Friday, June 7, 2013

Book Review: "Marathon Man" By Bill Rodgers

The best book on running I have read in long time!

Until Last year I had never heard of Bill Rodgers.  I'm from Southern California,  I'm not a historian of the sport of running.  I'd probably ran 15 ultra's before I had ever heard of Scott Jurek 
(who's book I really enjoyed but not as much as this one)
I got to meet Bill Rodgers and here his story firsthand.  "I was overwhelmed by what a cool humble dude he was." 
The day after the Marathon last year I found myself aimlessly walking the streets of  Boston.  Somehow I had found my way to the Bill Rodgers Running Center (which sadly closed down last Oct after 35 years)
Their I got to see first hand Bills homemade GBTC "Greater Boston Track Club" shirt and his pair of  nikes that Steve Prefontaine had sent to him  Both of which Bill wore when he went from being a relatively unknown runner to being the course record holder at the Boston Marathon.
Which he would go on to win 4 times!
This year while at a Saucony party Before the 2013 Boston Marathon.  I randomly started talking to Charlie Rodgers Bill's brother(the dude on the right)  He had some great stories to share would later cheer me on from the sidelines during the race.  He told me that Bill had written an autobiography, whom  unfortunately couldn't make it that night.  I was still pretty oblivious to the whole Boston running scene and thought to myself  "I need to get that book when I get home".
At the Saucony Party my friend Sharon (VP of PR at Saucony) whisped me around the introducing me to a bunch top runners from back in the day? She was super excited and It was cool to meet all these people but I really had no clue who they were.
Just before leaving the event she handed me a copy of Bill's Book and it was autographed
"I Love you Sharon"
Not only did I score BIll's book I got a new favorite shirt, Just like the one Bill wore the first time Bill won the Boston Marathon.  Except mine wasn't dug out of the trash like Bill's was (that story is in the book)

Book Review:

The book is very fast read  Although it's 300 pages it feels more like a 10km than a marathon.  The chapters follow BIll through his first win at Boston flashing back to his childhood and to the training that got him there.  The reader really gets a sense of the history behind the Boston Marathon, it's past champions and the mindset of what it takes to win this the most historic of all marathons.  While reading the book names began to click and I realized I had met many of the people Bill talks about at the Saucony event a few weeks earlier.

Myself coming from an Ultrarunning perspective It made me laugh makes me laugh when Bill talks the daunting task of staying focused for 26 miles.  Distance wise I the marathon is kind of wimpy but that's coming from a guy who's best marathon was ran at a 6 min pace.   The difference between mine and Bills speed however? On my best day I can hold a sub 5 minute mile for 5km Bill did this the entire Boston Marathon.

Bill's personality really shines through in the book.  He is as genuine as they come the come and you can't help but root for him as he became the greatest Marathon runner the United states has ever known.  

I was amazed at how many mile he would run a week. avg 20 a day.  What could he have accomplished if he tried running longer distances? Could he have ran the 100km in under 6 hours or the 100 miler in under 11 hours?
It makes me wonder  if he had more rest like the elite marathoners of today do, would he have been faster or what  Ryan Hall trained the way Bill did would he break the 2 hour mark?

Instead of telling you about the book, why don't you go buy copy yourself?
I may be a horrible book reviewer but I did really enjoy the book. If you can't afford to buy a copy and live in the greater Los Angeles area sorry I don't have a free copy to give away
you can borrow mine if you want.

If you are training for your first marathon, have dreams of running or have already ran the Boston Marathon this is must read.

If you love running you will enjoy this book.

If you love rooting for the underdog you will enjoy this book.

Even if  your only experience running is away from the police this book will make those hours spent in jail seem like the best days of your life 

Other books on Running that I highly recommend:


  1. WOO! A new book to read! Thanks Pat!

  2. I love this book and thank you for have to share with us. Thank you share this great book. max international team

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