Sunday, September 28, 2008

Spaghetti every Friday by Bob Fletcher...

tells the amazing story of Bob Fletcher who at the fine young age of 50, decides (actually he decided a little earlier) to run 50 marathons in 50 weeks (revising it from his earlier plan of 50 marathons in a year). He traverses the United States like no other maniac before, in the process driving more than 36,000 miles, while ticking off each of his marathons. He also collects 1st, 2nd or 3rd place finishes in more than half of those marathons (for his age group), including one of 11 competitors.

Incredible athlete, that he is, Bob tells his story well, (although the book is not edited well, with typos and missing words in a few places) describing the mental troubles of this stupendous feat as well. He trains hard and describes it in some detail.

The most amazing feature of Bob's story is not the feat itself (it is superhuman, no doubt) but that all of this was accomplished in 1983!!! In an era of little or no internet access and manual form filling (writing to organizers for details of race. getting the form, sending the form, getting to the race..) Bob's feat stands out also because in one case, he had to convince the organizers to not abandon the race in a hurricane-hit town. Eventually the race (or atleast its replacement) had to be done on a track, where they ran what seems like endless laps, clockwise and then anti-clockwise to finish a marathon! This and other such anecdotes pepper the book. Must read.

Amazing heady stuff, if you are setting out out on a running feat yourself.
Hat tip to Bhasker for lending the book

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