An Accidental Athlete: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Middle Age

An Accidental Athlete: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Middle Age

by John "The Penguin" Bingham
An Accidental Athlete: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Middle Age

An Accidental Athlete: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Middle Age

by John "The Penguin" Bingham


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A funny thing happened on my way to middle age. I became an athlete. And not just any athlete, but a runner—all without taking a running step until I was 43 years old.

Known by fans as "The Penguin" for his back-of-the-pack speed, John Bingham is the unlikely hero of the modern running boom. In this warm, witty memoir, the best-selling author and columnist recalls his childhood dreams of athletic glory, sedentary years of unhealthy excess, and a life-changing transformation from couch potato to "adult-onset athlete."

Overweight, uninspired, and saddled with a pack-and-a-half-a-day smoking habit, Bingham found himself firmly wedged into a middle-age slump. Then two scary trips to the emergency room and a conversation with a happy piano tuner led him to discover running—and changed his life forever.

In turns inspiring, poignant, hilarious, and heartbreaking, An Accidental Athlete is the story of the unexpected joys of running—the pride of the finisher's medal, a bureau-busting t-shirt collection, intense back-of-the-pack strategizing. And one man's discovery that middle age was not the finish line after all, but only the beginning.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781934030738
Publisher: VeloPress
Publication date: 08/01/2011
Pages: 216
Sales rank: 1,130,745
Product dimensions: 4.90(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Since his column, The Penguin Chronicles, started in Runner's World magazine in 1996, John “The Penguin” Bingham has become one of the running community's most popular and recognized personalities. Now, as a featured columnist for Competitor Magazine, national spokesperson for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Team in Training and principal announcer at the Rock ‘N’ Roll Marathon series, his popularity continues to grow. Prior titles include The Courage to Start: A Guide to Running for Your Life; No Need for Speed: A Beginner's Guide to the Joy of Running; Marathoning for Mortals: A Regular Person's Guide to the Joy of Running or Walking a Full or Half Marathon; and Running for Mortals: A Commonsense Plan for Changing Your Life With Running.

Table of Contents


Section One: The Kid Picked Last
Chapter 1: Sandbox Nonnie
Chapter 2: Death by Dodgeball
Chapter 3: Bowled Over
Chapter 4: Smoke and PT

Section Two: The Adult Onset Athlete
Chapter 5: Release from Sedentary Confinement
Chapter 6: Hitting the Road
Chapter 7: Off to the Races
Chapter 8: Black Toenails and Chafing

Section Three: The Glory Years
Chapter 9: Collecting T-shirts
Chapter 10: Medals and Mettle
Chapter 11: The Need for Speed
Chapter 12: Looking for Adventure

Section Four: The Back Nine
Chapter 13: The Last Best Day
Chapter 14: The Comeback Kid
Chapter 15: When Less is More
Chapter 16 - One Day at a Time

Epilogue: Running Into Myself


Bingham lives and runs near Chicago, Illinois.


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