in the UK
Rachel Toor was a bookish egghead who ran only to catch a bus. How such an unlikely athlete became a runner of ultramarathons is the story of Personal Record, an exhilarating meditation on the making, and the minutiae, of a runners life. The food, the clothes, the races, the injuries, the watch (and Toor loves her watch) are all essential to the runner, as readers discover here, and discover why. A chronicle of Toors relationship with the sport of running, from her early incarnation as an Oreo-eating couch potato to her emergence as a hard-bodied marathoner, this book explores the sport of running, the community it brings into being, and the personal satisfaction of pursuing it to its limit. Alternating with Toors account of becoming a runner are the stories (meditations, examinations, celebrations) of how runners become a pack. An homage to running, a literary take on how an activity can turn into a passion, and how a passion can become a way of life, this book runs all the way from individual achievement--a personal record--to the world of friendship and belonging, the community that runners inevitably find.
University of Nebraska Press
Publisher and industry reviews
"Until I read Rachel Toor's marvelous book Personal Record, I never understood the great passion of long-distance runners. She takes you on a grand tour of the running life, which goes from hobby to one of the purest forms that fanaticism in sport can take--ultramarathons. As any great running book deserves, Rachel Toor's writing is swift, disciplined, sinewy, and indomitably strong. It is also hilarious. The story she tells is a marvel." Pat Conroy, author of My Losing Season and The Prince of Tides "In an unconventional, inspirational, and loving account of running, really well done and funny as heck, Rachel Toor shows how this simple activity is so powerful it sweeps us off our feet into friendships that endure. I'm a fan." Bill Rodgers, four-time winner of both the Boston Marathon and the New York City Marathon and owner of the Bill Rodgers Running Center "How do I love thee, running? Let Rachel Toor count the ways--over land, with her body, alongside horses, with her closest friends--the endless, wonderful ways." Kathrine Switzer, first woman to run the Boston Marathon and author of Marathon Woman "In this gem of a book, Rachel Toor shares her thoughts and emotions as she tiptoes, trots, and eventually races into the quirky world of running. Toor's journey is a personal adventure, intimate and sometimes confessional, and runners of all abilities will enjoy traveling along with her." Don Kardong, former Olympic marathoner and Runner's World senior writer
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