I Love This Sport

12/02/2010 - 05:32

Ludwig.jpgIn 1978…back when I started running, I was an avid reader of Racing South, a modest periodical promoting running in the southeast. In time, the periodical would evolve into The Running Journal, the monthly newsletter with which you are all familiar. Over the past 32 years I can honestly say that I’ve read every single issue of both publications.

During that time I can also say I have run every single day for the past 32 years as well.

In 2007 I compiled 100,000 miles worth of running education and experience into my first book, an autobiography of sorts which I titled Running through My Mind: Confessions of an Every Day Runner. To be perfectly honest, the subtitle was originally going to be A Quarter Century of Thinking on My Feet (I do my best ‘writing’ while I’m running), but when Dean Karnazes’ book Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All Night Runner was published, I couldn’t help but make the change: after all, I have run every single day since November 30, 1978. A review of my book appeared in the pages of this very publication, and if memory serves, Olympian Jeff Galloway had some very nice things to say about it. Then again, Rich Benyo, Editor of Marathon and Beyond, warned runners to ‘read at your own peril’ (even though he had some good things to say about it as well; he was referring to the fact that the book contained ‘everything running’ that was in my head -- and after 28 years of running I had plenty to share, including my sixth-place finish at the 2003 Badwater Ultramarathon and my dead freakin’ last place finish at the 2006 Western States Endurance Run).

In 2009 my second book, A Passion for Running: Portraits of the Everyday Runner was published. The book chronicles the amazing stories of 18 runners I have grown to respect and admire during my first three decades in the sport. Each of them has their own unique story to tell: how running became a part of their lives; their individual approaches to the physical, psychological, and emotional demands of running; and their special advice and insight into the sport. Among those you will meet are Bobbi, the first woman to run the Boston Marathon during an era when ‘women weren’t capable of running more than 1 _ miles’ and Lloyd, a beginning runner at age 59 and holder of various age group records once he reached the ages of 70, 75, 80, and 85.

My third book will be published later this fall. It will be titled A Few Degrees from Hell: The 2003 Badwater Ultramarathon (the race is commonly referred to as ‘the toughest footrace on the planet’). It chronicles the stories of 25 runners who competed in arguably the absolute toughest Badwater ever as they attempted to cover the 135 miles between Badwater and the portals of Mount Whitney. Their journeys would take them through the hostile environment of Death Valley and subject them to temperatures ranking among the highest ever recorded on earth. Defending champion Pam Reed, Dean Karnazes, Badwater legend Marshall Ulrich, and 22 other competitors tell of their adventures and experiences, which included heat exhaustion, dehydration, nausea, blisters, hallucinations, fatigue, and ultimately success…or failure.
All three books can be found on, as well as most major online booksellers.

But it won’t end there.

Next year I hope to publish (working title) A Decade on the Darkside: The Best from the World’s Most Unique Running Club. I am the President of the Darkside Running Club and in 2011 we will commemorate our 10th year. Our quarterly newsletter, Absolutely True Tales from the Darkside is -- in my opinion -- the finest running club newsletter in the country (if not the world). Our unique membership is comprised of runners from all over the country; in fact, with the recent addition of runners from Canada and Great Britain, we have finally gone international. Among our members are some of the most experienced marathoners and ultramarathoners in the country, as well as novice runners who are still taking baby steps as they train for their first 5K. In fact, my late mother (who never ran a step in her life) was a member at one time because she believed the only way she could keep up with what I was doing was by reading about it in the newsletter. While I’m talking about our club, consider joining us for the Peachtree City 50K or 25K on Nov. 14 . There’s an application on our website,
A visit may shed some light on why I consider our club the most unique in the world.

In 2012 I have my sights set on a fifth book (again, working title), Distance Memories: Reflections of a Life on the Run. As my running career is drawing to a close (at least the part of my running career which would be classified as competitive running), it’s given me a new perspective of not only my running but my entire life as well. Humorous yet poignant, I’m very excited about this project and can’t wait to get started.

Beyond that, one day I would like to write a biography of an amazing runner who has made a lasting contribution to the sport (are you listening, Ann Trason?) and perhaps try my hand at fiction (I’ve got the outline in my mind for that one as well). Until then I will continue as Editor of the Darkside Running Club newsletter and write my monthly column (called Running through My Mind, of course) for the online edition of The Georgia Runner.

I encourage all of you to read my books, join the Darkside Running Club and/or subscribe to The Georgia Runner (I assume you already subscribe to The Running Journal). There are two reasons I love to write about running: (1) I love this sport and (2) I love to promote this sport. There’s absolutely nothing quite like it.

Then again, I figure I’m preaching to the choir.

Scott Ludwig is President and Co-Founder of the Darkside Running Club, located in Peachtree City, GA

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