When I see a book devoted to running, it gains my interest.
But when I see a book written by an accomplished runner from Bucks County which deals with “running, training and racing through the stages of life,’’ it gets my immediate, undivided attention.
“Racing the Hands of Time,’’ written by Warminster native Larry Hannon, is a unique mixture of sports science findings, quotes, anecdotes and gentle advice for the reader who wants to make running a lifelong exercise.
Hannon, who ran track and cross country for William Tennent High School and later Messiah College (Mechanicsburg, Pa.), knows of what he writes. He holds a bachelor of arts degree in sport and exercise science from Messiah and an MS in counseling and psychology from the University of West Alabama.
The author interwines personal experience with much of the research for Racing the Hands of Time ($15, Dorrance Publishing, Pittsburgh).
The ultimate goal of the book, he says, is to help runners be their best from early to late stages of life.
His mom, Jane, a runner herself, took him to a middle school track when he was about 7. The experience was a life-changing one and with this current book, he wants to “pass the baton’’ of that love for running to future generations.
“Running has given me a lot of lessons for life, how to work as a team, discipline and everything,’’ Hannon said in a telephone conversation. “I felt like I was given so much by the sport that I wanted to give back in a way.”
“I just felt like I had a lot of knowledge and things that I had seen and experienced. This is an opportunity to do that, to share some of that stuff and try to bring in what I’ve learned from a college degree in exercise science.’’
After reading several chapters, it’s clear that Hannon’s approach is anything but heavy-handed.
“I wanted to sort of create something that didn’t necessarily dictate to them (readers) what to do but just provide them with thoughts and ideas that they could take, sort of customize for their own programs,’’ he said.
According to Hannon, there are three main premises to the book:
- “I wanted to portray the idea that running is a sport that people can do throughout life. I think sometimes people look at it like it’s something we’ll do in school and they put it away and never do it again.
“Or they do it when they’re older and they never got into it in their middle age. I wanted to demonstrate that you can do it from the time that you’re a child almost to the day you die. You might have to change and adjust and learn along the way, but that’s always there.”
- “I really wanted to divide information that people could take personally. A lot of books will dictate: Follow this program X-Y-Z, whatever, whereas this is more you can look at these experiences and bits of information and say I can use these for myself. Or I can use them for my friend in that way. And kind of take it where that particular person needs it.’’
- “The final chapter is about passing on the baton . . .it’s about giving back to the sport. It (running) gives so much to you as a person, your growth and development. There’s ample opportunities to turn around and parlay that back into next generations and people coming up.’’
Hannon made himself into a highly competitive runner, clocking a time of 10:14 for 3,200 meters in high school, a 4:13 1,500 meters in college and a 2:01 for 800 meters at age 27.
What does he hope to achieve with this book?
“The biggest thing really is to give some people. . . that they can ultimately enjoy the sport more because of what they’ve learned from the book,’’ Hannon said. “If that helps them run faster or look at it a different way, think about things they didn’t think about. Ultimately to make them enjoy the sport more and prolong their time.’’
Racing the Hands of Time can be purchased online at www.dorrancebookstore.com