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Marathon The Story of the Greatest Race on Earth Hardcover – Illustrated, 27 May 2004

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 244 pages
  • Publisher: Virgin Books (27 May 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1852271140
  • ISBN-13: 978-1852271145
  • Product Dimensions: 23.9 x 16 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,110,423 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Timothy Collings is the motor racing correspondent for the Daily Telegraph and Formula One reporter for Reuters news agency. His previous books include Eddie Jordan: The Biography (Virgin), The Piranha Club (Virgin), The New Villeneuve: The Life of Jacques Villeneuve (Bloomsbury), Damon Hill: My Championship Year (Little Brown) and Schumacher: The Life of the New Formula One Champion (Bloomsbury). A Scots-born Francophile who is now an Australian citizen, Stuart Sykes is a BBC-trained journalist. Now F1 consultant to the Australian and United States Grands Prix, he is also the author of two BBC Grand Prix books, a regular translator of motor racing titles and a freelance editor. He lives with his wife Claire on the Mornington Peninsual in Victoria, in Australia.

Customer Reviews

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Steven Ellis on 22 Oct. 2004
Format: Hardcover
I looked forward in anticipation of this book which I hoped would provide a definitive document to the history of the marathon. I was sadly disappointed. Equally I was disappointed with the authors' conclusion as to who is the greatest marathon runner of all time. Whilst there is little doubt that Emil Zatopek is indeed one of the finest DISTANCE runners of all time, it is open to question whether he is the greatest MARATHON runner of all time.
The book is littered with errors. Two examples leap to mind. Zatopek is named as "the best of Prague" - for "best" read "beast". The "Prague Spring" according to this book happened in 1988(!!!) as well as 1968 - depending on which chapter you are reading!
Delving further, it is claimed that on one occasion the World Best time was broken by 2/100ths of a second. All other sources I have read suggest this figure was in fact 2 seconds. In any event I would be very surprised if an event of this distance would be timed to 1/100th of a second. After all, even today, a marathon is timed to the second.
Whilst the early (and later) Olympic races are well documented, there is little mention of other pioneering events. The now defunct Polytechnic Harriers Marathon (Poly Marathon) which mirrored the route of the 1908 London Olympic route has little mention. This is surprising bearing in mind the Men's World Best time was broken on this course no fewer than 6 times between 1909-1965.
The treatment of women marathon runners fares little better. There is no mention of pioneering female athletes prior to Grete Waitz's epic 1978 New York Marathon win. What about the women who paved the way for her to be able to go and do this?
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Format: Hardcover
I have read many running books, I have run for years, and I know the history of my sport. This book is APPALLING.
It is written by a man who is a self-confessed F1 nut, and it shows. He knows nothing about distance running.
The book is so poorly researched it is almost a joke. He skims over some of the biggest races in marathon history - I would amost contest this is done on purpose due to his ignorance of the sport.
Luckily I borrowed this book and didn't buy it. I would urge anybody to buy Will Cockerell's brilliant '50 greatest marathon races', a book written by a man who knows what it is to run a marathon (properly) and is a distance running enthusiast also. It puts this flimsy 'story' to shame.
To conclude, don't buy this book. IT IS RUBBISH.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful By john white on 6 Dec. 2004
Format: Hardcover
This is a book that has taken a bold step and succeeded, blending smart writing, excellent research work and a novel structure with a subject that is routinely delivered as if read normally only by muddy runners in anoraks. This book opens the marathon up to the world as a whole, mixes reportage of the mass runs with a narrative of the Olympic event and sparkles with details and humour. It is not for the narrow-minded running or athletics fan, but for the general sports reader and I found it amusing and stimulating, as well as informative
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