Higdon is a runner and well-known contributor to Runner's World magazine. He is also a founder of the Road Runners Clubs of America and the author of more than 30 books including Marathon: The Ultimate Training Guide, Hal Higdon's Smart Running and Run Fast: How to Beat Your Best Time -- Every Time. He is a competitive masters runner, coach and lecturer. In other words, he know quite a bit about running, racing and marathons.
NOTE: This is not a training book, it is a novel that chronicles the 72 hours leading up to Lake City Marathon, a fictional "megamarathon" like Chicago or New York City. Here is a product description:
Celebrity X (more famous than Oprah) departs Rome on a private jet bound for the Lake City Marathon. Race director Peter McDonald arrives at the Expo for an interview with TV reporter Christine Ferrara, new in town. Peter and Christine find love almost immediately, but when will she learn the dark secret that clouds his life?Let me preface my opinion of the book by saying that I love to read about running. Just love it. Do with that information what you will.
Thus begins the fascinating 72-hour countdown to the Lake City Marathon, a race beset by problems: Will Peter lose his sponsor and job? Will hot weather threaten the health of runners? Can he keep the identity of Celebrity X secret? And for Christine: Why is Naní the supermodel clinging to Peter’s side? The race up front pits fast Kenyans against twin brothers from Minnesota. Among the women, the sudden loss of the world record holder opens the door for a flirtry Irishwoman and an unheralded podiatrist, who has not raced since injuries cancelled her college career.
Back in the pack, Naní raises money for charity, a New York Times reporter chases Celebrity X, and once-married color commentators bicker their way through the telecast. Marathon, amazingly, is Hal Higdon’s first novel, told in the grand tradition of fact/fiction books by James Michener (Hawaii, The Source) and Arthur Hailey (Hotel, Airport). If you are a runner, veteran or newcomer, or someone who has a friend who runs, Marathon will provide details about the sport that you never knew.
I enjoyed this book. It was fairly long -- 400 pages -- but it was a quick read. I wanted to know what was going to happen next. I wanted to read what the elite runners were doing in the hours leading up to the race. I wanted to find out who Celebrity X was. I didn't care all that much about one of the story lines -- the potential romance between the race director (Peter MacDonald) and the reporter (Christine Ferrara) -- but it was fine. I also felt that Christine was written with a heavy hand and wasn't all that authentic. However, I was more interested in the running and race related story lines so her character, while a big part of the book, didn't bother me all that much.
What the book did do was make me want to run another marathon! We'll see if that happens . . .
You can order a copy of Marathon from Amazon for $19.95 or go to your local library or bookstore to pick up a copy.
I am giving away my copy of the book, which I mentioned is an advance reader's copy. If you would like to win a copy of the book, simply leave me a comment and let me know whether or not you've ever run a marathon before.
You can gain an extra chance to win by linking to this post from your blog (please leave another comment to let me know you did). That's all!
The giveaway will close on Tuesday, June 22, 2010 at 11:59pm EST. One winner will be chosen using random.org and posted on Wednesday.
Review/giveaway disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book for review. I was not compensated in any way and the opinions expressed are entirely my own.