An endurance athlete and coach reveals how the marathon transforms the lives of everyone who attempts it–and how it has helped his own family cope with serious adversity
Step after step for 26.2 miles, hundreds of thousands of people run marathons. But why–what compels people past pain, lost toenails, 5.30 am start times, The Wall? Sports writer Matt Fitzgerald sets out to run eight marathons in eight weeks across the country to answer that question. At each race, he meets an array of runners, from first timers to people who’d been running for decades, to dad-daughter teams and spouse teams, and asks what keeps them running and why they fell in love with the marathon. But there is another deeply personal part to Matt’s journey: his own relationship to the sport–and how it helped him overcome his own struggles and cope with his wife Nataki’s severe bipolar disorder.
A combination of Matt’s own How Bad Do You Want It? and What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, Life Is a Marathon unpacks the magic of those 26.2 miles. But the magic of marathon goes beyond the physical; to thoroughly answer the question “Why do people run marathons?” is to consider what makes us all tick. At the end of the day–and at the end of the race–the pursuit of a marathon finish line is nothing less than the pursuit of happiness. Readers will pick up the book for a powerful personal story about what running does for the people for whom it does the most. They will put it down with a greater understanding of what it means to be alive in this world.