Book review: The Race to Be Myself

The Race to Be Myself

Caster Semenya

Jonathan Ball

Review: Lauren O’Connor-May

When the IAAF tried to stop Caster Semenya from racing because they suspected she had balls, she turned around and showed them just how ballsy she could be.

But it wasn’t an easy journey. Caster may have made the fight against the IAAF, as well as winning gruelling races, look effortless, but it was in fact a harrowing, painful and depressing experience.

Now, after maintaining a stoic silence for more than a decade Caster has finally spoken out.

The book though is not only about her much-publicised fight against the international sports governing body, it is also about her childhood, her religion, and her relationships with her family, coaches, managers, friends, wife and sponsor.

She also answers the questions that have been floating around her since the sports gender scandal first broke.

I enjoyed reading about Caster’s early village upbringing and how with strength, perseverance, and an almost supernatural sense of purpose, she pushed herself into the world arena.

Caster doesn’t mince words and there were many statements she makes in the book that gave me goosebumps – not the scary kind, the “wow” kind. The book also features pictures from Caster’s life, including a rare baby picture. The only thing I felt was missing was citations.

I would have liked to have looked up and read the studies she mentions in the book, some of which were used in her court battle against the IAAF.

If you would like to hear Caster in conversation with Sias du Plessis about her book you can listen to the podcast at