John Farah's running memoir 'Let's Pick it Up a Bit' hits its stride
But while we may consider Chris and Mike to be our native sons, they’re the actual sons of local dentist John Farah, who has written—with the help of son Chris, as well as Nelson Williams—a running memoir titled “Let’s Pick it Up a Bit.”
Farah first began writing the book in pieces 5 years ago.
“My sons knew I was writing a book on running, and Chris asked me if I had an outline or a road map,” said Farah in an e-mail interview. “I said no, and that my approach at the time was to write various episodes, just like pieces of a puzzle, and then put the pieces together towards the end. When the chapters were written, I forwarded them to Chris, and for the most part, he liked what he read. He would say, ‘This is good stuff, Dad.’”
According to Farah, Chris’ primary admonishment to his father was to include more description and detail.
“He wanted to know what our scout leader looked like, or what that person wore,” Farah said. “Chris's guidance was crucial. I feel that Chris added the color to the material that I wrote. It was almost like it was in black and white and color was added to it. So the experience of working with Chris was all positive and really added a dimension to our relationship that I could not have foreseen before writing the book.”
The book includes glimpses of Farah’s early life as a Catholic Palestinian living in the Israeli section of Jerusalem; his moves to Michigan, Florida, and Michigan again; and his evolution as a runner of various races and marathons.
The book offers its readers running lessons and insights, learned over the course of Farah’s running life. For as early as age 12, Farah discovered he had speed and a fierce sense of drive.
But what advice does he offer to those who struggle to run and stick with it? Step one, apparently, is drawing up a modest plan for yourself.
“Consistency is extremely important, whether one runs or walks one mile a day,” said Farah. “ So if a person struggles to run, then walk, or at some point a combination of walk and run. Talk to people, meet people those who are in the back with you. Turn it into a social gathering. Enjoy nature and your surroundings. Some days you are going to feel good, others you won't. Everyone has ups and downs, including myself, but I refuse to give in. Persist and you will make progress.”