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117 years Strong…and Counting!This all-new edition, which follows the Boston Marathon into the 21st century and through the tragedy of the 2013 race, is a colorful and moving portrait of what it feels like to run the world's oldest annual marathon, escorting the reader through the past, present, and bright future of the race.26.2 Miles to Boston is a rich, vibrant, and inspiring history of the Boston Marathon and of the men and women of varying abilities whose struggles and triumphs have colored this historic ...
117 years Strong…and Counting!This all-new edition, which follows the Boston Marathon into the 21st century and through the tragedy of the 2013 race, is a colorful and moving portrait of what it feels like to run the world's oldest annual marathon, escorting the reader through the past, present, and bright future of the race.26.2 Miles to Boston is a rich, vibrant, and inspiring history of the Boston Marathon and of the men and women of varying abilities whose struggles and triumphs have colored this historic event for over a century. From suburban Hopkinton, Massachusetts, to the center of metropolitan Boston, the author takes readers through the mile-by-mile sights, sounds, and traditions that make the race what it is.
"A unique look at the event and what it means to the runners." - Boston Athletic Associaton
"26 Miles to Boston is a winner." Bill Rodgers, four-time Boston Marathon winner
"26 Miles to Boston puts you in the race. Mile after mile, my imagery and heart rate moved alonog the Boston Marathon course as I were actually back on it." - Jean Driscoll, eight-time women's wheelchair champion
"The Boston Marathon is the story of America: Pride determination and sacrifice. After running 26.2 miles you see life and yourself differently. You feel part of American history. Michael Connelly captures that spirit." Ray Flynn, former Boston Mayor and Ambassador to the Holy See
Praise for the previous edition:
"26 Miles to Boston puts you in the race. Mile after mile, my imagery and heart rate moved along the Boston Marathon course as I were actually back on it." - Jean Driscoll, eight-time women's wheelchair champion
Posted April 16, 2014
5 of 5 stars (outstanding)
The Boston Marathon is considered THE premier event that runners of all abilities set as a goal – if he or she can complete Boston, then that is one of the top achievements one can complete. There is a lot of interesting history along the course of this road race, and this race is chronicled in a terrific book by Michael Connelly.
However, there is an interesting twist to this book in that Connelly does not give a chronological history of the race. Instead, he follows the course from Hopkinton to Boston, with each chapter covering one mile of the course. The last two chapters cover the last 385 yards of the race (the extra distance added to a marathon race) but in two different ways. One of the chapters tells of the stories of exhaustion, exhilaration and agony that runners have once they view the finish line. The other chapter on this portion is about the 2013 bombing and the stories that runners, spectators, responders and race officials have about those terrifying minutes.
In each chapter, he describes the terrain, turns and atmosphere of the mile. The reader feels the agony of climbing Heartbreak Hill on Mile 20, the ear-splitting screams of encouragement from the women of Wellesley College on Mile 12 and the drop-off of 165 feet as the runners move onto the town of Ashland in Mile 2. By describing these and other unique features of the course, the reader feels like he or she is traveling along the course and can imagine how the runners must feel while traversing that mile.
Of course, the book wouldn’t be complete without stories about the runners themselves, and there are plenty that are interspersed in each chapter along with the course description. These stories cover the entire 117 years of the event and include some of the best-known runners from Boston Marathon lore. There is seven-time champion Clarence Demar, whose story of running is told in Mile 2. John “The Elder” Kelley, one of the more popular runners to ever run the event, has a very good story of trying to bait another runner when battling for the lead in Mile 6.
The thrilling finish in 1982 between Alberto Salazar and Dick Beardsley is also replayed in Mile 6. Not every story told necessarily takes place at that point on the course, but they all are woven together in the chapters seamlessly. Readers will be able to still follow the course, but will at the same time have their emotions tested as the stories are mixtures of joy, heartbreak, sadness and redemption.
In short, everything that makes a runner want to get out and put one foot in front of the other is captured in this book and it makes for a terrific read for runners, spectators or anyone who just is interested in this annual event.
Did I skim?
Pace of the book:
Very good. The format aided in making this a faster read, although it wasn’t too fast with the insertion of personal stories in the middle of the description of the terrain and makeup of the particular mile.
Do I recommend?
Yes. Whether the reader is a runner, is interested in the history of the Boston Marathon or enjoys personal stories of triumph, this book will be a fine choice.
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