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The Looniness of the Long Distance Runner: An Unfit Londoner's Attempt to Run the New York Marathon Paperback – January 1, 2008
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
"Taylor is a humor writer...and he puts his talent to prodigious use in documenting his odyssey-by-foot...Beginning with his first visit to the gym - not to run, but to use the shower when the hot water goes out in his building - I laughed out loud at sketches made funnier by the resonance of recognition...."
About the Author
Russell Taylor is the copy-writing arm of the partnership that produces the "Alex" cartoon strip in The Daily Telegraph, and is published annually by Prion. He likes his sport but until this challenge not quite enough to get him out of the pub and into a gym. He lives in Muswell Hill, north London. He was awarded an MBE in 2003 for services to journalism.
Top customer reviews
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Russell Taylor is, apparently a humor writer, and so this book is filled with humorous observations on running, training, races, and why exactly he is doing this. Some of it is actually quite funny and I honestly found myself chuckling out loud a couple of times. Unfortunately, when I wasn't chuckling I was reading and hoping that something interesting would be on the next page. Often enough there wasn't. As a runner I am drawn to books about running and about marathons so I figured this book would be a natural fit, but it was a struggle to get through this one. Taylor includes a section of his training diary and that section was the single least interesting part of the book. It just dragged on and on and on. Sort of like this review.
Then Taylor gets to the races. As a part of his training Taylor ran several races and his racecourse descriptions and his feelings during the race (he made some interesting decisions as to which ones to run) were fascinating and funny. Once again I started enjoying parts of the book. The marathon itself seemed a little skimpy in the description.
I just can't recommend "The Looniness of the Long Distance Runner" to anyone. There are far better books about one man's journey to race (try "To the Edge" by Kirk Johnson for a more interesting book about an ultramarathon), and unfortunately when the humor stops there isn't much here to hold my interest. Pass on this one.
What makes this book different is that it is written by a British author and it is refreshing to read about the sarcastic British humor about being a runner, for example : the long distance runner is always the first one discovered dead body ... I kept giggling and laughing throughout the whole book.
One problem - if you are an average american like me who masters the most between two to three thousands words, there are a lot of new words to be discovered in this book.