Writing a Memoir Requires the Endurance of a Marathoner

“Twenty miles of hope, and six miles of truth.” – The Marathoner’s Axiom

Rite2RunBuried somewhere within one of my previous ninety-eight posts, I claimed that writing a memoir about the marathon requires more stamina than actually running one. I can now say with one hundred percent certainty that publishing a memoir takes the stamina of completing an ultra-marathon. Runners will shake their head as if I am mad, while writers nod their head in agreement. Trust me, it is true.

I know because this week I signed a contract to publish my memoir, Twenty-four Years to Boston—My Journey From the Vegetable Aisle to Boylston Street. The idea for the book began in 2000 as a series of scribbling I kept while I trained for my second marathon, twenty years after I ran my first. When I finished the 2001 Philadelphia Marathon I swore I’d never run another, but learned that marathoners have short memories and went on to experience my most prolific years as a runner, which included the Boston Marathon.

Sketch - Running ManWhile writing my memoir I discovered that running was the one consistent thread that weaved through my life. I ran during my underachieving childhood and into my years as a blue-collar shipyard worker. Running was my refuge through eight years of night school earning a degree (the old-fashioned way, before the proliferation of online courses), and during a hectic career filled with non-stop business travel. I ran through thirty-five years with possibly the only woman on earth who would tolerate living with arguably the most unconventional nonconformist on the planet. I have run races with my four children, and today I chase two wildly entertaining grandchildren.

My life journey began in the Vegetable Aisle, a row of desks in elementary school where the teacher dumped students who she considered to be in a vegetative state. My teacher thought it was punishment, but I loved it because she never collected our homework, nor did she mark our tests. Most marathoners will recognize Boylston Street as the finish line to the Boston Marathon, the world’s most celebrated road race. I ran the Boston Marathon twenty-four years after my first. So there you have it, Twenty-four Years to Boston—My Journey From the Vegetable Aisle to Boylston Street.

A firm publication date has not yet been announced. Best case scenario is May 2013, but September is more realistic, just in time for marathon season. More information to come on Rite2Run as publication gets closer. Spread the word.Runner - Sketch


About Jim Brennan

Jim is a Philadelphia-based writer, author, poet and editor for the Schuylkill Valley Journal.
This entry was posted in 24 Years to Boston, Health, Marathon, Running, Writing and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Writing a Memoir Requires the Endurance of a Marathoner

  1. Pam says:

    Congratulations! I look forward to reading it.


  2. aaronwest says:

    Congrats on the book deal. I look forward to reading it. I’m also writing one, although a little more slowly and over a long period of time.


    • Jim Brennan says:

      Thanks, Aaron. My story began in 1981, so don’t worry about how long it takes to write. The important thing is to tell your story through to the end. I watched the Haute Route video you posted on your website. Very cool!


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