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4.2 out of 5 stars
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 7 April 2012
With my first marathon coming up in 2 weeks time (the London Marathon 2012) I had this book on pre-order when I saw it was coming out, hoping it would bring me inspiration!

I've just finished reading it today and I think it is a great read for all marathon runners and aspiring marathon runners! I really enjoyed reading about the ups and downs of Phil Hewitt's 23 marathons around the world. He talks frankly about his awful marathons and inspirationally about his great ones. He really gives an insight into what can be experienced over 26.2 miles and before and after a marathon. There are some photographs on the inside front and back covers (8 in total) and I would have liked to have seen more, but it's not a big issue. He has been to a number of big city marathons but he's also done more unusual and smaller marathons which are really interesting to read about.

It's an easy and enjoyable read that I'm sure would appeal to all runners. If you're not already signed up to run a marathon then this book will make you want to, even after reading about Phil's worst experiences! Highly recommended!
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on 13 January 2013
This was such a well written, page turner of a book that it is an essential read for experienced and would be marathon runners alike. I have run 50 marathons and ultra marathons, home and abroad and the author captures the absolute essence of why we do it again and again. I have read as many running related books and this one is right up there for me. Phil brilliantly captures all the high's and low's, effortlessly weaving real life and all it's distraction's into the training and the race's.
Running a marathon is the end product of months of training, which often impacts negatively on family life and which takes a great deal of commitment. One of the reviewers above complained that the author mentioned his wife too much. I totally identified with Phil and why he did so. For those of us like him with a family, we need their help, support and to be honest, permission to race after race, to leave the house to go on training run's at all hours and to go abroad mostly without them to run around 26 plus miles of foreign ground. I so very much identified with everything that he went through, which was all down to just how well he links together all of the elements of what goes into marathon running.
This is much more than just a book about running although it's primary purpose of course is to share Phil's running experiences. The rather harsh review above just does not relate in anyway, shape of form to my reading of this book. It is so far off the mark, that even in objective term's I find it very difficult to connect it to this book. There is an effortless flow throughout, with the difficult times being as compelling as the good times. Any runner knows that there are days and races when we are on fire and days when we are not. The down days and run's are inevitable. It's how we deal with those, get back up and carry on that matter. I loved and totally identified with the roller coaster of races Phil went through and found it very inspiring to read all about the races, some of which we would have run at the same time although I have never met the author. I also identified with all his doubts, at times his lack of belief in his own ability and the high's when his goals are met.
Phil also weaves in interesting sub stories and his father in law in particular seems to be an amazing character who should write his own book. He builds up the tension with each race. The final chapters with all the details of his self doubt are compelling and had me racing through them to see what happens (I shan't give the story away!).
This isn't a text book on how to run a marathon. It doesn't try to get too geeky and provide step by step expert analysis on every type of training run you should do, the speed you should run, diet etc. If you want that, buy Runners World. What it does is give the reader a fantastic and inspiring insight into everything that goes into marathon training and running from lot's of different perspective's.
Perhaps the best compliment I can give to the author is this. I am a very experienced runner. I have run the races I mentioned above. I have run two hundred plus mile races in one go. In 2012, I ran every single day covering 2500 miles in the process and I am a coach my running club. Despite all of that, the book completely inspired me and having never written a review about a book in my life, it was good enough for me to write this. Given the number and extensive range of books I have read, that say's it all really.
This will appeal to novice and experienced runners alike. Don't hesitate. Buy it now.
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on 13 March 2013
I myself am a long-distance runner for my sins, and I'll gladly order away on any book with decent reviews on amazon, without really worrying about the content of the reviews.

This book started so promisingly, with the writer getting in to running from a non-sport background, developing and learning about his training, and working towards a race day. The quote 'split open a runner and you will find a solid core of stubbornness' was superb.

Sadly though, after he's prostituted his results, times and relative positions a few times, you rapidly tire of the format of the book.

