I first learned about Mark Sutcliffe's book back in May when I was on his talk show to speak about the Ottawa Marathon. He mentioned that he was publishing a book on his journey to Boston. Being on my own quest to Hopkinton, I made a mental note that this would be a must read for myself. Fast forward to October, I was invited to attend Mark's hometown book launch of the Long Road to Boston. Hosted at Ottawa City Hall, more than 200 people crowded into the Mayor's Board Room on October 24th to support the book. After being introduced by Mayor Jim Watson, Mark spoke passionately about his quest to Boston and pointed to the various people around the room who were a part of that journey.
I took the book home that night and began reading. Mark sets the stage by using the first few chapters to give a history of the marathon event and the Boston Marathon. While not all new information for me, I got chills with the reminder of how epic the forty-two-point-two event really is. From the first Olympic games, to K.V.Switzer and the 2013 attacks, there is a reason why the marathon holds so much importance to runners.
Mark tells his story of starting out as an "average" runner, who eventually Boston Qualifies and completes the race from Hopkinton to Boston (spoiler alert). While not always a runner, after getting started, running had became a huge part of his life. I couldn't believe how much of Mark's story I could relate to.
After his first marathon in 2004, Mark went on to complete more than twenty marathons, including the Boston Marathon course with Dean Karnazes. Like many of us, the task of Boston Qualifying seemed unthinkable for many years. I found myself smiling through many pages where Mark reflects on how crazy of an idea Boston Qualifying was, but ultimately found himself obsessed.
Equipped with spreadsheets, training plans, supportive running friends and family, Mark recalls the highs and lows of his journey. While the "journey" is why we run, the outcomes are not always pretty. Mark talks about marathon finishes within seconds of a BQ and the trials that inevitably crop up with marathon training. Regardless if you are chasing the unicorn or not, most can relate to the feeling of being oh-so-close-but-yet-so-far, vividly told by Mark.
The Long Road to Boston is story of why Boston means so much to runners and inspires readers to believe that nothing is impossible. I highly recommend this book for any runner, especially those acquainted in dreaming big and on a quest for self-improvement.
For those of you in Ottawa, Mark will be leading this week's Run Ottawa 6@6 (Wednesday, November 16)! Join myself and fellow Run Ottawa members at Bridgehead Roastery and Coffeehouse at 6:00 pm for a 6K run, followed by a couple of stories from the Long Road to Boston.
If you cannot make it to the run on time, feel free to join the talk portion around 6:30 pm. More information about the event can be found on Facebook.
Have you read the Long Road to Boston?