The Lure of Long Distances: Why We Run

( 2 )

Overview


Robin Harvie was a fairly ordinary runner. He ran his first marathon after a bet. Then he found that although he couldn’t run fast, he could run long distances—very long. A casual hobby turned into a 120-miles-a-week obsession, and a training route along the River Thames morphed into a promise to himself that he would tackle the oldest and toughest footrace on earth: the Spartathlon from Athens to Sparta. This race, a recreation of Pheidippides’s legendary journey, is 150 miles long, crosses two mountain ranges,...
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Overview


Robin Harvie was a fairly ordinary runner. He ran his first marathon after a bet. Then he found that although he couldn’t run fast, he could run long distances—very long. A casual hobby turned into a 120-miles-a-week obsession, and a training route along the River Thames morphed into a promise to himself that he would tackle the oldest and toughest footrace on earth: the Spartathlon from Athens to Sparta. This race, a recreation of Pheidippides’s legendary journey, is 150 miles long, crosses two mountain ranges, and is the toughest race on the ultradistance runner’s calendar. It isn’t at all ordinary.

Harvie’s experience—from the mundanity of daily training routes to the extreme tests of the desert’s scorching heat and the darkest hours of the night—reveals the profoundly intoxicating experience of running, and the ways in which every mile taken is both a step further into the unknown and a pace deeper into the self.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Dean Karnazes, ultramarathoner and New York Times bestselling author
“Every runner has a story, and Robin Harvie’s is one of the most remarkable I’ve ever encountered. [The Lure of Long Distances] is brilliantly written, deeply emotional, raw and honest. Robin scrapes away the superficial dermis and offers a rare glimpse into the mindset and motivation of a long-distance runner.”

Joyce Carol Oates
“An astonishing memoir. It will make all who are drawn to running feel stirrings of true excitement.”

Philip Hoare
“An intensely personal journey, woven with philosophy, history, and pain. Robin Harvie’s debut is by turns compulsive, challenging, and ultimately rewarding.”

Guardian (UK), April 17, 2011
“A paean to the transformative effect of pushing your body way beyond your imagined limits…. There is much to enjoy in this erudite, literary memoir.”

Independent (UK)
, April 17, 2011
“Where the book truly excels is in its depiction of Harvie’s internal landscape. He largely shuns training tips and inspirational advice in favor of a true memoirist’s tone, exploring the reasons why he runs – grief, ambition, boredom – with an almost brutal honesty. These passages are as moving as they are illuminating…. This is a memoir for anyone who has ever dreamed about reaching the outer limits of what they're capable of.”

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781610390200
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs
  • Publication date: 4/26/2011
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 1,372,101
  • Product dimensions: 8.38 (w) x 5.68 (h) x 0.35 (d)

Meet the Author

Robin Harvie ran his first marathon in 2000 after a bet. When he realized he couldn’t run 26.2 miles in under 3 hours 12 minutes, despite years of trying, he decided instead to see how far he could run before keeling over. In preparation for the toughest and oldest footrace on earth he ran 6,000 miles in one year, including the Round Rotherham 50 mile ultra, the Sri Chinmoy Transcendental 100 kilometer ultra marathon, in which he came fourth, and the 72 mile Bob Graham Round in the Lake District. He lives in London.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2013

    Wouldn't choose to read again.

    While reading this book I kept trying to figure out what point the author was trying convey. He spends conciderable time discussing: Inner turmoils of his life and family, his search to understand why he runs and how to convey that to others (unsuccessful), restating philosophical concepts of others he had read, and finally in the last chapter he concludes by letting the reader know that he failed to run even half of the 153 mile race that had been his goal for the entire book.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 14, 2012

    An interesting read, but a bit long-winded at times

    I am an addicted runner who devours almost every book I can find on running. Many of the I have read are technical in nature, while others are more about the philosophy of running. This book combines a bit of both, leaning more heavily on the mindset of the distance runner. I found myself agreeing with the author on a number of occasions and underlining certain passages that touched me. There is something about running long distances that only those who do it can understand, and the author captures that emotion in a number of places.

    On the other hand, I found myself skimming through quite a few pages as the author waxed on poetically or became mired in tangential story-telling or history, while looking for the next paragraph that would link me back into his main narrative. In my opinion there are too many of these side passages and meandering thoughts to keep the reader consistently engaged.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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