Title: Running to Win
Author: Ellen Caughey
Major Themes: Eric Liddell, Olympics Games, China, Running
Synopsis: Throughout Eric Liddell’s eventful life, he strove to glorify God with everything he did and said.
One of the first times I ever heard of Eric Liddell was about 12 years ago when we watched the movie about his life called Chariots of Fire. I can’t remember if I have read any other biographies of him, but I found Running to Win very interesting. Eric had an amazing life. He was involved in many different things, and was used of God in some incredible ways.
Eric was born in China in 1902 to missionary parents. Not too long before he was born, his parents had lived through the Boxer Rebellion. When he was five years old, the family went to Scotland for a furlough. It was many years before Eric saw China again. He and his brother stayed in England to attend boarding school, and Eric discovered how much he enjoyed rugby and running. He became known very well for his athletic prowess, especially for his speed in running, even though he had his own unique style that appeared very humorous. For several years he ran in races and won medals, using his fame as a runner to help spread the gospel by preaching to people who wanted to see him.
Eric’s heart was really in China as a missionary, however. In the 1930s he was finally able to go back to China. He and his wife had several happy years there together while Eric taught in a school. Before long, however, World War II broke out, and Eric sent his wife and children to Canada for safety. He stayed in China, and poured out his life helping people.
The story of Eric’s life is very inspiring. This was a man who had great talent given him by God, and he used those talents to do everything he could to share God‘s love with the others around him. Ellen Caughey has included a lot of the history of China, and a lot of information about the Olympic Games in Running to Win. At times, the information can drag the story down. I found Running to Win a fairly quick read, and except for the long side notes about Chinese history, very interesting. I really appreciated reading about Eric‘s strength of character and convictions and how he made sure to glorify God in all that he did. One quote that really stood out to me comes from chapter 9. It says,
“Sports ‘is one of the most productive fields for Christian work, for it remains generally true that the man who is a real sportsman in athletics, who can play the game under all circumstances, fight against odds and disappointment without losing heart or temper, and knows how to take a beating—he is the man who is most likely to be a true sportsman in the greater game of life.’”
I received a review copy of this book from NetGalley, and these are my honest thoughts about it.
WARNING: Several times, atrocities committed by the Japanese or Chinese soldiers, or by starving Chinese against each other, are mentioned.
Listening Level—Ages 10 – 12, Family Friendly
Reading Independently—Ages 12 – 15, 15 and Above, Adults