“Choosing To Run,” by Des Linden (Dutton)
Running a marathon is a remarkable achievement for any runner, no matter the skill level or pace. Preparing for running those 26.2 miles is also absolute torture for anyone who tries it.
Des Linden captures that sentiment perfectly in her memoir, “Choosing To Run,” as she chronicles the winding road that led to her winning the Boston Marathon in 2018 — the first American woman to do so in 33 years.
Linden starts her book describing an all-familiar place for anyone who’s completed or attempted a marathon: the dreaded 22-mile mark when many runners hit the “wall” of the race, where their training is tested by the exhaustion of running that many miles.
“My typical meticulous checklist was down to one item: survive,” she writes.
Her memoir alternates between vivid descriptions of running the famed point-to-point Boston Marathon route in 2018 and her upbringing as a runner. She offers a look at the grueling conditions that distance runners face as they prepare for such races, from injuries to unbearable weather conditions. Sprinkled throughout the book are passages from the songs that helped keep Linden going throughout her journey.
Along the way, she provides a fascinating look at the training and culture of professional running.
The challenges she meets along the way include when she was diagnosed with hypothyroidism, a potentially fatal condition that nearly derailed her distance running career.
For seasoned runners and beginners alike, Linden’s book offers plenty of inspiration about the power of endurance in the face of obstacles. For all readers, it grants a peek at what goes into building that endurance.
Andrew Demillo, The Associated Press