Murakami on Running, Writing, and the Boston Marathon

“For me, it’s through running, running every single day, that I grieve for those whose lives were lost and for those who were injured on Boylston Street.” – Haruki Murakami

Haruki Murakami, author of What I Think About When I Think About Running.

Haruki Murakami, author of What I Talk About When I Talk About Running.

In running circles, Haruki Murakami isn’t a household name. Murakami is a sixty-four year old Japanese author of no less than a dozen novels, his latest the thousand-plus page magnum opus, 1Q84. He is also a marathoner, ultra-marathoner and triathlete. His memoir, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running is one of my top three running books I wrote about in Books That Speak to the Heart of a Runner.

What attracts me to Murakami is his introspection, about running and writing. His observations about running are deep, like “By then running had entered the realm of the metaphysical. First there came the action of running, and accompanying it was this entity known as me. I run; therefore I am.” His reflection on the labors of writing are no less analytical, “I have to pound the rock with a chisel and dig out a deep hole before I can locate the source of creativity.”

Murakami ran the Boston Marathon six times. He would run the Charles River banks when he taught at Harvard, and also as a visiting scholar at Tufts. Murakami recently shared his thoughts about the Boston Marathon and the April 15th attack in the New Yorker. He says Boston is the best marathon in the world. Why? “It’s simple: it’s the oldest race of its kind; the course is beautiful; and—here’s the most important point—everything about the race is natural, free. The Boston Marathon is not a top-down but a bottom-up kind of event; it was steadily, thoughtfully crafted by the citizens of Boston themselves, over a considerable period of time.”

Of the tragedy, Murakami says, “We need to remember the wounds, never turn our gaze away from the pain, and—honestly, conscientiously, quietly—accumulate our own histories. It may take time, but time is our ally.”

In What I Talk About, Murakami says, “Long distance running has molded me into the person I am today, and I’m hoping it will remain a part of my life for as long as possible. I’ll be happy if running and I can grow old together.” On his gravestone he’d like it to say this, “Writer (and Runner); At Least He Never Walked

Click Boston, From One Citizen of the World Who Calls Himself a Runner to read the entire New Yorker article.


About Jim Brennan

Jim is a Philadelphia-based writer, author, poet and editor for the Schuylkill Valley Journal.
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4 Responses to Murakami on Running, Writing, and the Boston Marathon

  1. msmidt says:

    Thanks for sharing.


  2. paigesato says:

    I’m a Murakami fan as well, and LOVED his piece in the New Yorker–thanks for sharing your thoughts on him.


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