A world-class runner.
A committed Christian.
A life of courageous service.
Meet Eric Liddell: Running to Win.
This Scottish runner bypassed an Olympic qualifying race because it was being held on a Sunday. Then he qualified in a different race and won a gold medal (in world record time!) in the 1924 Paris games.
But Eric Liddell left his fame behind to become a missionary in China. His dramatic story, which inspired the Academy Award-winning 1981 film Chariots of Fire, will challenge you to run the race of life mentioned in Hebrews 12:1–2:
Author Ellen Caughey brings Eric Liddell’s inspirational story to life in Running to Win. As one of the children of Scottish missionaries to China in the early 1900’s, Liddell’s story is weaved together with threads of sports, history, political strife, missionary sacrifice and family bonds. The threads are tied together with Liddell’s unrelenting Christian beliefs and lifestyle.
As Scotland’s first Olympic gold medalist, Liddell’s infamous ‘windmill’ style of running wasn’t pretty. But his grit and determination, along with the training he received while living at the Eltham School for the Sons of Missionaries culminated in a career as a world-class short distance runner.
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Besides his prestige as a runner, Liddell was a devout Christian. His faith permeated his whole lifestyle, making it an easy decision to decline to run in the Olympic qualifying trials because they were held on a Sunday – the Sabbath. As he explained to his coach: “God’s fourth commandment to Moses said to remember the Sabbath Day to keep it holy. If I run in a race that honors me or other men, I am not remembering God’s Sabbath. And if I start ignoring one of God’s commands, I may as well ignore all of them. But I can’t do that because I love God too much.”
Liddell’s faith ultimately led him down his father’s path as a missionary in China where he lived the life he felt called to live even through all the difficulty and sacrifice it required. His life proved to be an inspirational example of how living out your faith sometimes means sacrifice for a greater good.
Who would like this book:
Running to Win covers a lot of ground! Athletics, Olympics, missionary work, world history, Chinese history and political climate, Christianity, and following God’s will are all included in this true story. Anyone who loves inspirational true stories with a Christian foundation would appreciate this book.
How this book affected me:
As a narrative nonfiction fan and a Christian, I thoroughly enjoyed the way Liddell lived out his life according to his Christian calling. I appreciated his athletic achievements and the work it took to achieve them. History isn’t my specialty, so I didn’t follow all of the world’s political issues, but could appreciate the dangers they brought to missionaries living in China. I was haunted that Liddell and his brother were basically abandoned and grew up without their family in a School for the Sons of Missionaries. It saddened me to think that having children only to ‘abandon’ them for a greater good was seen as an acceptable Christian lifestyle. And then Liddell repeated the cycle with his own family, although at least those children had the advantage of growing up with their mother.
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