Former U.S. Marine Chris Bolender’s journey to finding peace & sanctuary from stress and discovering great ideas through exercise.
What is the backstory behind “Little Runs, Big World? And why did you decide to write a a memoir?
Writing the memoir has been an idea rattling around my brain for the past decade. I always felt that I should share the beauty of my runs with others. I also have always came up with my best ideas while running so I wanted to share the process of stream of conscious that comes with running. I wanted to inspire others to run and think.
Is there one short story from your book you would like to share?
“While on leave, I was running at my hometown beach, my favorite place on Earth. I was full of angst and stressed out from the past few months as a detachment commander. As the run ended and my angst evaporated along with my perspiration. I heard a voice yell, “Hey Marine.” I just realized I was wearing a “USMC” shirt. She walked up to me in the middle of the street and told me her son’s name and a date of several years back and then said “IED.” I knew right away that she told me how her son died. Without further conversation, we hugged in the middle of the street. It was very emotional.”
I’m not in the Military, I don’t have any life-threatening challenges, and I I don’t even know anyone in the military. I’m just an average dad who lives and works in the suburbs, how would this book benefit me and what could I learn from it?
LRBW is about escaping stress through exercise. This is about finding a sanctuary that is away from our stressors. This can apply to any person anywhere.
Is there anything that you had to Edit OUT of you book that you wished was kept in?
I didn’t edit out much. But I do wish I talked more about my family.
What is one thing you hope your readers take away from reading this book?
I want them to take away that drugs or alcohol cannot purge internal pain or help you escape; but exercise can. You do not have to be fast or break any records. Just get out there and zen-out.
What are you reading now?
I’m actually studying for a Project Management Professional exam. So I have no time to read. I actually spend most my free time writing. I write more than I read, actually.
Writing a book is tough, were there any surprises as you set out on that journey?
The amount of revisions is astounding. It also gets annoying when you begin to name your files when you think it’s finalized. For instance, “Final_LRBW… then Final_Final_LRBW… then Last_Final_LRBW.”
Can you provide a specific example or story where reading has helped you learn from others experience? Was there a specific challenge where you were able to rely on others experience to make your decision?
Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner, by Dean Karnazes was written from the POV of a runner, not a writer per se. He was writing about each run and not about a total story. Each run was a developmental challenge he underwent.
How did your leadership and ethical philosophy develop?
I believe I became more self-aware as I concentrated on myself during each run. Sometimes I had to escape another’s toxic energy and this helped me realize what not to be and the effect we all have on others.
Other than your book, are there any books you would recommend be added to the Military reading list?
Any book by Dean Karnazes
What advice would you give to a smart and aspiring military author? Is there any advice they should ignore?
I would say to concentrate more on the human element and less on the fight… unless the two go hand in hand. Like in the movies, special FX do nothing to move the plot, other than create a sense of realism.
What is next for you and your writing projects?
I have a fiction narrative in mind that I may dabble with. I just finished a screenplay, so I’m a bit fatigued.
Any additional words?
Writers are thinkers that are persistent enough to write their ideas down. If you have a story that you are burning to tell, just start writing. Don’t worry about how messy it is because you can sort it out later.
Purchase your copy of Little Runs Big World here
Captain Chris Bolender is a retired U.S. Marine part of a 94-year Marine Corps family legacy. He’s had an outstanding military career with over 16 years of service. He was medically discharged for confidential reasons. He has served in combat zones in two wars. He deployed as an Electronic Warfare Module Supervisor aboard the USS Harry S. Truman during Operation Southern Watch Persian Gulf 2000-2001. He was the Senior Tactical Air Traffic Director at Camp Leatherneck, Helmand Province during Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan 2010; and as Ballistic Missile Defense Detachment Commander during three North Korea missile crises (2012 – 2013). He produced and directed the largest South Korean—US joint air defense exercise in 2014. In 2012-2013 he was a Company Commander in charge of 107 motivated Marines at the Tactical Air Operations Center (TAOC)/Marine Air Control Squadron – 4, Camp Futenma, Okinawa Japan.
He was a USMC Weapons and Tactics Instructor, a USMC Senior Air Director, Senior Traffic Director, and Senior Identification Director (identify hostile and friendly aircraft and missiles)—all the highest qualifications as an Air Defense Officer. His last duty was the Executive Officer of 1st Battalion, Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, where he was second in command over four companies of 1,000 recruits and 150 Marines. He received a Navy Achievement Medal for cutting Unmanned Aerial Systems
(UAS)/drones airspace request time in Afghanistan down by 75%, directing 1800 air support requests, and supervising 54,000 missions. He received a Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal for serving as a special mission Detachment Commander in support of three real world contingency plan operations in support of the United States Pacific Command and Missile Defense Agency objectives on the Korean Peninsula. Other awards and medals include: A second Navy Achievement Medal, a second Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, ISAF NATO Medal, Armed Forces Expedition Medal, Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal w/ 1 star), National Defense Medal, Good Conduct Medal, two Navy Commendation Letters, five sea-service ribbons (for five years of forward deployed & overseas time), Navy Unit Commendation ribbon, Navy Meritorious Commendation ribbon, Expert Rifle badge 3rd Award, Expert Pistol Badge 3rd Award,.
While Chris attended graduate school at Florida Atlantic University (FAU), he taught public speaking courses for the Communications Department; he worked as the entertainment editor at the University Press newspaper, and founded the FAU Film Club (still active after twelve years). He directed the independent film Rock Bottom and helped produce nine other short films. He graduated as a Master in Fine Art (MFA) in Dramatic Writing at Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD). He’s written and published The Monster Dentist, a children’s book. He’s published his memoir Little Runs Big World: A Marine’s Path to Peace. He’s written film screenplays—Subs, The Wing, and was contracted to write Turning Point 911: The White House. He also dabbles in stand-up comedy, with five performances under his belt.
Current: Chris is a partial owner of Executive Do-it Best Hardware and an employee for Turning Point Crisis Management—USA that includes writing content and speaking internationally on leadership.
Chris can be reached Via LinkedIn