Tales From Another Mother Runner by Sarah Bowen Shea and Dimity McDowell: Review

another mother runner

I’ve read the previous Mother Runner books: Run Like a Mother, and Train Like a Mother. I also enjoy the Another Mother Runner podcast. I’m a runner, but not one who knows all the lingo. I still don’t know what a spilt is, but I’m learning. I’m slowly getting there. Slow is my natural state when it coms to running. Still, I like hearing and reading about other people’s experiences with running.

phoebe running

Tales From Another Mother Runner is a collection of essays from women who run. Many of the stories shared are from women who are lifelong athletes, or women who now run marathons (yes, plural). Some have suffered from terrible injuries and setbacks, but get back into running eventually, sometimes using the sport as a type of therapy.

It took me a long time to read Tales From Another Mother Runner. I would only read a couple at a time because they all sort of blended together after a while. Their reasons for running and their experiences are fairly similar. They’re all pretty dedicated to running like demons and run a lot of marathons. I had a hard time relating to many of the stories since I am not a competitive racer. How do I fit in? I mean, when one of the women begins her story about how she has a hard time owning the title Runner is training for an Ironman, what hope is there for me who finds 5 km a couple of times a week tough? If that person isn’t a runner, then who is?  It’s disheartening for a casual runner to read that, even though I know that’s just her personal obstacle. Maybe she suffers from Imposter Syndrome.

Then there is the essay from the woman living with MS. She runs when she is able. She gives voice to my own fears as I get older: What if someday I can’t run? This was probably the most motivating essay. If I can, then I should. Maybe I am slow, but I am getting out there.

The book is broken up into themes: Ownership, Perspective, Support, Joy, Strength, Ambition, and Persistence. In between, there are quotes about particular topics from regular runners, like TMI, What a Runner Looks Like, etc. These are my favorite parts of the book. I could have read a whole book of these.

This is a mixed review, and since I’m not much of an essay reader anyway it’s hard for me to give an opinion. Like any collection of essays, there will be favorites and duds. If you’re a runner and like essays, then you’ll probably enjoy Tales From a Another Mother Runner.

This was an ARC I received via Netgalley. All opinions are my own.


  1. I love running books, especially the one Murakami wrote but I am not a runner at ALL. I think if I traded my body in for a new one I could be because my brain seems to like it but my body does not.

    1. My body didn't really like it either. If I hadn't had another person depending on me to run when I first started, I would have quit. It was really hard on my feet. They adjusted to it eventually, but now it's my lazy mind that doesn't want to do it. I really want to read the Murakami running book! I will get to it someday.

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  2. Personally, I don't like running at all, but I also like running books ;). I'm a swimmer, and I find that a lot of the motivations (clearing your head, challenging yourself) and so on are similar. I like that you give that lady who trains for the Ironman but has ownership issues with being "a runner" the benefit of the doubt. I probably would've thought she was humblebragging and gotten really annoyed. Good on you :)

    1. I could see parallels to swimming, especially mentally. Yea, I didn't see it as a humblebrag. I wanted to say, "Come on, girl! You run!"

  3. The book was hard to put down and I already have plans to read it again. LOVE IT!

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