of what it was like to actually start running. I remember when I first fell in love with running and this book reminds me of those days like no other book has.

I am almost done with the book; only a few more pages, and afterwards I plan on posting a full review…without spoilers!


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