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A Race Like No Other: 26.2 Miles Through the Streets of New York Hardcover – October 7, 2008


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; 1 edition (October 7, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061373133
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061373138
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.8 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,081,955 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

New York Times sportswriter Robbins captures the world's ultimate marathon, the New York City race. Set during the 2007 marathon, the narrative follows several runners: male and female professional runners with more at stake than prize money (a recovering alcoholic trying to mend her family; a cancer survivor running his first marathon; a 67-year-old grandmother on her 12th New York marathon) as they make their way through the city's five boroughs. Robbins's journalist's eye is thorough as she intersperses stories of wheelchair athletes, volunteers, spectators and even the city workers who paint the course markers. Those who've read Fred Lebow's Inside the World of Big-Time Marathoning or Ron Rubin's book on the New York City marathon, Anything for a T-shirt, will appreciate the varied voices here. Using each mile to structure the 26.2 chapters, Robbins allows readers to experience the event without ever putting on a pair of running shoes. (Oct. 7)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Robbins, who covers sports for the New York Times, offers a vivid, winning portrait of the New York City Marathon, now the largest in the world with nearly 40,000 participants. “It’s like a Cecil B. DeMille movie because it’s on such a huge, epic scale,” said one former winner. Taking the 2007 race mile by mile, Robbins profiles each of the principal elite runners, including their training regimens and personal stories; describes each mile’s particular features; limns a large cast of supporting characters, from an aid-station volunteer to a gospel choir that performs inspirational music for the marathoners on the eighth mile; and gives a good overview of how the event is organized. Along the way, Robbins conveys an intimate sense of the physical demands the race places on the body, all the while building suspense—though we know the winners—that’s the equal of a good action movie. A quality piece of journalism from start to finish. --Alan Moores

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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See all 26 customer reviews
I would recommend this book to anyone, runner and non-runner alike.
Thomas Howard
I started to read the book just before I flew to NY for Christmas and didn't want to put it down.
Kathleen F. Watanabe
Liz Robbins writes for the New York Times, which is a paper that is known for great writers.
R. Inaba

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Tucker Andersen VINE VOICE on October 11, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I loved this book! Liz Robbins' narrative chronicles the 2007 NYC Marathon with fact and anecdote filled chapters for each mile as the runners travel through all five boroughs of NYC and over the finish line; she does indeed manages to transport you inside the race and capture the sprit of the event that makes it A RACE LIKE NO OTHER. Perhaps it will even inspire some of the many readers that this book deserves who believe that the challenge of completing a marathon is too daunting to change minds and undertake the training required to attempt running one. It certainly will delight those who have participated and inform the millions who as spectators have cheered on the runners along the course or watched it on television in their living rooms.

Before I proceed further with my enthusiastic review, I do need to offer a disclaimer. At the suggestion of the race organizers, I was one of the myriad of individuals who the author interviewed during her extensive research for this book. I am an individual who had no exhibited no previous athletic aptitude before starting to exercise after passing my thirtieth birthday during the 1970's. But my current reputation as a 65 year old streaker intrigued her, and she chronicles part of my journey as I complete this event for the 32nd consecutive year. Thus, my story is one of the many of those of us who revel in our chance to become athletes for a day.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Howard on November 12, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I just returned home from running the NY Marathon. I am so glad that I read this book just before running. It is outstanding. I saw several of the various characters in the book, especially the accordian player in Queens, and felt like I knew him.

I would recommend this book to anyone, runner and non-runner alike. Hugely readable and very informative.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J. A. R. Ncp on August 15, 2010
Format: Paperback
I run marathons, along with those in my running club. Of all the books on what happens behind the efforts and determination of the individual runner, this book is so detailed in how a marathon on the magnitude of the the NYC marathon is done, I find it amazing that the author was able to succeed in her script with such success. I now know why it is so difficult to win a lottery position in the NYC - there are only 8,000 positions available for USA citizens (excluding those that are obtained via raising charity funds). If you run any marathons, or are a runner interested in the details of a marathon - this is the book. Along with the details of how the marathon is organized, the author took one race and went behind the scenes of the lives of not only the top runners but the average person: why they are runners, why they wanted to run the NYC. Such a good book, I have read it twice.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jill on September 13, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This book is a must have for the person running the NYCM for the first time. Details on the races beginniing, the brdiges history, the people behind the scenes, and much much more. Reading the book helps to invision your marathon day! The sites, the sounds, and the embrace of diversity.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jason A. Miller VINE VOICE on October 15, 2009
Format: Paperback
I'm never going to run the NYC Marathon, or any other flatter, "easier" marathons, for that matter. Every time I run around the Central Park Reservoir I'm routinely lapped by training groups from the New York Road Runners. However, I've always had tremendous respect for those who have what it takes to complete a marathon (or twelve). Although it may not pass muster for those who compete, "A Race Like No Other", Liz Robbins' start-to-finish examination of the 2007 NYC Marathon. held my interest & taught me a lot that I didn't know.

Robbins' book makes the argument that the NYC Marathon is the gold standard of the competitive running circuit. Due to its uneven terrain and sharp turns, world records are never going to be set here. However, by pacing her book mile by mile -- there are 26 chapters -- she has the opportunity to showcase not only the main story of the race (who wins the men's & women's titles) but also the disparate New York City neighborhoods in all five boroughs, as well as the supporting personalities that makes the marathon tick. That includes not only the "name" runners, but also the driven amateurs with their own stories to tell, the celebrities who run, the support personnel, and the natives who cheer (and perform music) from the sidelines. New York in all its diverse, multi-ethnic glory, and corresponding insularity, is on full display.

Again, as a non-expert I'm in no position to tell if Robbins' made any silly mistakes or forgot to balance out a story. However, as a native New Yorker who likes to run (badly), I found this book quite inspirational.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By R. Inaba on December 17, 2008
Format: Hardcover
If you like running and human interest stories, you will enjoy this book. Very good writing and subject matter about the 2007 New York Marathon with every chapter representing a mile in the race. Liz Robbins writes for the New York Times, which is a paper that is known for great writers. The book details every mile of the run plus interesting and heart felt stories about the organizers, the professional runners and the everyday runners doing it for their own reasons. Definitely a book you will enjoy.
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