The second half is more deserved to an online blog which no one will read - His performances are mixed, his preparation mixed, and his self congratulation while listing people he finished ahead of, along with quite anal percentages is quite frankly dull. He isn't setting the world on fire, and it's just quite boring really.
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on 9 May 2012
If you'll excuse the pun, I "raced" through this book, I enjoyed it so much. I think the title truly sums it up - you feel the ecstasy of the author's highs and the pain and misery of his lows.

I particularly enjoyed the build up to each marathon, getting an understanding of the commitment that's required. It was also interesting to read how the runners aim for that all-important PB. And I didn't realise that the beginning of each marathon could be quite so messy!

Although more of an armchair athlete myself, it has encouraged me to look into taking up running. A recommended read.
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on 30 May 2013
To use a marathon running metaphor, it starts at a cracking speed with the first few chapters breezing by. It settles into a steady pace half way through with enough to keep you interested but hits the wall several chapters before the end. Once you get past the first dozen marathons, it is difficult to keep the enthusiasm going.
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on 29 January 2013
After entering the London Marathon 2013 I was looking for a book that would give me some insight into a marathon runners life - after all they balance work,children, social lives and STILL manage to run a silly amount of miles!

This book gives you everything - the highs and the lows of marathon running. The tips and advice that is contained in it's pages are beyond priceless as it's all bundled into a great humorous read that will have you turning pages faster than you know!

I can honestly say that reading this book gave me everything I was looking for and more! The build up to each marathon and the race's themselves are given in good detail (but not too much!) which rapidly gives you that desire to grab your trainers and get out the door for a run.

Well recommended to anyone - even non-runners who just want a great read!
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on 6 April 2012
This book is brilliant. I have never reviewed anything on Amazon before but felt this book was worth it. It will make you want to enter a marathon today. If you have one on the horizon, as I do (VLM 2012), then it will raise your excitement levels sky high.
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on 24 December 2013
Where to start? This was one of the most unintentially hilarious books I think I have ever read.Each marathon is replayed stride by stride in almost anal detail.This guy is truely the alan partridge of marathon running,no detail is too small to not be included on the page, he really could bore for Britain.
He whinges a hell of a lot to, and seems to blame everyone and everything if he runs badly. Amsterdam (hated it,rained,hardly saw any canals ).Berlin (had a cold, scenery uninspiring ).The comic masterpiece is the Rome marathon were he runs badly (again), this time partly, according to him, because of the smog and the crappy organisation.During this race he also has to cope with,and I quote, "one of the most shameful incidents ever recorded on a marathon course anywhere in the whole history of the world", this is were he crashes into a nun who had foolishly walked into his path and then calls her a "******* stupid cow" as she cowers in his wake.Absolutely priceless. I gave it an extra star for this passage alone.
It is worth 99p of anybodies money to read this hilarious ego driven road trip.His own sense of self importance is truely mind blowing.You ran a few races pal, not rewrote the geneva convention.
I feel very,very sorry for his wife.
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on 12 February 2015
It's good. He hits on all of the thoughts that go through your head, all the bargains you make with yourself and all the half-cocked calculations you make as you readjust your expectations in the light of better/worse-than-expected performance.

The only thing I'd really like to comment on, however is this: the way he trains and his thoughts about "junk miles". Modern sports science suggests it's all wrong. Towards the end of the book, after he gets his Garmin 305, he talks for the first time in detail about the amount he trains and the effort he expends. I think he, and any runner thinking of doing a marathon for the first time, should have a read of a book such as Matt Fitzgerald's "80/20 Running: Run Stronger and Race Faster By Training Slower". Sure, he's run more than 20 marathons, so he must be doing *something* right, but I reckon he'd have done better to alternate slower runs with quicker ones.
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on 16 April 2013
I did a quick selective reading of this book before I passed it on to a friend doing the London Marathon this year. I thought the three chapters on the London Marathon would be a help to him in preparation and knowing what to expect. He still has it and will give me feedback in due course. Overall I found the content to be a bit mixed. Having run 8 marathons I thought some of the content a bit weak. However,quite a good read and with humourous touches. In the absence of an experienced running mentor the book would be a help.
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