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Cory Wharton-Malcolm, a London-based coach who established the running group TrackMafia, joyfully makes room for people to bring their full selves to the track in his charmingly illustrated All You Need is Rhythm & Grit: How to Run Now—for Health, Joy, and a Body That Loves You Back. “Do your research and decide what works for you,” he advises in a section about fueling on the go. “I’ve seen people dip pizza in Coca-Cola. . . . It’s not something I’ve tried personally, but, like I say, everyone’s different.” 

Wharton-Malcolm is so refreshingly real about the pains and the joys of running that one feels simultaneously intimidated and inspired, a sense of “I can do this, but it’s going to be tough.” He admits that his base pace as a beginner was around 13 minutes per mile. Now, Wharton-Malcolm thanks running for everything from meeting his wife to finding purposeful work to tapping into what he calls “cardio confidence.” Running also provided space for him to consider his trauma, most notably the loss of his grandmother, whose death he didn’t process until he started clocking hours on the pavement. 

Though running culture is fueled by a few high-profile corporate sponsors and not equally available to everyone, Wharton-Malcolm, who is a large-bodied Black man, argues for a more inclusive sport. The last words of All You Need is Rhythm & Grit, “KNOCK KNOCK,” suggest that running is waiting on the other side of a closed door that the reader must open. 

Wharton-Malcolm undeniably achieves much in this slim volume: encouragement, connection and tips to nudge any would-be runner off the couch and into the world.

In the accessible, inclusive All You Need is Rhythm & Grit, running coach Cory Wharton-Malcolm will convince you to get off the couch and into the world.

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