There was more to Eric Liddell than running along the beach in St Andrews in the film, or the famous swap of races in the 1924 Olympics to help him keep his Sunday clear for God.
In his new book The Race, Roy Peachey has found out more about this early sports hero, and we meet Eric both as a small child in China with his missionary parents, and we see him as a student back in England and as a medical student in Edinburgh. He has three passions; rugby, running and the church. It’s the church that takes him back to China after the Olympics; this time as a missionary himself.
Eric’s running is described in parallel with modern day school girl Lili, who like Eric lives for running, and who is both Chinese and British, having been adopted from China by British parents.
Lili usually wins every race at school, but with the announcement that the Queen is coming to watch their school race, she finds she has an annoying competitor for fastest runner.
So we follow Lili’s training sessions and her family life, alongside learning about Eric Liddell, China’s first Olympic medallist.
The Race is a fabulous tale; Lili’s story interwoven with Eric Liddell’s. I loved every minute of this fairly short book, and would have liked to read more, especially about Eric. It’s this kind of surprise find that makes reading such a great pleasure.