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September 10 , 2009

Twenty-Four Years to Boston: My Journey from the Vegetable Aisle to Boylston Street


My memoir, Twenty-Four Years to Boston-My Journey From The Vegetable Aisle To Boylston Street, began as a series of scribblings I kept while training for my second marathon-twenty years after my first. When I reviewed my notes years later I realized that distance running had been the one constant in my life-from an underachieving childhood when I was placed in the Vegetable Aisle (a row of classroom desks occupied by students considered to be in a vegetative state) to the Boston Marathon finish line on Boylston Street. Inadvertently, I discovered that running had helped me overcome my insecurities and succeed in life.

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The core of the story begins with an epiphany to train for the 2001 Philadelphia Marathon. After reaching that goal, I had a brainstorm to qualify for the Boston Marathon to celebrate fiftieth year. Three major marathons-2001 Philadelphia, 2004 Steamtown and the 2005 Boston Marathon-weave together a hectic life as the father of four, stressed-out manager seemingly always on business travel, and busy youth-league coach, sprinkled with healthy doses of Guinness and pale ales. Distilled to its core, I find the marathon a metaphor for life.

Running transcends physical conditioning and teaches lessons about how to live and how to appreciate the important things-health, family, friends, and the world around us. My journey began along the trails in Philadelphia, and the narrative germinated into a story on trails across the country where I found that running is a universal language, and that all runners share an irrepressible passion for life.

Kevin McGuire, Managing Editor of American Fitness Magazine, writes, "Twenty-Four Years to Boston is perfect for those who have a passion for a great run as well as those who just love a terrific story about the journey, struggles and triumph of reaching your goals."

Wayne Fish, sports columnist for Philadelphia suburban newspapers, writes, "It's an everyman's tale of a kid from Philly who stumbled across running while training for high school football and ended up, a quarter-century later, qualifying for and competing in the Boston Marathon. He concludes that setting goals, and attaining them, are universal for all like-minded athletes."

Most running books on the market are written by elite athletes, coaches or trainers and are laden with technical data, statistics and training programs. My story is about a blue-collar runner who approaches distance running differently-as a primal instinct that begins innocently and naturally after letting go of the coffee table as toddlers. The story embraces recreational runners and novices who make up the majority of the estimated 35 million runners worldwide. Anyone on the sideline who ever considered lacing-up a pair running shoes or just wonder why marathoners do what they do will find there is nothing intimidating about putting one foot in front of the other at a slightly faster pace.

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