Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Steve Scott’s The Miler: A Book Review

Steve Scott’s The Miler takes a trip through his life, but mainly through the never ending cascade of running and racing that a world class track athlete endures. Scott starts out from unlikely circumstances: a baseball player by preference who is cajoled into running cross country and eventually then finds his way onto a track. His future home, the place where he will make his name, earn most of his money, and find glory, came reluctantly. Like many who enter the sport of running stateside, Scott describes a series of random events that led him from reluctant high school runner, to division two athlete, and to multiple Olympics (and one missed shot due to the USA boycott). This ascent came when track was not quite a pro sport and long before the first real running boom.

That said, this is a biographical account on running. Scott never was a champion on the international stage. He always came up a hair short or was just off his game at the most crucial moments. A predicted Olympic gold never happened and he always found a way to be on the outside of the podium. One can take a lot from reading about these exploits, likewise, one can also understand the pressures of racing, the number crunching game a great, but not elite, athlete must endure in order to support himself. Scott lived up to this task, basking in the unending race, stacking the events, and seeking glory, even if fleeting at times.

While not life changing, the memoir is a pleasurable read, especially for a runner. And while the move to inspire is not fully there, the move to remind one of the pain of training and the pursuit of glory rings true.

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