This straightforward, enthusiastic biography by Eichinger and Everson recounts the life story of Eric Liddell, the Olympic athlete whose achievements inspired the iconic movie Chariots of Fire.
The opening sequence of Chariots of Fire—men running barefoot on a Scottish beach backed by a soundtrack scored by Vangelis—is one of the most enduring scenes in cinema. Ironically, the subject of the movie, Eric Liddell, once one of the most famous men in Britain, is perhaps now less well-known than that scene. Eichinger and Everson’s biography seeks to redress this by reilluminating a remarkable life. Liddell was born in China, the second son of Scottish missionaries. At 5, he and his brother Robert were enrolled in a boarding school in London while their parents continued their work in the Far East. From competing as a university freshman and taking a “shocking first in the 100 meters” against Edinburgh’s fastest sprinter to winning gold in the 400 meters at the 1924 Paris Olympics, Liddell led a life of achievement and victory. Yet he is maybe more famous for declining to compete in the 100-meter event of that same Olympics due to his religious respect for the Christian Sabbath. The biography charts his lifelong relationship with God, from his early curiosity with the intersection of science and theology to his work as a missionary in his later years. Short openings to chapters imagine key moments in Liddell’s life: “Eric stretched his legs from the seat he’d nearly collapsed into, one directly opposite the seat his friend slouched on. He glanced out the small window of the train, smudged with a child’s fingerprints from an earlier passage, to the platform on the other side.” These elegantly written passages are elaborated on with factual, to-the-point details: “The physical exertion through sport and competition was a welcome break from his daily pedagogical aerobics. Simply put, running gave his mind a rest.” The biography is occasionally oversentimental; Duncan Hamilton’s For the Glory: Eric Liddell’s Journey from Olympic Champion to Modern Martyr suffers the same pitfall. The authors’ admiration for, and fascination with, Liddell, however, is palpable on every page, demonstrated by the depth of research and the care taken to preserve his legacy.
A modest, beguiling biography that brilliantly mirrors its understated and remarkable subject.
Many know the story of the Flying Scot, Eric Liddell, whose Christian conscience would not let him run in the 1924 Paris Olympics on a Sunday. Though he had trained for the 100-meter event, he had to switch to the 400-meter instead—and won the gold! It was all told in the book and movie Chariots of Fire.
What more is there to say? Plenty! Another Eric (named Eichinger) now tells the rest of the story in his fascinating book The Final Race. With gifted pen, he tells of Liddell’s subsequent career as a missionary teacher in China and how his efforts there became a powerful witness to Christianity and culture in the Far East. As a celebrity, doors were open to him, and he faithfully used them to do the work of the Lord in remarkable fashion.
What happened after the Olympics was by far the most significant part of Liddell’s life, and Eichinger nobly rescues it from oblivion, offering a true account, brimming with triumphs, tragedies, love, and violence—all set against the brutality of the Japanese invasion of China at the start of World War II. In these pages, Eric Eichinger has given us the genuine sequel in Liddell’s life, providing a true tale that will grip readers and fire their spirits.
The Final Race is a gripping read of the rest of the Eric Liddell story. This chariot of fire of God’s grace didn’t merely bask in Olympic glory but sacrificed it all to run the race of his life and to share the gospel of Jesus in China. Author Eric Eichinger does a wonderful job showing Liddell’s humanity, his struggles, his tenacity, and above all his persevering faith. It’s a riveting story of the love of Christ leading the way, amidst the hurdles of culture and resources, as well as the overwhelming atrocities of war, concentration camps, poverty, and false ideologies. In the midst of it all, Liddell’s life is a compelling story of the love of Christ, a race that he ran to win so that others would be blessed, to give God glory. Truth be told, his service was just a reflection of his Savior, the one he always wants you to meet through it all. Eichinger compellingly brings to life this story that will have you turning the pages in anticipation. It’s a story that surely will bless all who read it.
The story of Eric Liddell after his Chariots of Fire Olympic glory is both inspiring and challenging. Pastor Eichinger takes us on a thrilling yet heartbreaking journey of courage and self-sacrifice. He digs deeper into not only what made Liddell an all-time great on the track but also the difficulties of balancing God’s calling with the demands of responsibility to family. Set in World War II China, The Final Race is a timely reminder that true faithfulness often leads to great sacrifice, but also great reward.
Pastor Eric Eichinger has done a masterful job of introducing us to Eric Liddell’s life after Chariots of Fire. Since he both served as a missionary to China and ran track in college, Rev. Eichinger is able to capture Liddell’s story in a unique and engaging way. Far from picturing the Christian life as one of pure glory and victory, The Final Race reminds us that following Christ means bearing a cross, having to sacrifice what we love at times and even living in uncertainty. Yet in all of this, Liddell’s life points to the reality that God’s grace always prevails and that the blood of Christ offers the only true hope there is. The Final Race is sure to inspire and encourage all of us who have to bear a cross.
The Final Race recounts the heroic story of Eric Liddell with passion and grit. Author Eric Eichinger shares how Liddell finished the ultimate race of life with commitment, determination, and self-sacrifice. Faith, family, war, romance, struggle, and victory combine to show that Eric Liddell was much more than an Olympic hero. He was a hero who changed lives for eternity.
Eric Liddell’s life of loving service is a testimony to his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. His story is worthy of remembrance and celebration, and The Final Race is an enriching and rewarding testament. Like the Apostle Paul before him, Eric Liddell has “run the race,” entering the joy of his Master. This book will help you enter into that race as well. I encourage you to read and be refreshed.
The Final Race offers a refreshing, compelling reminder of someone who lived by his principles regardless of circumstance. With this engaging account of Olympic hero Eric Liddell’s life story, Eric Eichinger has given a solid example that should be considered by all endeavoring to live a life of virtue today.
Like Eichinger and Everson’s remarkable work, I have been captivated by Eric Liddell’s story for over thirty years. It was immensely gratifying to discover that The Final Race holds true to the man’s incredible legacy while crafting a beautiful tale. Highly recommended.