4:30 or Bust: A Quest for Marathon Mediocrity

Book Review: Personal Record – A Love Affair with Running by Rachel Toor

with 5 comments

How exciting.  My first ever book review.  I will admit that I don’t read many running books.  I also don’t read many autobiographies, or memoirs.  But I happened upon this one, and just loved it so much, I had to share.

I randomly stumbled upon this book.  I have never heard of Rachel Toor before, and had never heard of this book before.  One of my purchases at the Chicago Marathon expo was a spur-of-the-moment subscription to Marathon & Beyond.  M&B appears to be the running magazine I’ve been looking for all of my adult life, but that is a story for another day.  As part of the deal, I was able to choose 2 back issues, and one of the issues I selected had a brief, but very positive, mention of this book, which was new at that time.  I was inspired to immediately order it from Amazon!

Based on this book, I think Rachel is a fantastic writer.  Entertaining, to the point, and quick moving.  She has written regularly, apparently, for Running Times, which I have never read, and has occasionally appeared in Marathon & Beyond, which is a new magazine to me, so I don’t think I’ve seen her writing before.

The book is a series of 26 (plus a .2 at the end) essays covering her life of running.  It starts out describing Rachel’s life as a non-runner, but with running friends, and covers her slow transition to a runner, and then a very serious runner.  The book covers her approach to running, details some of the relationships with people who have been important to her running life, and also some of the most important races and events she has participated in.  My only criticism, perhaps, is that if you read Running Times and Marathon & Beyond, then you might already be familiar with some of the chapters in the book.

This book had no problem keeping me entertained.  I only wish the chapters didn’t stop at 26 (marathon length), but rather went all the way to a 50 mile (chapter) ultra!  Maybe she is holding out on us for a sequel.  Now that I know Rachel Toor, I will be on the lookout for her additional works.  As it happened, today I was flipping through the current issue of Runners World, Dec 2010, and lo and behold, she was the author for the issue’s Life & Times column.  Again, a breath of fresh air.

Highly recommended all around!


Written by SCL

November 19, 2010 at 11:04 pm

Posted in Book Review

5 Responses

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  1. I love Rachel’s column in RT and have been meaning to get this bookfor a while. I am so glad you gave it a positive review.


    November 19, 2010 at 11:15 pm

  2. I need to check that out! Every time I read a great article lately, I look up and most of the time find that Rachel Toor wrote it! She has written some really good stuff for Running Times. Thanks for the recommendation! 🙂


    November 19, 2010 at 11:18 pm

  3. Your review makes me want to go out and buy the book. Wait, I am going to go buy the book.

    Great review. Thanks.


    November 20, 2010 at 12:51 pm

  4. You guys made my days. Thanks so much.


    Rachel Toor

    November 20, 2010 at 4:59 pm

  5. Sounds good, I’ll have to get a used copy on Amazon 😀


    November 22, 2010 at 8:03 pm

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