Review: “Running For My Life” by Lopez Lomong
August 30, 2012 Leave a comment
This book tells the story of one of the “Lost Boys” from the Sudanese Civil War who through extraordinary circumstances achieves his dream of competing as a U.S. Olympic Athlete. Lopez Lomong chronicles being kidnapped from a church service with the other boys from his village, when he was merely six years old. He escapes, runs three days through the desert, and ends up unknowingly crossing the border into Kenya. For the next ten years of his life, he lives a meager existence in a refugee camp.
The story of Joseph L. Lomong a/k/a Lopez Lomong is remarkable for its tale of poverty, war, a faith journey, escape, and healing. It does not end there, as Lomong continues as a member of the U.S. Olympic team, and now has a foundation partnered with World Vision to help other “lost boys” such as himself.
In the refugee camp, Lomong was not one of the fortunate children to be “sponsored.” When he attended class, he did not have a pen, pencil, or paper like the “rich” kids that had sponsors. He drew his letters and numbers in the dirt with a stick.
Despite everything that happened in his village, and the refugee camp, he maintains his faith. After his baptism, he was given the Christian name of Joseph by the priest. Lomong compares his journey to that of the Old Testament Joseph, who in an act of evil was sold into slavery. Later, he prospered, and helped his family in their time of need. Lomong is doing the same thing with his life, using his position as a professional athlete to help his family and village in Sudan.
Lomong credits God with protecting him from harm during his capture and escape from Sudan. He also believes it is God who helped him survive in the refugee camp, and created the opportunity for him to eventually become part of a family in the United States.
Every step of the way, he gives praise for the education he receives, and the opportunity to compete at the highest levels in sports. As a child, he never could have imagined that running from enemies would condition him to become a world-class Olympic athlete.
This book is inspiring for it brings a global view to what it means to be an American. Lomong can appreciate his citizenship in a way that native born Americans can not. U.S. foreign policy brought food to the refugee camp, that kept Lomong alive for a decade. Catholic Charities was instrumental in getting him out of the camp. World Vision is helping get water wells in Sudanese villages like the one where Lomong was born.
The American fight against terrorism changed how much of this work is accomplished, and Lomong continues to work for improvement in the lives of people in Sudan. He competed in the Olympics in Beijing in 2008, and again in London in 2012. This book was published prior to the London Olympics, ending with his practicing for the next Olympics.
Lomong’s inspiring story is an example for citizens of all nations. For this, I rate this book five stars out of five.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
- Lopez Lomong very confident heading towards Saturday’s London Olympic Final (cnycentral.com)
- U.S. Olympian Lopez Lomong Doesn’t Bring Home Medal but Now Part of Half Million Dollar Fundraising Effort (sacbee.com)
- Twenty years ago he was forced to run for his life… now he’s going for gold at London 2012 (mirror.co.uk)