The Long Run: A Memoir of Loss and Life in Motion (Hardcover)
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An unlikely marathoner finds her way through grief and into the untold history of women and running.
Thirty-year-old Catriona Menzies-Pike defined herself in many ways: voracious reader, pub crawler, feminist, backpacker, and, since her parents' deaths a decade earlier, orphan. "Runner" was nowhere near the list. Yet when she began training for a half marathon on a whim, she found herself an instant convert. Soon she realized that running, "a pace suited to the precarious labor of memory," was helping her to grieve the loss of her parents in ways that she had been, for ten messy years, running away from.
As Catriona excavates her own past, she also grows curious about other women drawn to running. What she finds is a history of repression and denial—running was thought to endanger childbearing, and as late as 1967 the organizer of the Boston Marathon tried to drag a woman off the course, telling her to "get the hell out of my race"—but also of incredible courage and achievement. As she brings to life the stories of pioneering athletes and analyzes the figure of the woman runner in pop culture, literature, and myth, she comes to the heart of why she's running, and why any of us do.
About the Author
Catriona Menzies-Pike is the editor of the Sydney Review of Books. She has worked in digital media for a decade and her journalism and essays on feminism, literary culture, and politics have been widely published. She holds a PhD in English literature and has taught film, literature, journalism and cultural studies units to undergraduates since 2001. In 2008 she ran her first half-marathon, and five marathons and dozens of half marathons later, she's still running.
“Elegant and erudite….The most resonant parts of [Menzies-Pike's] narrative deal with her own personal loss, and how tightly it becomes interwoven with her experiences as a runner….Gorgeously written and extremely moving.” —The Atlantic
"Satisfies in every way." —Oprah.com
“Menzies-Pike’s engaging book braids together feminist and literary theory, cultural criticism, history, and a moving personal narrative…Important and fascinating.” —Publishers Weekly
"You don’t have to be a runner to appreciate The Long Run....Engrossing." —Bustle
"Honest, funny, and moving." —Kirkus Reviews
“This engaging memoir navigates the complexities, misconceptions, and the oppression of female runners in film, literature, and art throughout history. It will leave an impression on women and runners alike.” —Library Journal
"In The Long Run, Catriona Menzies-Pike illuminates one of running’s great contradictions: incredible restoration found through repeated breakdown. Drawing on her own journey from grieving daughter to confident racer, as well as the experiences of female pioneers who paved the way, The Long Run offers a convincing nudge for all of us to get out there and let the open roads work their magic."
—Becky Wade, professional marathoner and author of Run the World: My 3,500-Mile Journey Through Running Cultures Around the Globe
“Catriona Menzies-Pike’s narrative opens up the possibility that we can redefine our world through running. She seamlessly and brilliantly weaves history with her own life in a way that feels both personal and accessible, shedding a unique light on the sport and the women who have pursued it.”
—Alexi Pappas, creator of Tracktown, essayist, and Olympic athlete
"Running is about so much more than exercise: running is about freedom, healing, introspection and community. It is about using your soles to search your soul—and this wonderful book captures that feeling so well. Running through these pages with Catriona Menzies-Pike is as rejuvenating as a dash down the trail where your burdens can be, if not left behind, at least carried more easily. This is a book of rebirth, effort, courage, and caring—the qualities few runners expect but the lucky ones find." —Tom Foreman, author of My Year of Running Dangerously
“The Long Run weaves the rewards of a running life with the sport’s rich history. An educational, entertaining and soulful journey through the miles.”
—Deena Kastor, American Record holder and Olympic medalist, marathon