26 Marathons

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 09 May 2019

Member Reviews

I am the wife of a runner, not a pro runner, but a runner and a coach nonetheless.  The discipline, maturity and strength that Meb showed through his 26 marathons is truly amazing.  Whether you are a casual runner, a committed runner or just someone who stumbled across this book, you will learn something about endurance and commitment if you read this book.  You will learn about winning and not winning with grace.  This book is worth every minute you will spend reading it.
Was this review helpful?
As a runner/racer for twenty five or so years, once I had to give up running due to too many injuries, I quit cold turkey, my obsession with reading all things running. That was the only way I could keep myself from taking up running again. But now, many years later, I saw this book on NetGalley and knew I could read it since I've successfully replaced running with other types of exercise that I enjoy. 

I wasn't totally oblivious to the running world and was familiar with the name Meb Keflezighi, especially since marathons were one of my favorite races. Meb is the first person in history to win an Olympic medal, the New York Marathon, and the Boston marathon. Meb was 42 years old when he retired from his extraordinary distance-running career but he's still a runner and his heart is with all runners of all distances and all speeds. In this book he tells about each of the 26 marathons that he ran and the lessons he learned from each one of them. These lessons that don't just relate to running but to life, all aspects of life and can be applied to each of us, even if we've never run a step in our lives.

Thanks to this book, I'm back to reading about running. I know I'll be checking out the biography about Meb, Run to Overcome: The Inspiring Story of an American Champion's Long-Distance Quest to Achieve a Big Dream. Thank you to Crown Publishing and NetGalley for this ARC.
Was this review helpful?
2009-2017 I watched Meb Keflezihji race past me during the New York City marathon. It was a rush. We knew he was the best and seeing him in person was always inspiring. 

Meb's story goes beyond the New York City Marathon. Chapters are formatted as races. Each race is different and each race is like have a conversation with Meb. Challenges, awards, success and failure are all discussed. This is a fascinating story of a remarkable man. 

While I will miss seeing Meb run in front of me on Sunday in November, I'm happy that I got to read this book and learn more about this amazing man. 

Thank you to NetGalley the publisher and Meb Keflezighi for the opportunity to read this book.
Was this review helpful?
This book is Meb Keflezighi's reflections on the 26 marathons he ran over the course of his professional racing career. Meb has been an inspiration to me, and I have enjoyed watching him run, especially as I became more serious about marathoning over the last few years. In this book, he shares the takeaways from each of his 26 marathons and lessons that all runners and all readers can apply to their daily lives. This book is inspiring to all runners, as his lessons are clear and applicable, especially with setting meaningful and realistic goals and looking for the positive lessons, even after a bad race. I look forward to applying these lessons as I continue to run, and I would recommend it to my students who are runners or who need more inspiration and guidance toward setting and achieving goals.
Was this review helpful?
I highly recommend this book (especially to runners). It is a very interesting book by an amazing US marathoner. I loved how each chapter was a race. It was really interesting to read about the tips & tricks that he learned along the way.  While I’m not a marathoner (and definitely not as a fast as Meb - 12 min/miler here), many of these insights are just as valuable to me and the half marathon/10-mile distance.

Great format, interesting topic - thanks Netgalley for the ARC!
Was this review helpful?
Ouch.

It's really not easy to be a professional marathon runner.

Not only is there a ton of physical work, featuring mile after mile on the roads. It also hurts.

That might be the biggest message to come out of "26 Marathons," a book from Meb Keflezighi. Marathon runners do more than their share of suffering, whether it is in training or in the actual races. They know that going in, since the human body isn't exactly designed to hold up for a run of 26.2 miles. But they don't know when exactly something will come up that will cause some suffering.

Keflezighi is certainly on the short list of the greatest American marathon runners in history. The native of Eritrea in Africa moved to this country at a young age, and became a superstar in his chosen support. Keflezighi set a variety of records in his career, but in the marathon he won a medal at the Olympics and won the New York City and Boston Marathons.

Naturally, none of that comes without preparation. You've got to do some work beforehand. Meb obviously pushed his body right to its limits along the way, racking up as many as 120 miles of running per week. Runners have to learn when to run through pain and when to stop because of injury. Make the wrong choice and they could be on the sidelines for a considerable amount of time.

As you might guess, Keflezighi ran 26 marathons in his career, which is convenient since it almost matches the distance in miles. Each of the races gets a chapter. The first was in New York City in 2002 and the last was in the same place in 2017. That's a good long run, pardon the pun, as Meb ran competitively into his 40s. He "only" won three of them, but he was always competitive and only posted a DNF (Did Not Finish) once in them.

What is striking about the stories is that is how much can go wrong. Most runners have forgotten to do something on the way to the starting line. Meb tells the story about how he packed a breathing strip into his shoe as usual, but forgot to put it on. Then his foot started getting chewed up, and he opted to run with it for another 20+ miles. You can guess what his foot looked like at the finish. Meb also has stories about suddenly feeling terrible during a race, in which he had to vomit or felt like vomiting but couldn't. There are races where a leg muscle tightens up or his legs simply stop working, and he has to walk a bit and make the best of the situation he faced.

