Running for My Life: One Lost Boy’s Journey from the Killing Fields of Sudan to the Olympic Games is the autobiography of Lopez Lomong. At the age of six, Lopez was part of a large group of children kidnapped by the Sudanese militia in 1991. These children were trained and forced to become soldiers in the Sudanese militia. Lopez, and many like him, are often referred to as the “Lost Boys of Sudan”. Lopez goes on to tell the story of life under the control of the Sudanese rebels. He describes the deplorable sleeping, eating, and sanitary conditions, as well as the state of constant fear all the boys felt. As the months went on, we was befriended by three older boys who were from the same region as he was. Lopez referred to these boys as his “angels”. These three older boys helped Lopez escape the rebel camp. After days of running, they crossed the border into Kenya and were picked up by border control agents and sent to a United Nations refugee camp where he lived as an orphan (by choice) for the next ten years.
Lopez writes in detail about his life inside the refugee camp. He described the rationing of food, standing in line for water, the need to hide food from the gangs that were always looking to steal, and playing soccer to pass the time. Lope was also a runner. He ran around the camp every day. The faster you could run around the camp, the more time you had on the soccer field. In 2000, Lopez and a few other boys managed o sneak out of camp one night to the home of a farmer near the refugee camp. He would let them watch his black and white television that was powered by a car battery. Each boy paid their money. (This farmer is the man Lopez was working for, illegally,). That night, Lopez watched Michael Johnson run the 400m dash in the Olympics. Lopez’s dream to one day run in the Olympics himself was forever solidified.
One day in camp, a UN worker shared that there were spots available for a certain number of boys to go to America. Lopez shows how, through God’s intervention, he was able to leave the refugee camp, find his way to America, and be adopted by an American family. Lopez enrolls in high school, joins the cross-country team, and goes off to college. His views and insights into the immigration process and the 9/11 tragedy are both humorous and moving. Lopez eventually made it to the 2008 Beijing Olympics can competed in the 1500m, although he did not medal.
Lopez says that he now “runs with a purpose”, He has used his influence and resources to help make a difference back in his home of Sudan, Partnering with World Vision, he established a foundation to help bring clean water, food, medicine, and education to his people back in Sudan. Lopez will be competing in the 5000m in the 2012 London Olympics going on now. I look forward to cheering him on to a win. Running For My Life is an outstanding and inspiring work. This review does not do the book adequate justice. It is full of humor, emotion, sadness, hope, and surprise. You will be moved by his story. An addictive read.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their Blogger Review 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.”