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The Courage To Start: A Guide To Running for Your Life Paperback


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The Courage To Start: A Guide To Running for Your Life + Running and Walking for Women Over 40 : The Road to Sanity and Vanity + No Need for Speed: A Beginner's Guide to the Joy of Running
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone (April 7, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684854554
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684854557
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #56,529 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

John Bingham writes "The Penguin Chronicles," a monthly column in Runner's World, maintains a popular Web site, and trains other "slow and steady" runners nationwide. He lives in Tennessee.

More About the Author

John is one of the running community's most recognizable and popular personalities. He was a featured columnist in Runner's World magazine from 1996-2010. John now writes his monthly column The Penguin Chronicles" in Competitor Magazine.

His break-through first book "The Courage to Start" and his best selling "No Need for Speed", John "the Penguin" Bingham inspired hundreds of thousands of men and women to run for fun, fitness, and self-affirmation. His book, "Marathoning for Mortals", co-authored by Coach Jenny Hadfield, revolutionized long-distance running and walking. With "Running for Mortals" John and Jenny brought the joy of running to everyone.

Once an overweight couch potato with a glut of bad habits, including smoking and drinking, at the age of 43 Bingham looked mid-life in the face--and started running. Since then, he has completed 45 marathons and hundreds of 5K and 10K races--and developed a whole new outlook

John is the National Spokesperson for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Team in Training Program and is the voice of the Competitor Group's Rock 'n' Roll Marathon Series.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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I'd highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to begin running!
MH
The book is written in a conversational style, is easy to read, and is very encouraging.
J. Wolfe
Once you start reading this book, you will not be able to put it down.
Dave Sorenson (dsorenso@gte.net)

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

167 of 170 people found the following review helpful By Dave Sorenson (dsorenso@gte.net) on March 30, 1999
Format: Paperback
Do you enjoy "The Penguin Chronicles", a monthly column in Runner's World? The column's author, John "The Penguin" Bingham, now has a book out to complement the column. The book is entitled "The Courage to Start : A Guide to Running for Your Life."
This book is a must read for runners of all ability levels, from beginning runners to those who have been running for decades. Bingham gives practical advice to beginning runners, as well as showing how running transcends from a physical activity to a self-discovery of yourself. His revelations are insightful and motivational. Once you start reading this book, you will not be able to put it down.
Bingham began running in 1992 as a 43-year-old, 240-pound, couch potato. His first run consisted of sprinting down his driveway for about 30 seconds. That was all his legs, lungs and ego could take. But unlike many other times in his life when he had given up, he didn't quit this time. For some reason he stuck with running, and managed to run ¼ mile, then ½ mile, a mile, and increasingly more. As the months passed and he shed the excess weight, he found himself running 5Ks, 10Ks, half marathons, and eventually, full marathons.
He first began to tell his story on the internet via the Dead Runners Society (DRS). He sent out an e-mail telling about a race where he nearly finished last, but was finding himself a happier and healthier person because of running. Much to his surprise, he received responses from readers that said he had told their stories. They said he had managed to put into words what they were feeling about themselves, and about the metamorphosis that running was causing in their lives.
From these initial e-mails, "The Penguin Chronicles" was born.
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67 of 67 people found the following review helpful By Joellen Corrocher on February 24, 2002
Format: Paperback
I have tried becoming a "runner" many times in the past..I was on the "brink" once again when I read this book and have now been running 4-5 days a week since reading the book about 2 months ago.
The author makes you realize how anyone can enjoy, and even become addicted to this elusive, seemingly insane activity. Unlike many other running books, he doesn't ever say "you just have to really want it", he just tells his story, in which, after many years of inactivity and weight gain, he took up running at age 43.
The focus of this book is on enjoying the process, not the end result (how many min. it takes you to run a mile) of running. If you are looking for nutrition or speed advice, this is not the book for you. If you want an inspiration easy read, this IS the book!
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59 of 59 people found the following review helpful By H.C. on May 28, 2001
Format: Paperback
There have been other wonderful reviews written about this book already. All I can say is this book is so inspiring for those of us who always wanted to be athletic, but thought our chance had passed us by. I'm a 35 year old, stay at home, slightly plump mom. I've always admired runners, I always wanted to be one. But the truth is, I suck at running. This book gave me something wonderful. It gave me hope. It's a book that says so what if you suck, so what if you're slow, so what if the neighbors kid runs faster than you, and that kid runs with crutches. It's okay! If you are getting out there and putting one foot in front of the other, you're a runner!
I've been running for five months now. And I don't think I would have ever had the courage to step outside my door, take a deep breath and start jogging without this book
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Jack Brolly on May 10, 2002
Format: Paperback
John Bingham writes an excellent and often funny book about how running can empower a person. He discusses his progression from overweight couch potato to slow but fit runner. His story is an inspiring one. As someone who lost 100 pounds through running and now frequently competes in road races, this book was like reliving my journey to fitness. It made me feel nostalgia.
Bingham discusses what is the essence of running - pushing through discomfort to become more content. He is funny, eloquent, and willing to be proud of his accomplishments. The Courage to Start is a book that I wish everyone would read just once. There is something in it for everyone - from the 15 minute 5Kers to those who seek a more active and healthy lifestyle. The book conveys a message that so few people in America don't hear enough - go for your dreams and don't be afraid to fail. I highly recommend this book.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Robert AuBuchon Jr. on November 10, 1999
Format: Paperback
The Courage to Start is a "must" read for all who are thinking about running or who have recently started, or who have been running for a long time! It gives both inspirational and practical information to motiving one to run. The book at times made me laugh, cry,and think. But most of all it made me run. To read this book is the first step to a life of running.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Jil Knecht on October 20, 1999
Format: Paperback
Wonderful insights, encouraging words and very humorous! An excellent book for someone wanting to get into the running world. I'm a seasoned runner and have read it for enjoyment. I've given it as a gift to 3 family members who want to start a running program but don't know how.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Jeff Mines on November 25, 1999
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a neophyte to the sport of running, I found this book incredibly inspiring. The author came from where a lot of new runners come from: years of inactivity and poor shape. The Penguin's transformation can motivate anyone with desire into a life of good physical health. Do not expect a lot of techniques from this book. There are some, but the focus on getting and staying motivated for a lifetime of excellent fitness and health through the sport of running.
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