Go See the Beautiful


Non-Fiction - Inspirational
392 Pages
Reviewed on 07/10/2021
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Author Biography

Rusty's interest in running began at about age 50, with the challenge to get off the couch and run a 5k. Soon the goals got bigger, with several half-marathons and four full marathons accomplished.
Go See the Beautiful was inspired by the lessons learned in running long distances, applying those to the challenges we all face in life. This book is not just for marathon runners. It is for those involved in the race of life.
Rusty and his wife, Lisa, live in NE OK and have three beautiful daughters.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Vincent Dublado for Readers' Favorite

This book truly spoke to me. I am so deeply moved by Go See the Beautiful by R. L. Johnson as it reminds me of my running days until a knee injury made me stop. Like many informative and heartwarming nonfiction books, it takes a simple subject (running) as a vehicle to create deep truths about human nature. Conceived on the eve of the author’s first marathon, this book about Johnson’s running experiences makes for a brilliant allegory of the journey through life. The premise is simple: A vision to accomplish something big, yet the path to reaching it is fraught with obstacles. In his running moments, Johnson has encountered dangers from attack dogs to skunks. But hope and determination similarly feature in his journey as he runs by waterfalls, ocean waves, and mountain peaks. He sets his mind to completing four marathons in conjunction with writing a discourse on the four big themes of life.

You can expect this book to have many running scenes. Not only that, but it also reads like participating in a marathon. Johnson presents his chapters as running miles, and it helps non-runners to get a better grasp of the theme. Johnson loves the idea of moving his body with his own two feet where progress gives him a sense of fulfillment. Of course, failure lurks in the shadows, and it is fascinating to read how he uses running as a means of asserting his willpower and self-esteem. Go See the Beautiful created a deep feeling in me—it gave me a sense of renewal that makes me want to put on my running shoes once again. You don’t have to be a runner to see those particular moments of the power of being human in the face of pain, stress, joy, and victory. Johnson’s narrative for Go See the Beautiful is clear and evocative and is suited to a runner’s point of view. This is one of the best books I have read about running, and I highly recommend it for its inspirational thoughts and creative ideas in dealing with age-old problems.

Christian Sia

Go See the Beautiful: Stories from an Old Man Running 26.2 Miles by R. L. Johnson is an inspirational book that teaches readers timeless lessons on living with purpose, understanding the allegory of the race, picking our pain, building our core strength and motivation, and a lot more. The author writes about goal-setting and why it is important in propelling us forward in the race through life. He writes about lessons from those who have been there before, how to deal with boredom and other important topics. This is wisdom from someone who has learned a lot from the different races he has run and the lessons are applicable to any aspect of life.

R. L. Johnson teaches readers not to go through life aimlessly and he provides tools that can help them stay focused on their dreams, create meaning by connecting to something uplifting and fulfilling, and never quit in spite of the challenges. The stories in this book include 4 different marathons and from one chapter to the next, readers become more and more aware of the skills required to stay consistent, persevere, and remain focused. Times will change, climates will not stay the same, boredom will set in after consistently encountering monotony, daylight will turn into darkness, but there is no reason to quit and this book explains why. With every physical activity that is described, there is a corresponding spiritual, human, moral, or social value attached to it. As one reads the stories from this indefatigable runner, one begins to see the unfolding of their own spiritual race. Go See the Beautiful is inspiring, a book filled with insight and wisdom, and one that will shift our perception of life and struggle and how we understand our purpose. It is a highly recommended read.

Cassie Widjaja

'I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet, but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal.' This verse from the Bible is quoted in Go See the Beautiful by R.L. Johnson, and it perfectly describes the book. An experienced marathon runner, Russell shares his insights on what he has learned from striving toward a goal and not giving up no matter the cost. Despite facing injuries and daily obstacles, Russell never gave up his training sessions and continued to press on. Through this book, Russell hopes that others will have a newfound strength to overcome their challenging endeavors, whether it'd be running a marathon or being the sole caretaker of a child.

Russell L Johnson's unique voice shines through the vivid account of his marathon experiences and clear explanation of how having a vision ultimately helps you achieve a huge goal. Instead of just drawing insight from his past experiences, Russell also includes stories of how other leaders have overcome their obstacles, which serves as more evidence to support his arguments. I adore how Russell reminds us that behind every great man or woman is an incredible moral support team who has been there for them since day one. Russell teaches us the importance of family and being persistent when it counts. Go See the Beautiful not only inspires but gives practical advice to follow in chasing your dreams, such as setting up smaller goals for yourself when trying to complete a big task.

Denny Johnson

Life is a very short adventure. It is a gift meant to be enjoyed by our eternal Creator. Go See The Beautiful encourages each of us to walk within the principles that will keep us on course. Very inspiring experiences and examples help point the way.