Run Through the Jungle
By Scott F. Parker
Inside the Curtain Press, $15.00, 271 pages
“I’m like people who meditate for the insights it gives them. They do it for a reason, but the reason is no reason. I run for a reason, and the reason is running – and this is no small joy.”
In this compilation of articles, Scott F. Parker seems to be trying to convince himself of the redemptive power of running. Parker offers some interesting stories, such as the one about the time he ran a marathon without preparation (Been there, done that…). He comes to discover that some run simply because it’s something they like to do; doing something one likes in life is important. The two best chapters have to do with idolizing the late Oregon runner Steve Prefontaine, and about a woman’s battle to save her son’s life from a rare illness.
The other parts of Prefontaine don’t work as well because we’ve been there before. The runner as philosopher genre was created by Dr. George Sheehan, and perfected by Haruki Marukami. Parker’s attempt to write about mindfulness and running doesn’t work so well, again, because he still seems to doubt some of his own arguments.
A new runner might enjoy reading what amounts to a personal journal of a life in running, but those with more miles under their soles may wish to investigate the real thing. Murakami’s classic, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running is a very good place to start.
Reviewed by Joseph Arellano