April from Run the Great Wide Somewhere, Erika from MCM Mama Runs, and Patty from No-Guilt Life. This week's topic is Inspirational Books and Movies but I am just going to focus on the last inspirational running book I "read": Unbroken. The reason I "read" it was I actually listened to it on audiobook. 12 hours unbridged!! It was perfect for after I finished the Serial podcast and was approaching my final 26 mile training run for Dopey!
The story Unbroken is about Louis Zamperini,an 1936 Olympian runner and a World War II veteran. The story begins with him as a young boy and what a trouble maker he was and how it got into running in Southern California. From there, it talks how he qualified for the Olympics in a crazy Trials story and went to run the 5000m in Berlin as the youngest qualifier ever. He has a great Olympic story, and even though he didn't want to gold he did have the fastest finish ever recorded in in the 5000 m at the time. It even caught the attention of Hilter who insisted on a personal meeting.
After the Olympics he eventually went to USC on a full track scholarship, and to hearing about his adventures running around the USC track where I have also run many times was very inspiring. He eventually ran the mile in 4:08, and many thought he would break the four minute mile barrier, even though we know it was eventually broken by Roger Bannister later on. What was interesting about the 4:08 was he ran the race while being boxed in and having people stab him with their spikes to slow him down!!! He wanted to go back to the Olympics in 1940 and it is very sad to know that instead we had World War II.
He enlisted in World War II and his training and how he crashlanded and survived at sea before being a POW in Japan. These stories are totally heartbreaking and grusome, but at the same time, it is amazing what they all were able to survive.
After the war ended, it goes into how he had many demons mostly in drinking alcohol and how he eventually found God and became a Christian motivational speaker. He really lived a remarkable life.
He also talked about how much USC meant to him and as a technical triple Trojan (got my Master's there, work there, and am getting my Doctorate), that means a lot to me. The entrance to the track on campus is named after him, I often walk over there and look at all of the great Olympians that have come before and after Louis (including some of the people mentioned in the book!).
I saw the movie that just came out, but it focuses more on him crash landing in the World War II stuff versus the running stuff. I think it be very interesting to make a movie focus solely on his running because it absolutely fascinating.
I loved listening to the book on my long training runs (final Dopey and star wars) and it was hard to listen to while running. I cried many times which made it very hard to run. Some of the stories told are just so heartbreaking.
Has anyone else read the Unbroken book? Anyone see the movie? What did you think?