Have you run Boston? Do you want to? Or perhaps you’re in my shoes: you don’t think it’s really within reach, but you recognize it as an amazing accomplishment for those who make it. And if you could … you totally would.
Well, Long Road to Boston: The Pursuit of the World’s Most Coveted Marathon is a book that might change your expectations. The author, a Canadian runner with a successful career as a journalist, was a self-proclaimed skinny kid that grew up to achieve body goal: “dad bod” at a relatively young age. Then, he started running, and like many adults who never thought they could, surprised himself by being able to finish a 5k and then a 10k. And then he reached for more.
You could not find a more Canadian book about running. The writing style is understated and direct, even when he’s describing the emotion felt in the moments after earning his BQ. The sections about his races and running experiences reads like the stream of consciousness of any runner; he takes those fleeting touches of genius and explores them in a way that almost makes you swear he’s inside your head. And the book makes references to another book about a Canadian runner, the inspiring Terry Fox. (Read that book, too.)
In addition to the chapters where he describes his personal route to Hopkinton, Sutcliffe mixes in some interesting history of the marathon distance, the Boston Marathon, and running in general. He includes the highlights of women’s arrival to the sport and gives credit where it’s deserved to leaders who changed the sport and those making up the “masses.” There’s also a though-provoking section on the Boston Marathon bombing which proves that it will forevermore give runners more reason to run.
Sutcliffe’s book is perfect for the winter training months: finish your long run, give your kids something to distract them, and settle down with a mug of hot chocolate. His words breathe life into the phrase “it’s possible;” if you’ve been thinking of making a serious push to earn a BQ, this book has the inspiration to help you do it.