Friday, April 08, 2016

Book selection for March - The Two Hour Marathon

I finished my book selection for the month of March!

The Two Hour Marathon by Ed Caesar


I really enjoyed this book for several reasons. The first reason is that it was more towards non-fiction style writing. I’ve always enjoyed more fact based writing than fictional and that has gotten truer over the last several years.

This book really blended the facts well with an engaging story telling style.

The writer discussed the beginnings of the marathon and how the distance was actually pretty common in “foot races” in modern times (pre-Olympics). He described how horribly organized the original Olympic marathon events really were and how it was almost discontinued. But like the Iron Man, it all came down to drama to catch the public’s eye.

I also didn’t know how money featured in these early races and how it has shaped the sport. Honestly, I have always thought that LACK of money was the main problem. This idea of mine was supported by a Youtube documentary I can no longer find to link too...and the knowledge that unless you’re an upper tier elite runner, you likely have to hold down a job in addition to whatever sponsorships you might get.

Ed Ceasar discussed how many of the really great runners have all come from a specific tribe in East Africa and delved into the various reasons on WHY this seems to be happening. Is it due to altitude? Is it due to the economic opportunity that a runner can gain by winning races?

He followed the highlights from the careers of several elite runners and mused on what aided their success and what contributed to their failures (if they had them). He was frank in his discussion regarding the recent doping scandals that have been hitting the Kenyan and Ethiopian running community.

Overall I really enjoyed this book and found it really engaging and informative with the right balance between facts, observation and the relationships the writer developed with the runners featured in the book.

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