‘Runner’s Bible’ scoops award

4 June 2003

Professor Tim Noakes has won the prestigious University of Cape Town Book Award 2003 for the fourth edition of his runner’s guide, Lore of Running

At 1 300 pages, the book carries considerable weight in sports science circles around the world. In its fourth edition, the book offers the same comprehensive overview of running that made the first edition in 1985 a best-seller. Current revisions have incorporated major changes in thinking in exercise physiology.

Launched at the Sports Science Institute in 2001, the book is also one of Oxford University’s Press Cape Town’s most successful titles. The fourth edition sold 15 000 copies in the United States alone in the first four months after its release there, something of a coup, given its size.

Lore of Running is widely regarded as the “Runners’ Bible”, covering everything from the latest in research to training schedules, nutrition, psychology and advice on injuries.

The fourth edition is also the first to publish findings on the Central Governor theory that investigates how an athlete’s brain determines their performance. The book is based on scientific studies and includes a comprehensive list of references, allowing the reader to follow up on specific topics.

Noakes said he was honoured to stand alongside previous winners, including authors like Andre P Brink, JM Coetzee, and especially his mentor, Professor Lionel Opie. “He has been very influential in my career, and it’s an honour to be classed in the same league”, Noakes said.

Noakes is internationally recognised as an outstanding scientist, researcher, teacher and author. Besides his position as Professor of Exercise and Sports Science at UCT, he is also the director of the Medical Research Council/UCT Research Unit for Exercise Sience and Sport Medicine.

He was the co-founder of the Sports Science Institute of South Africa with former Springbok rugby captain Morne du Plessis. In addition, Noakes is on the board of eight international scientific publications, and is a Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine. In 1999 he was elected one of the 22 founding members of the International Olympic Committee’s Science Academy.

However, Noakes is more than just a theoretical advocate of his principles. He has run more than 70 marathons and ultra-marathons, including seven Comrades and 15 Two Oceans runs. He has ridden the hugely popular Cape Argus Pick ‘n Pay Cycle Tour eight times and, as a student, was a member of the South African Universities rowing team.

SouthAfrica.info reporter

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