Learn the secrets of the Black Cactus and elevate your running with Abdi’s inspirational approach.
Abdi’s World is a quirky place where the only American distance athlete to qualify for five Olympics shares the stories that shaped his enduring love of running and his laid-back approach to life. Enter Abdi’s World to join him on his insightful journey—and see what happens when you meet his stride.
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Abdi Abdirahman arrived in Tucson, Arizona as a teenager when his family escaped civil war in their home country of Somalia. How the “Black Cactus,” as he is affectionately known, stumbled upon a career as one of the world’s most durable and beloved track and road racers of the 21st century is a story of resilience, commitment, and respect for friends and competitors alike—told here in a guide that is part life lessons, part training tips, part autobiography, and all Abdi. He has traveled the globe and shared his joie de vivre at every stop, showing a magician’s ability to balance work and play that anyone young or old, in or out of running, could learn from to live a more meaningful life.
“A lighthearted and engaging memoir by a celebrated runner and Olympic athlete.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Abdi emerges as a garrulous, fun-loving personality, comfortable in his own skin, loyal to his friends, utterly committed to running excellence, and a proud citizen of his adopted country.” —Ed Fox, Track & Field News book review
“Abdi is one of the most inspiring and decorated distance runners in the United States today, but also the most fun to be with at the races. He is a natural storyteller and a gritty performer, so put this book on your summer reading list for both motivation and entertainment.” —Deena Kastor, Olympic medalist and American record holder, marathon; New York Times bestselling author of Let Your Mind Run
“Abdi is a unique and competitive athlete. I had the chance to train with and compete against Abdi throughout almost three decades. Our discussions and interactions have always been fun-loving and ambitious. Abdi has a “go-big” approach to life and running, and now readers will get to experience his positive mindset firsthand. What an amazingly long and successful career Abdi has had!” —Meb Keflezighi, 2004 Olympic Marathon silver medalist, 2009 New York City Marathon winner, 2014 Boston Marathon winner
“I’ve always looked up to Abdi as a runner, as most do, but knowing Abdi, I more admire and want to emulate his carefree, happy-go-lucky, joy-filled nature. What is the point of becoming a world-beater athlete if you can’t enjoy today? Abdi knows how to run with the best athletes in the world, but more importantly, he knows how to live a life full of joy, optimism, and love. I know that the words Abdi shares in Abdi’s World will pass along his wisdom, fire, and joy to all that read them.” —Ryan Hall, two-time Olympian; American record holder in the half marathon
“Abdi’s mentality is his foundation of youth. His huge smile and joy for life are his trademarks. His ability to read the race as it’s developing and never back down are part of his competitive legacy. It’s hard to imagine any one of those without the others. What a treat to read his secrets to success.” —Mary Wittenberg, former president and CEO, New York Road Runners
“People often overlook just how difficult it is to achieve longevity in elite sports. Abdi has been entertaining at the very highest level for over 20 years. His energy lights up a room and those lucky enough to have met him leave with a little bit of his magic. You cannot fail to be inspired by Abdi’s story, an authentic tale by someone who clearly cherishes running and life.” —Gary Lough, distance coach, former professional middle-distance runner
“Abdi’s desire and will have not changed. In really good athletes, they dance on that line of, How long can I do this? A lot lose the joy in it and it’s not what it once was, and they have to work through that along with the physical relationship and how it sits in their lives. They exit without the joy. He’s somebody who is always asking ‘What am I getting ready for?’ He always has a plan. He always, always, has been like that. With Abdi, as you will read in his life story, he still has the joy.” —Mike Smith, director of track and field and cross country, Northern Arizona University, national cross country champions, 2017, 2018, 2020