Each chapter is somewhat bite-sized. It takes about five or so minutes to get through each one, which contain a description of the race and a few tips about running that most people probably have heard elsewhere. In other words, it probably will take a bit more than two hours to read this - appropriate, since that was about how long it took for Meb to actually run one of those races.

Meb's life story is a dramatic one, and he covered it in an earlier book ("Run to Overcome"). Keflezighi certainly ranks as one of our most admirable star athletes, and he was an easy choice for someone looking to root for a top runner to do well.

"26 Marathons" supplies more reasons to root for him on a personal level, but otherwise isn't particularly memorable. Therefore, I'd advise runners to start with that initial autobiography to learn more about Meb. If you want to read more of his story, this latest book will be waiting for you.
Was this review helpful?
As a 43 year old runner, slow runner, Meb is one of my heroes. He's my age and he's winning events just as I was getting into the sport. So on top of my love of running and running books, this one was by Meb. The structure of the book is one chapter for each of the elite marathons Meb has run, and what he learned from each one. The chapters open by telling you his time and his place in the race, so you have a pretty good idea of how each one goes. I thought that it started off very strong and inspiring, I loved hearing the tactics involved in elite racing. However, by about the 20th marathon it got pretty repetitive. I'd have liked it more if he could have incorporated more of the training process into the book, though I do see how he couldn't with the structure that was set up. Eventually I came to not care so much and was just ready to be done. I'd recommend it as a quick read to someone who just wants to read everything out there, but not so much as a book to learn much from. Deena Kastor's book on mental training was significantly more inspiring.
Was this review helpful?
I enjoyed this book and the insight into Meb's 26 marathons and his storied career! I liked the format - breaking down each marathon individually and offering his thoughts on his accomplishments and struggles and the emotions that came with them. I remember the impact of him winning the 2014 Boston Marathon after the attacks in 2013 and how it rallied the country, but didn't know much about him and his journey otherwise. After reading the book, I feel like I understand his career much better, but I do wish he talked a little more about his personal life. He talked some about meeting his wife and the birth of his first daughter, but then referenced his second and third daughters without ever initially mentioning their births. The only other thing I disliked that he referenced chapters and not races when reflecting back on things already mentioned previously. Overall, a pretty easy read and fun to follow along with his career. Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC!
Was this review helpful?
This is an amazing read for any and all runners!  I have been a lifelong runner and found this book to be extremely inspiring and uplifting.  I loved reading about Meb’s  race strategies and techniques as well as the highs and lows he experienced throughout his career.  I need to get my training back on track, and while I will probably NEVER run a marathon, this book gave me the boost and motivation I needed to get focused! I am pumped to get serious about my running again!  If you are not a runner, you can still appreciate this book as a big theme is about goal setting and conquering obstacles! Thank you NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book.
Was this review helpful?
One of the greatness gifts we can give one another is our advice through our own trials and tribulations. 
To be able to tell your story and give expert advice in running and living a balanced life is equally important in this day and age.
Meb is someone who many of us in the running community have admired for all that he stands for and has achieved.
What a remarkable talent and a remarkable human being.
I'm honored to have read his book as it highlights what it takes to get to his level of competitiveness in the running community.
I will never achieve a marathon but the good things is his advice can be applied to any distance runner even the novice.
A truly great read.
Was this review helpful?
Early in the book, Meb states that the book is going to be like having a conversation with him over the course of a run. I looked forward to the conversations I have with my running friends. You know, those intimate TMI details that people only seem comfortable confiding while sweat runs down their sports bra. That wasn't quite the conversation Meb has with his readers. Instead, he takes the long run to go over each of his 26 marathons discussing the good, the bad, and the ugly. I enjoyed reading his race strategies and methods he used to overcome obstacles during training and races. I liked how each chapter focused on one race, gave his race statistics at the beginning along with the key lesson he learned. Because he tried to separate out the discussion of the lesson learned, sometimes the chapters felt clunky but I quickly got used to the format. And, odd peeve, when he refers to events or lessons from other races, he refers to chapters instead of marathons. I know it is silly, but he chose to do a book moving from marathon to marathon. Carry that device throughout. But, my biggest disappointment with the book was how lacking it was in the personal life of Mr. Keflezighi. Anyone who has watched an interview or race with him or had the pleasure to meet him knows how personable he is. Somehow this was missing from the book as though someone came along and edited his personality out. I would have loved a book at twice the page count that included little things about his personal life. Mentions of his home life and family were few and far between. Us mere mortals want to know this stuff! I also recognize that the title states the books goal. I just wanted more! All that being said, I have already recommended this book to several people and if/when I ever run my first full marathon I will be rereading it myself. I just hope we get an actual personal memoir soon!
Was this review helpful?