“Movies are great but nothing will replace the written word – that allows your mind to add colour and character to the story.”
Recently while at a local running shop (Sports4 – College Square location) – I came across a book written by a local runner – about running. I was automatically interested to check it out and find out more about the author. Like some sort of weird bloodhound on the scent of another running writer!
Unspoken, Or the Unrefined Art of Communicating at the Top of Your Lungs and Through the Bottom of Your Feet
By Larry McCloskey
176 Pages • ISBN: 978-0995336008 – by Dog-Eared Books
The novel is written by fellow running dad and Ottawa native Larry McCloskey. The book was printed by the independent publisher, Dog-Eared Books, which McCloskey co-founded.
The book is about a dad, his daughter, running, romance and life (which is always changing and challenging us). I am not a fan of the long version of the title but like ‘Unspoken’. The two main characters are a talented local single running dad who excels at racing but not so much in communicating, and his daughter who loves her dad but is dealing with a complex world around her. I sense that there is a lot of Larry and his experiences in this book. I won’t give away too much of the story for that is for you (the reader of this review) to go find out.
The writer and runner
So I sniffed out the author of the book (Larry) and we coordinated a meeting to talk about him, his running and his writing. I liked the idea of meeting someone else who shared the same passions – and he was also a running dad too!
We met in Larry’s corner office (with a great view) at Carleton university and I automatically knew I had met another real runner and writer – who’s passion for both equaled my own – different but very similar. Oh and he was wearing a shirt! Larry swears he does occasionally wear a shirt while running but said (while laughing) that the ones he found – well he is shirtless. The photos of him in his youth and in his 60s both show a very fit individual).
Writer: Coming from an Irish family, with an English Lit degree – Larry works as Director of the Paul Menton Centre for Students with Disabilities. His writing like my own is something he does on the side. He has written a few other books (all for children/youth) including, The Dog Who Cried Snake and Tom Thomson’s Last Paddle – but this is his first where running is the main topic.
Runner: Lacing up for the first time to get fit and stop smoking Larry found a love and not just something to do. Larry was more than a ‘jogger’ as well. Running turned to racing and in the 1980s, training hard but not the 100-mile weeks that were popular at the time (for almost everyone) – Larry got fast! At the famous Around The Bay race (30K) (oldest race in North America) he was 2nd in 1986 (1:40.17) and in 1988 was 3rd (1:40.13). he however was not a youngster and started running a bit later than most – in his 40s he was still running hard and fast. In his 40s Larry blistered a 1:07 half-marathon at the World Masters World marathon championships (a time/performance he was actually disappointed with).
- Half marathon: 1:07
- 10K: 30:20
We chatted about writing, running, being dads and liking to help people. I liked Larry – we grabbed a sandwich and then parted ways. I had a book to read.
Book review (my thoughts)
Larry and I share many things in common (running, writing, dads, like helping) and I can almost see myself writing a book similar to this. I liked it because of who I am and because I can relate. I think a young reader who has a dad who runs will really relate to this – and kids who grow up in single parent families and deal with the complexities of life in general – will get this book. It is about running but not at the same time.
This is a book written with heart and experience and worth a read. Run and write on Larry!
“Life like running is something that must be done one step at a time, it has ups and downs, curves and often unexpected challenges – each of us have a different journey/race to run.”
Larry still runs, but now more to stay in shape and lives in Ottawa with his wife and three daughters.