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Life Is a Marathon

A Memoir of Love and Endurance
Narrated by: Jamie Renell
Length: 9 hrs and 13 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (10 ratings)

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Summary

An endurance athlete and coach reveals how the marathon transforms the lives of everyone who attempts it - and how it has helped his own family cope with serious adversity.

Step after step for 26.2 miles, hundreds of thousands of people run marathons. But why - what compels people past pain, lost toenails, 5:30 a.m. start times, "The Wall"? Sportswriter Matt Fitzgerald set out to run eight marathons in eight weeks across the country to answer that question. At each race, he meets an array of runners, from first-timers, to dad-daughter teams and spouses, to people who'd been running for decades, and asks them what keeps them running. But there is another deeply personal part to Matt's journey: his own relationship to the sport - and how it helped him overcome his own struggles and cope with his wife Nataki's severe bipolar disorder. 

A combination of Matt's own How Bad Do You Want It? and What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, Life Is a Marathon captures the magic of those 26.2 miles. At the end of the day - and at the end of the race - the pursuit of a marathon finish line is not unlike the pursuit of happiness. You will pick up the audiobook for a powerful personal story about what running does for the people for whom it does the most. You will put it down with a greater understanding of what it means to be alive in this world.

©2019 Matt Fitzgerald (P)2019 Hachette Audio

Critic reviews

"Matt Fitzgerald reveals how perseverance and authentic love (whether it be for a partner, a sport, or anything that's close to one's heart) can transform a life into one that's worth living. Life is a Marathon is nothing short of remarkable." (Dyane Harwood, author of Birth of a New Brain: Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder)

"Life is a Marathon is a powerful inspiration for the body, mind, and heart: after reading the book, I want to run longer, better understand myself as an athlete, and most importantly, love with more patience and generosity." (Mark Lukach, author of the international best seller My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward)

"I've long admired Matt as a writer. Life is a Marathon allowed me to get to know him as a person. Thoughtful runners will appreciate this honest and insightful book." (Scott Douglas, author of Running Is My Therapy, Advanced Marathoning, and several other running books)

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  • imuri pacheco
  • 01-04-19

Delightfully surprised

I’ve been reading books by Matt Fitzgerald, and this one didn’t fail to amaze me. As a mental health clinician and an endurance athlete, I really connected to this book. I really appreciate Matt’s vulnerability and honesty throughout his memoir. What a beautiful story and a beautiful devotion Matt has towards his running, his wife, and himself. Bravo.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Eli K.
  • 21-06-19

Manipulative, embellished, self obsessed

It is difficult to describe exactly what stands out so much about this book and why it seemed to irritate me so much.

Without spoiling any of the details, the author goes into alternating chapters between his past (how he became a runner again after years away from the sport, his relationship with his psychiatrically challenging wife) and present day and his quest to complete 8 marathons in 8 weeks.

While dramatically interesting, to me, he winds up coming off as callous and far more focused on himself and his wife, who is often troubled by psychotic breaks. He claims to be almost murdered by her seemingly every other chapter and goes into detail about defending himself from her by punching her in the face numerous times, choking her, and frequently having her committed.

If what he says about her actions are true, then he’s justified in defending himself. But the dramatic buildup these encounters seem to produce never elucidate some clarity in the authors mind about how to deal with her or even why he stays in such a reportedly toxic environment.

He makes a veiled attempt, somehow likening his marriage the love of the marathon and the pain you must endure to complete it, but this feels hollow. The truth is he really *does* seem to put his racing ahead of his marriage (“hikin’ bikin’ and jumpin’” as his wife tells him.) He comes off as cruel as he describes her in varying terms from beautiful to “like an inflatable raft” while gaining weight from her psych drugs.

I found his interactions with runners from different walks of life to be fascinating and the best part of the book.

I also found he was generally not a likeable role model as a runner either. Seemingly every race of note, he finds some challenge (an injury, going down the wrong path on the course, or generally realizing he was not going to meet his goal). In frustration, he tears off his bib and walks or taxis home on numerous occasions.

The result? Outside of running, the author comes off *at best* as a frequent victim of domestic abuse who has to run away or physically assault his wife, and at worst, kind of a crappy person who routinely ignores his wife’s ne

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • ninette davis
  • 08-07-19

Too long

It was not my favorite running book. Long life story with no real great ending. A little disappointed

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  • Heather Urwiller
  • 29-06-19

Second Fitzgerald book I listened too

This author is great. I really enjoyed this book. Got me through several run as I prepare for my first marathon.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-06-19

Must read for any marathoner

Matt is an amazing author and this is his best work to date. The amazing thing about his books and writing is that anything he does it top notch....whether he is writing about training, nutrition or story telling.

This book intertwines tales of his own personal journey of 8 marathons in 8 weeks, the people he meets and gut wrenching stories of the challenges faced in his marriage. More encouraging than the engaging running stories he tells are the blow by blow descriptions of how he stood by his wife’s side through her struggles and the amazing love and patience he showed through the trial.

This book has it all for a runner and is an absolute must read for anyone who has toed the line at a marathon...both those who finished and those who could not.

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  • Curtis Cramblett
  • 24-05-19

Heartwarming and Inspirational

Loved it all! Thanks for the funny and authentic story. I have recommended it a dozen times already!

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  • Soren G. Brockdorf
  • 04-04-19

WOW

Matt just keeps turning out one great book after another. I have read ever single book he has written except one, read them all.

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  • Stacey D. Sessions
  • 10-04-19

It's ok if you know Matt fitzgerald.

A story about some people. no great answers or running information. life is hard. marathon is hard. there you go.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • kevin miller
  • 21-04-19

the worst book I have ever heard.

absolutely horrible. of no value whatsoever. pass on this book. I don't have two more words.

0 of 6 people found this review helpful