Robin Harvie was a fairly ordinary runner. He ran his first marathon after a bet. Then he found that although he couldn't run fast, he could run long distances - very long. A casual hobby turned into a 120-miles-a-week obsession, and a training route along the River Thames morphed into a promise to himself that he would tackle the oldest and toughest footrace on earth: the Spartathlon from Athens to Sparta. This race, a recreation of Pheidippides's legendary journey, is 150 miles long, crosses two mountain ranges, and is the toughest race on the ultradistance runner's calendar. It isn't at all ordinary.
Harvie's experience - from the mundanity of daily training routes to the extreme tests of the desert's scorching heat and the darkest hours of the night - reveals the profoundly intoxicating experience of running, and the ways in which every mile taken is both a step further into the unknown and a pace deeper into the self.
2011, hardcover, 288 pages.
"Every runner has a story, and Robin Harvie's is one of the most remarkable I've ever encountered. [The Lure of Long Distances] is brilliantly written, deeply emotional, raw and honest. Robin scrapes away the superficial dermis and offers a rare glimpse into the mindset and motivation of a long-distance runner." -- Dean Karnazes, ultramarathoner and New York Times bestselling author
"An intensely personal journey, woven with philosophy, history, and pain. Robin Harvie's debut is by turns compulsive, challenging, and ultimately rewarding." -- Philip Hoare
"An astonishing memoir. It will make all who are drawn to running feel stirrings of true excitement." -- Joyce Carol Oates
"Where the book truly excels is in its depiction of Harvie's internal landscape. He largely shuns training tips and inspirational advice in favor of a true memoirist's tone, exploring the reasons why he runs - grief, ambition, boredom - with an almost brutal honesty. These passages are as moving as they are illuminating... This is a memoir for anyone who has ever dreamed about reaching the outer limits of what they're capable of." -- Independent, April 17, 2011
"A paean to the transformative effect of pushing your body way beyond your imagined limits... There is much to enjoy in this erudite, literary memoir." -- Guardian, April 17, 2011
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