Monday, April 9, 2018

Runners of North America: A Definitive Guide to the Species - Mark Remy

Summary:  The North American Runner has evolved greatly over the years, adapting to changes in environment, including new threats, technologies, food sources, and fashion.  These mysterious, brightly clad creatures live side by side with humans, but how many of us truly understand them? With this comprehensive guide to the 23 subspecies of  runners (ranging from The Newbie to The Gear Addict), humor writer Mark Remy presents the tools to observe and communicate with runners in their natural habitat.  (Summary from back of book - Image from

My Review:  Runners of North America: A Definitive Guide to the Species is a tongue-in-cheek field guide written from the perspective of a "runner anthropologist" who claims to have studied all twenty-three subspecies of runner in their natural habitat.  I knew from the second page that I was going to enjoy myself with this one.  You see, on the second page there is a diagram so hilariously spot-on that I laughed out the library.

Once I had a chance to really sit down and read it, I was floored by the authors grasp of all things running and the different types of runners.  Mark Remy really did compile a field guide that, in the first section, lists twenty three different types of runners, complete with their scientific names, distinguishing characteristics, appearance, habitat, feeding behaviors, sounds, mating call, running style, closest relatives, enemies and threats.  Using this guide I was able to correctly identify my three brothers (all different subspecies of runners) and myself.  If you are curious, I'm the Adventure Racer, while my brothers Mike, Matt, and Mark are, respectively, the Barefoot Runner, Trail Runner, and Weird Runner turned Dad Runner.  Some other subspecies include: Serial Marathoner, Gear Addict, Bucket Lister, Newbie, Grizzled Vet, Fashion Mag Runner, and...well, there are more but you get the idea.  Remy's insight and observations on each subspecies were both clever and unnervingly accurate with the perfect amount of satirical humor.  And his footnotes?  Don't even get me started.  HI-LARIOUS.

The second section of the book covers topics like diet and nutrition, physiology and psychology, social behavior and mating habits (some double entendre). At first glance, you'd think these topics were drier than a bone, when in reality they were just as entertaining as the rest of the book  And if that's not enough -- diagrams, tables, special notes, and fun facts are scattered throughout the book to further your understanding of runners as a species (see page 115, Social Hierarchies and Running Shorts).

The final section of the book contains some tips for humans living among and observing runners.  It tackles tough topics like what to do if you encounter a runner in the wild, how to attract a runner (I'll give you a hint: It involves standing very still with a cup of water and works best within the vicinity of a marathon course), and how to best photograph runners in their natural habitat (use a tree stand, if tracking the elusive Trail Runner).  It even comes with a convenient checklist so you can check off each runner subspecies as you encounter them

This book was clearly written by a man with a fantastic sense of humor, who knows his runners and running in general.  It isn't really meant to be informational, but I did learn a few things as I laughed my way through it.  I would highly recommend this book to any runners or friends and family of runners.  It would make a great gift or novelty book for the runner in your life.

Update:  While running an errand this morning, I spotted two of a more common species -- the Mom Runner.  Better check that off my list!

My Rating: 4 Stars

For the sensitive reader:  One brief, slightly risque discussion of the courtship and mating habits of runners.   

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