Marathon Man: My 26.2-Mile Journey from Unknown Grad Student to the Top of the Running World

Bill Rodgers, Author, Matthew Shepatin, Author
Bill Rodgers, Matthew Shepatin. St. Martin’s/Thomas Dunne, $26.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-250-01698-0
Reviewed on: 01/28/2013
Release date: 04/02/2013
Open Ebook - 336 pages - 978-1-250-02115-1
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Rodgers’s energy—and self-regard—never flags in this bombastic sports memoir. The author was a long-distance track superstar in the 1970s; he won four Boston and four New York marathons, and in the book he recalls how his feckless existence of partying and dead-end jobs gained meaning through the discipline of 150-mile-per-week training regimens—in an era when running was an eccentricity. (Luckless opponents discovered that he would “keep pushing harder and harder, increasing the severity of your pain, until I’d annihilated your soul, your spirit, your body.”) There’s flab in Rodgers’s narrative, with its interminable step-by-step account of his 1975 Boston Marathon win, its mystic bromides—“the marathon is the essence of the unknown transforming into the known”—and its tireless recounting of accolades, from the fulsome (“the greatest runner in the world and the history of the world”) to the celestial (“[Rodgers] literally reached out and touched people, like God on Michelangelo’s Sistine chapel”). Still, readers with stamina will find an absorbing portrait, shaped by coauthor Shepatin, of the grueling stress and subtle strategizing of long-distance races, and of the plucky, slapdash subculture of marathoning in its salad days. Photos. Agent: Robert Wilson, Wilson Media. (Apr. 2)
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