Should You Read The Marathon Monks of Mt. Hiei?

Are you looking for a little running inspiration?

In the mountains of Japan, you can find a group of Tendai monks who are known for their impressive running feats. They are known as the marathon monks. 

The monks use long-running feats as part of their spiritual journey. At one point in their training, they run a marathon every day for 100 days. Another time they run 2 marathons a day for a long period. Some of them have run the equivalent of 1,000 marathons. 

The Marathon Monks of Mt. Hiei is a book by John Stevens, which documents all aspects of the marathon monk’s culture. It goes into great detail about Tendai Buddhism and what the daily life of the monks is like.

Should every runner read this book? It might not be for everyone. This is a very niche running topic. As a runner, it was inspiring to see how the Marathon Monks combined spirituality with running. It was fascinating to read about.

But it isn’t an easy read to glean insights from. If you are interested in the spiritual side of running or are inspired by people who can push themselves for years, then you may find this very interesting. But know the book is very dry and slow at times. It reads like a textbook and gives you a lot of detail about the history of Tendai.

You can purchase The Marathon Monks of Mount Hiei from Amazon.

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