Book Review: Spirit Run by Noé Álvarez

Good morning Bookworms! You guys may know I struggle to listen to audiobooks. I think they are a great way to get some reading in when you’re busy but I don’t like having head phones in all the time. So I try to listen in the car, but my commute is only 10 minutes. Which makes getting through an hours long audiobook take a long time. In the warmer months, I will walk while listening to an audiobook, but I’m not interested in the winter. I also prefer listening to music while I run to keep my feet going. But in the summer I listen to podcasts or audiobooks while I ride my road bike, that is usually when I get through more content but again, it’s winter. I started Spirit Run on audio in January and it was only a 6 hour book and it still took me 5 weeks to listen to it all. I cancelled my audible subscription a while ago and used up my credits to buy Spitit Run and Own the Day, Own Your Life by Aubrey Marcus. So I still have Marcus to listen to, that will be my next audio.

I got Spirit Run because I like running, but it was also recommended as an awesome memoir about the Peace and Dignity Journeys. This 6000-mile run happens every year starting in Alaska, running south through Canada and the USA into Mexico and all the way to Guatemala. The purpose of the run is to bring together Native American and Indigenous communities across the continent. Noé lived in Washington state, the son of two Mexican immigrants. His family worked at an apple pickling plant, his mother picking and sorting apples all day, standing for 10+ hours, and his father was also a carpenter. Noé worked at the orchard when he wasn’t in school. He got a scholarship to go to university but found he still didn’t fit in there. He had always run to relieve stress but when he heard about the Peace and Dignity Journeys, he wanted to join. So he dropped out of school and flew to Prince George, BC. He started with the runners there.

Through the run he makes some friends and enemies, he suffers without food and water, he runs a marathon or more every day. But he also talks so fervently about the connection to nature, feeling the sand beneath his toes, the trees whispering to him. The people on the run share their stories of oppression and struggle, of life and death, of culture and community, of racism and discrimination. The stories are sad and hard, the runners are tough, but they are working through their problems. And when Noé finally runs through the Mexican town his parents fled, he understands where he came from. This story was moving and sad, it made me want to go for a run in the woods. Noé was eloquent in his portrayal of such a difficult accomplishment, four months running every single day. The ceremonies that were performed every morning and night to bring all the runners and drivers together were so interesting. This small glimpse into Native American culture was insightful. Noé is now an activist and security officer, and writer.

Check out the Peace and Dignity Journeys Facebook page for more info. I recommend this book to anyone that likes an intriguing memoir, and to runners. This book will reconnect you with the land and make you appreciate the path.

Happy Reading!

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