“If you want to know the end, look at the beginning.”
Desmond Dunham, head coach of St. John’s cross country and track and field as well as the Founder of Kids Elite Sports, begins his memoir with a look at his childhood, years before coaching at SJC.
Running Against the Odds, published September 27th, chronicles his most defining moments throughout his career, specifically his journey from childhood to adulthood, with running being his only constant.
“Running” is central to the plot but is also used as a theme to portray how challenges can be overcome in anyone’s life. Dunham begins as an underdog. Rejection, disappointment, and turbulence during childhood, define Dunhum’s hardest life challenges but with the odds stacked against him, Dunham retells himself accomplishing the impossible. His book closes at the 2007 Penn Relays, a defining moment in his career that has hugely influenced his coaching today at SJC.
Coach Dunham spent years contemplating writing a book about his life and the perfect opportunity came during the COVID-19 pandemic. He realized he had an enormous amount of time at home and through the struggles began writing what would turn into Running Against the Odds. Trials and tribulations Dunham went through are an important theme he focuses on throughout his memoir. While written by a runner, it is a book for everyone no matter their position in life or at school. Coach Dunham said, “We are all running a race called life… and [students can] relate to the stories I share about school.”
Many struggles Dunham recounts take place during his teenage years at school making the book perfect for students at SJC. Dyslexia, challenges at home, and personal insecurities are among his biggest challenges and many are extremely relevant and relatable to students in 2021. Reading his book, students can realize they are not alone in what they are going through and while the memoir is about Dunham’s life, it features advice from someone who has encountered many obstacles in their own life that can be applied to runners and non-runners alike.
Running Against the Odds is available in paperback and ebook formats on Amazon. Currently, the e-book is $0.99 for a limited time to celebrate the release of the book.