Running the Race: Eric Liddell -- Olympic Champion and Missionary

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9780852346655: Running the Race: Eric Liddell -- Olympic Champion and Missionary
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There is a continuing fascination in the life of Eric Liddell (1902-1945). He remains one of the best-known and best-loved of all British sportsmen. As the subject of an award-winning movie, Chariots of Fire (1981), his success in the 400m at the 1924 Olympic Games in Paris was powerfully portrayed.  He was known as the 'man who would not run on a Sunday' and captured the imagination of a generation by his Christian character and by sacrificing fame and fortune to become a missionary in China, before his passing in a Japanese Internment Camp in 1945.
This book is not a full biography of Eric Liddell. It is largely a sporting biography which weaves in to it Liddell's background, Christian position and subsequent missionary work. The author, who is the leading authority on Scottish track and field history and is presently a Presbyterian minister in Scotland, had a keen interest in Liddell from before Chariots of Fire. He was acquainted with Liddell's first biographer, D P Thomson, to whom he gave some assistance in the production of the earliest full biography of Liddell (1970). He was subsequently involved with the writer of the screen play in developing the representation of Liddell for the award-winning movie Chariots of Fire (1981).
Whilst the book is in the nature of a 'personal tribute,' it is from one who can speak with some authority on both the sporting side and Christian aspects of Eric Liddell's life, as a Scotsman, a former athlete and rugby player, an athletics historian and an evangelical Christian. The biography produced by John Keddie is a readable, attractive, informative and accurate piece of work which will appeal to a wide readership.

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From the Author:

Of all Scottish sportsmen who ever lived the name of Eric Liddell (1902-1945) is one of the best known. When names were solicited of sportsmen and women to be inducted into the Scottish Sports Hall of Fame, the name of Eric Liddell was the most prominent. But Eric Liddell's continuing popularity in his native land - as well as in China, the place of his birth and death - is most remarkable. After all, he passed away in 1945 and people rather easily forget the stars of the past. What can we say of Eric Liddell's continuing popularity?

1. THE FASCINATION HE INSPIRED
Eric Liddell was a celebrity in his own day in view of his surprising Olympic triumph at Paris in 1924. For Scots this has been a rare accomplishment. There have only been three Scottish Olympic champions in individual track events in the 116 years of the Games. In Liddell's case this popularity has been enhanced by the award winning film Chariots of Fire (1981).The continuing fascination, however, also relates to his sticking to his Christian principles in foregoing Sunday sport and in what he did afterwards in going as a missionary to China.

2. THE CHARACTER HE SHOWED
He was a man who stood for something. He believed in God; he lived for Jesus Christ; he lived by the Bible; he was a man of prayer. These things seem strange to our secular age, yet they also attract, for we are in a day looking for virtue, for good standards, and for hope. Eric is a man of unsullied reputation. He was serious; but he was also full of the joy of life. He looked for heaven, but he loved life. What he showed in his running - seriousness and joyfulness - he also showed in his Christian living. He gives evangelical Christianity a good name.

3. THE LEGACY HE LEFT
First of all, he left a legacy as an exemplary athlete. In an age in which there is such an intensity in international sport - and not a little suspicion of scandal and willingness to win at all costs - Eric Liddell can be held up as a model of honest endeavour. Sport was not his chief end, yet he always gave his all. His Olympic victory was a triumph of honest endeavour, but it didn't turn his head. He is a wonderful role model for any generation. Another aspect of his legacy is a religious one:He was devoted to the Biblical faith. He is a great example of living, purposeful faith in God.

We continue to remember Eric Liddell, sporting hero and missionary. Running the Race has been a labour of love about one whose life and example has touched many lives over the years. Running the Race seeks to weave together in a seamless tapestry Eric's sporting achievements and Christian work. It is for the greater part a sporting biography, but a sporting biography involving what we might call 'muscular' Christianity. May it be an inspiration and blessing to all who read it.

John W Keddie
Author, Running the Race

From the Back Cover:

"This is an impressive and informative account of the sporting side of Eric Liddell, which also blends his religious commitment, family and missionary work in China, the other great passions that shaped Liddell's life...In an era where more heroes and role models are needed to inspire our young people, Keddie's book on Liddell is well timed, taking us to the heart of life as well as the heart of sport..."   - From the Foreword by Sebastian Coe

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