Shoukry finds himself in despair and fear of losing his freedom. He decided to take a break from politics and start running, but will he find freedom?
Witnessing the Egyptian revolution in 2011, chanting with the crowds "Bread, Freedom, Social Justice," and living all its hopes and downfall, author and political activist A. I. Shoukry describes his running moments like a window for a prisoner kept in solitary confinement. This book isn't just about running; It's a memoir about self-discovery and searching for freedom and love of life. It's about the integration of body, mind, and soul. It's about family and friends, relationships, and work.
From being barely able to run 500 meters, he became a half-marathon runner aged 39. In this book, Shoukry explores the meanings of faith, pain, stress, fear, death, life, solitude, happiness, and passion. He has truly put his heart on paper.
If you’ve ever dreamed of running—for your health, for your mind, for therapy, or even for parliament, this book is for you. Whether you’re a newbie runner, a seasoned pro, or have never donned a pair of running shoes but want to start—open this book and start running with Ahmed through Egypt.
Shoukry’s writing is candid and pleasant to read and follow. There is no attempt to complicate his thoughts and feelings or frame them in more academic language; he simply tells his story as it happened.
I enjoyed how his account was interspersed with thought provoking chapters on Pain, Death and Love. This meant that runner or not, I could relate to his losses, setbacks and triumphs.
In many ways there are life lessons within this account and even though at first I struggled with Shoukry’s straightforward story telling, by the end it made sense. His messages are simple and straightforward and must be told in the same manner if we are to learn how to heed them.
“Solitude is for reflection, self-discovery, and self-enrichment, while loneliness can lead to self-destruction.”
As I read this book, I was struggling personally to reconcile feelings of anxiety, fear and safety, and I genuinely found spending twenty to thirty minutes sitting or lying down and reading this book incredibly therapeutic. I imagine it is a book you could return to again too because Shoukry does not revel arrogantly or unnecessarily in his successes. You are pleased for him and persistently urge him forward and thus when you come away from reading it, you find the same energy within yourself; urging you forward, urging you to persevere.