Memoir: Twenty-four Years to Boston – My Journey From the Vegetable Aisle to Boylston Street

“… old men are guilty if they forget what it was to be young.” – J. K. Rowling

I created Rite2Run two years ago to promote a memoir I wrote and planned to publish. What I’ve learned during the interim is that writing a book requires the endurance of a marathoner, and publishing one takes the drive and persistence of an ultra-marathoner.

Book Cover - BriteTwenty-four Years to Boston – My Journey From the Vegetable Aisle to Boylston Street will be published by St. Johann Press next month, September 2013. My memoir began as a series of notes and files I kept while training for my second marathon, twenty years after I ran my first.  I had planned to complete the book when I crossed the finish line at the 2001 Philadelphia Marathon, but kept on writing, and went on to do the best running of my life. I decided to try to qualify for the Boston Marathon at age fifty, and wrote the final chapter when I crossed the finish line on Boylston Street.

Twenty-four Years to Boston isn’t a typical running book. It is unlikely other running books on the market contain stories about shipyard welders, Harley-Davidsons, Guinness, snobbery, Irish Pubs in Philly, Boston and Washington, and blues bars in Austin. And there is more about my family and friends than there is about elite athletes and Olympic champions.

My story is about an aging, blue-collar father and grandfather who happens to be a runner. I swore after the 1981 Philadelphia Independence Marathon that I’d never run another, but when my kids went off college and moved on to begin a life of their own, I suddenly had more leisure time than I knew what to do with, so I ran.

It might be difficult to imagine an undisciplined marathoner, but trust me, I am one. The most discipline I exercised during the training program to qualify for Boston was to switch from Guinness to Yuengling Light and cut back to smoking cigars only on the weekend. And I’m not much for regiment either, so rather than run intervals and repeats, I ran fartleks and hills. I’m not saying that my way is right, but rather that it worked for me.

After I completed Boston I was no longer encumbered by time goals for races, and running became more fun. I still have that competitive drive in my gene pool, but now I satisfy it in different ways. I cycle often, recently ran my first triathlon, and am finishing my first novel. These days I am grateful that I can still lace em up and go for an hour run anytime I like.

If you’d like to read a different kind of running story, check out Twenty-four Years to Boston – My Journey From the Vegetable Aisle to Boylston Street, which will go on sale on, St. Johann Press website and selected book stores in September.Runner - Sketch


About Jim Brennan

Jim is a Philadelphia-based writer, author, poet and editor for the Schuylkill Valley Journal.
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8 Responses to Memoir: Twenty-four Years to Boston – My Journey From the Vegetable Aisle to Boylston Street

  1. LB says:

    Sounds like the kind of running book that I would like! Remind us when it goes on sale, ok?


  2. aaronwest says:

    I’m looking forward to reading it. Hopefully there’ll be a Kindle version.


    • Jim Brennan says:

      Aaron, initially only be hard copy will be available, but I discussed the eBook version with the publisher and he is open to the idea. This is my first book to be published, so I am learning as I go, one step at a time. I agree with you completely on the eBook version. We’ll get there. Thanks for writing. jim


  3. Huge congratulations to you! I can’t wait to read it!


  4. paigesato says:

    Congratulations on getting published!


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