What Ultrarunner Clare Gallagher Is Reading Right Now
Five favorite books from the elite endurance athlete and environmental activist
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You may know Clare Gallagher from her earth-shattering entrance onto the ultramarathon scene in 2016, when she came out of nowhere and won first place, nearly breaking the course record for the Leadville 100. In the two years since then, Gallagher has made a name for herself on the international ultrarunning circuit with multiple podium finishes, including a first place at the 2017 CCC UTMB series. For the Patagonia-, La Sportiva–, and Petzl-sponsored athlete, who frequently runs 80 miles per week, resting right is just as important as training. These are a few favorite books from her year’s reading.
'There There' by Tommy Orange ($17)
“I bought this book because the trail and climbing marketing manager at Patagonia, Justin Roth, recommended it. Boy, am I glad I did because it should be required reading for every American. It’s poignant and searing and I can’t stop thinking about it. A must-read novel about what it’s like for many urban Native Americans today.”
'Educated' by Tara Westover ($17)
“My mom and a college friend both recommended this book to me. I read it in three days because it was so disturbingly captivating and mind-blowing that the author grew up in such an extreme environment and she’s basically my age. It worries me for all of the kids who don’t experience the eduction Westover was able to pursue by escaping the grip of her crazy parents. It’s worrisome even more so from a vaccination standpoint: those rural end-of-the-world, don’t-believe-in-doctors communities are putting the rest of the human population at risk of contracting preventable fatal diseases (that’s not a focus of the book, just my two cents).”
'A Gentleman in Moscow' by Amor Towles ($19)
“I picked up this book because it’s been lauded by multiple friends and, again, my mom. It was entertaining and beautifully written, a perfect novel to read while tapering for a big race this past September—and a decent education on early 20th-century Russia.”
'Call of the Reed Warbler' by Charles Massy ($17)
“None other than Yvon Chouinard told me to read this book back in April when I was visiting the Patagonia headquarters for a sales meeting. He could have told me to read a coloring book and I would have. Nonetheless, his fervor for the regenerative agriculture movement has been passed on to me because of this book. Regenerative agriculture is the future. By converting commercial farming methods to regenerative, topsoil-health-focused methods, farmers could literally save the world by continuing to feed everyone and sequestering carbon in healthy topsoil versus releasing carbon from dead soil as most commercial farms do today. This book is focused on the revolution in Australia. I’ll admit, I’m only halfway through, but the intro suffices to get the point across: we need regenerative agriculture.”
'Men Without Women' by Haruki Murakami ($12)
“My book club in Boulder is reading this book for October. I’ve never read a Murakami novel and reading this collection makes me want to. It’s a collection of short stories about—you guessed it—men without women. Even though I’d rather read short stories about women without men, this was a captivating second option. We’ll discuss the stories in a few weeks and I’m curious to know who else would prefer a collection about women without men. I think the overall tone would be happier and more optimistic than this one.”