When Brendan Leonard decided to get serious about running in 2015, it only lasted a few weeks—the “getting serious” part, not the running part. Since running his first-ever ultramarathon race that year, he’s logged thousands of miles on roads and on trails, completed dozens of marathons and ultramarathons, and spent a lot of time thinking about why we do what we do when we put on running shoes—whether we’re qualifying for the Boston Marathon or finishing an ultra-distance trail race a minute before the final cutoff. And it’s not always that serious.
The 25 essays, race reports, illustrated stories, and goofy lists in this book pull from a wide range of experiences: The high-decibel chaos of running the New York City Marathon with 53,000 other people, shuffling through the night on lonely trails in the mountains of Colorado and North Carolina, digging for the mental fortitude to finish a 100-mile race, and the admission that we all have procrastinated a 5-mile easy run on a weekday for longer than it takes to do the actual running—often while wearing our running clothes. Have Fun Out There Or Not will, according to a good friend who’s probably biased to say nice things about Brendan’s work anyway, leave you laughing and shaking your head saying, “Me too,” or “Been there, done that,” or “OK, that’s kind of gross.” Also, possibly, “Why would you think that was a good idea?” or “What did you expect, after you ate all that pizza?” or “The person who wrote this should really find another hobby, like, I don’t know, golf or something.”
There are no real training tips in this book, except maybe the one on page 69 about how to go No. 2 in the woods and keep your hands 100 percent clean while doing it.