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)
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*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