The Long Run: A Memoir of Loss and Life in Motion by Catriona Menzies-Pike

The Long Run: A Memoir of Loss and Life in Motion

An unlikely marathoner finds her way through grief and into the untold history of women and running. Thirty-year-old Catriona Menzies-Pike defined herself in many ways: voracious reader, pub crawler, feminist, backpacker, and, since her parents' deaths a decade earlier, orphan. "Runner" was nowhere near the list. Yet when she began training for a half marathon on a whim, s...

Title:The Long Run: A Memoir of Loss and Life in Motion
Author:
Rating:
ISBN:1524759449
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:256 pages

The Long Run: A Memoir of Loss and Life in Motion Reviews

  • Helen Maurice
    Apr 10, 2016

    Loved this book! Was able to relate to as I have taken part in most of the Sydney runs that Catriona has run and described. Not a book I would usually read, I found the intermingling of historical and feminist perspectives fascinating. Being a Sydney girl, I took great pleasure in reading about the author's runs around the harbour and surrounds. I laughed and cried with my favourite passages being those when Catriona puts into perfect words the way I feel when I run

  • Heather Fineisen
    Jan 15, 2017

    The author combines women’s history of running with he personal experience to create an interesting and informative look at the sport. The author includes her love of reading and literary references throughout the narrative. I am not a runner but enjoyed the book, especially the history.

  • Melissa
    Mar 31, 2017

    Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for an Advanced Reader Copy in exchange for an honest review.

    Wow wow wow... I don't think I even read the description when requesting this one from Netgalley. "LONG RUN" jumped out at me loud and clear. I knew it had to be about running, and as a runner (albeit with a four year break after the twins being born), I wanted to read it. ASAP. I do that with any books about running, swimming or cycling, preferably all three at once. So far so good. The writer has

    Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for an Advanced Reader Copy in exchange for an honest review.

    Wow wow wow... I don't think I even read the description when requesting this one from Netgalley. "LONG RUN" jumped out at me loud and clear. I knew it had to be about running, and as a runner (albeit with a four year break after the twins being born), I wanted to read it. ASAP. I do that with any books about running, swimming or cycling, preferably all three at once. So far so good. The writer has been through some horrible tragedies but through it all, she found something both therapeutic and enjoyable, running! There is a t-shirt out there that says "Running... It's cheaper than therapy!" After three full marathons (two involving interstate travel), eight half marathons, four triathlons, a handful of 5K and 10Ks, at least ten pair of Brooks Adrenalines size 7W (in case you are shopping for me), a Garmin watch, a used road bike from Craigslist, two drawers full of workout clothes, swim flippers/pull buoy/goggles, a treadmill, two iPod shuffles, and truckloads of Gatorade, I would have to argue. My co-pay is only $30 a pop lol...

    The author has done her research on the history of the marathon and the participation of women in them. Each chapter discusses a various aspect of running and women with anecdotes of her personal life interspersed. I thought it was brilliant. There are a few sluggish spots, but overall the book was amazing.

    At any rate, this book is a great read, maybe even if you're not a runner!

  • Ms. Yingling
    Mar 27, 2017

    E ARC from Netgalley.com

    This book is an odd combination of memoir and history. The memoir isn't anything new-- while the author mentions that she has read a lot of running memoirs that didn't speak to her experience as a reluctant runner, most of the memoirs I have read are much like this. The runner doesn't want to run, but has personal issues, so takes it up reluctantly and finds that it answers many of the questions in her life and helps her deal with issues.

    What does make this book appealin

    E ARC from Netgalley.com

    This book is an odd combination of memoir and history. The memoir isn't anything new-- while the author mentions that she has read a lot of running memoirs that didn't speak to her experience as a reluctant runner, most of the memoirs I have read are much like this. The runner doesn't want to run, but has personal issues, so takes it up reluctantly and finds that it answers many of the questions in her life and helps her deal with issues.

    What does make this book appealing is the history of women and running, and especially the intersectionality of feminism and running. Complete with citations in the back, the author lays out the most complete history of women and running that I have seen. This is fantastic, and would be a fabulous resource for school libraries if we could just separate that part from the memoir!

    I should take notes and look up some of the women she mentions, because I see a LOT Of National History Day project possibilities.

    I know there are a lot of teachers and librarians who also run (and who might be on spring break!), so this book is worth mentioning.

    And is anyone else waiting for this year's Boston Marathon in order to watch Kathryn Switzer return for the 50th anniversary of her groundbreaking run?

  • Madeleine
    May 02, 2017

    This and other reviews at

    !

    I wouldn't necessarily call myself a runner. Sure, I enjoy running, but if we're being honest, it's hard and requires a lot of mental energy for me, so it's not always my go-to option for exercise. In the past year or so, I've only gone on a handful of runs, but after reading The Long Run: A Memoir of Loss and Life in Motion, I've felt inspired to lace up my sneakers and take another shot at being a "runner."

    Here's the thing about this boo

    This and other reviews at

    !

    I wouldn't necessarily call myself a runner. Sure, I enjoy running, but if we're being honest, it's hard and requires a lot of mental energy for me, so it's not always my go-to option for exercise. In the past year or so, I've only gone on a handful of runs, but after reading The Long Run: A Memoir of Loss and Life in Motion, I've felt inspired to lace up my sneakers and take another shot at being a "runner."

    Here's the thing about this book: it's not a typical sports memoir. Catriona Menzies-Pike is not a famous athlete. She's run a handful of marathons and many, many half-marathons, but when you put her running accomplishments in perspective, she's pretty much on par with any other ordinary person who also happens to run marathons.

    What makes this memoir interesting is not that it's about running, but that it's written from a feminist perspective. Within the first chapter, I realized that this was one of the most well-written memoirs I've read, and by the time Menzies-Pike mentioned her PhD in Literature, I could tell that she was a voracious reader, and someone of extraordinary intelligence. She not only writes about her own life experiences -- a plane crash that left her orphaned, a downward spiral shortly after, and her discovery that running helped to heal her -- but also writes about the history of women in running.

    I learned so much about the discrimination of women in this sport (starting in the time of Ancient Greece and continuing well into the 1960's) and the stories of individual women who dared to run alongside male athletes. One of the most interesting (and disturbing) facts that I learned? Women were often told to avoid running because it would threaten their fertility. Women runners who entered races were often scolded for their selfishness, race organizers certain that to run a marathon was to sacrifice a future as a mother. Now, of course, we know that a woman can be both an athlete and a mother, so it seems absurd to think that this was a huge reason behind the discrimination. There are some spots where I felt the history (or the focus on sexism) was a little drawn out and sluggish, but in the end I came away from this book feeling inspired to run and to encourage the women in my life to pursue dreams that may feel impossible. Her story is proof that dedication bears fruit and I loved her overall message that no matter your size, speed, or distance, when you set out on a run, you are a runner.

  • Niki
    May 30, 2017

    An interesting female-centric view on the topic of running, both as a pastime and a competitive endeavor. The author, a self-proclaimed reluctant runner, delves into a little bit of everything - culture, literature, history, feminism - to navigate her own (mis) adventures with running. The material can be a bit dry at times, but with a wealth of fascinating tidbits (ex: women's running competitions have only been a part of the Olympics since 1984). At its best, the book is wonderfully thought-pr

    An interesting female-centric view on the topic of running, both as a pastime and a competitive endeavor. The author, a self-proclaimed reluctant runner, delves into a little bit of everything - culture, literature, history, feminism - to navigate her own (mis) adventures with running. The material can be a bit dry at times, but with a wealth of fascinating tidbits (ex: women's running competitions have only been a part of the Olympics since 1984). At its best, the book is wonderfully thought-provoking.

  • LauraBeth
    May 24, 2017

    The Long Run sprints ahead of other books that I’ve read about running (which have been a lot). First of all – this is one of the only books that I’ve read about running that is female-centric – but not in the way that one might expect. Instead of being a shallow book of Pinterest self-help quotes, this book aims higher and hits the mark by delving into the psyche of women and for the reasons they run. It made me question why it was exactly that I began running a few years ago. It connects a lot

    The Long Run sprints ahead of other books that I’ve read about running (which have been a lot). First of all – this is one of the only books that I’ve read about running that is female-centric – but not in the way that one might expect. Instead of being a shallow book of Pinterest self-help quotes, this book aims higher and hits the mark by delving into the psyche of women and for the reasons they run. It made me question why it was exactly that I began running a few years ago. It connects a lot of dots to running: the human psyche, feminism, culture, history and even literature. Reading this book made me realize that the author is a treasure trove of information on a myriad of topics and her ability to interrelate all of these ideas was skillfully done.

    Additionally, the author looks at heroic women who have broken through social barriers in the running world and while it made me appreciate these women much more than I have previously, I also walked away with much respect and admiration for the author. She’s the everyday woman who overcame heartache and a sedentary lifestyle by transforming herself into a runner. She represents what we’re all capable of doing. Catriona Menzies-Pike is inspiring and fierce in her own right.

    Many thanks to Crown Publishing and NetGalley for allowing me to read an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  • Karen Germain
    May 25, 2017

    Thank you to Crown Publishing for providing me with an advanced copy of Catriona Menzies-Pike's memoir, The Long Run, in exchange for an honest review.

    PLOT - When she was in her early twenties, Catriona Menzies-Pike was dealt a major life-change, when her parents both died in a plane crash. She spent the following decade finishing her education, while dealing with both her profound grief, and the extensive probate process to close her parent's estate. She had never considered herself very athlet

    Thank you to Crown Publishing for providing me with an advanced copy of Catriona Menzies-Pike's memoir, The Long Run, in exchange for an honest review.

    PLOT - When she was in her early twenties, Catriona Menzies-Pike was dealt a major life-change, when her parents both died in a plane crash. She spent the following decade finishing her education, while dealing with both her profound grief, and the extensive probate process to close her parent's estate. She had never considered herself very athletic, but when she turned thirty, she decided that she wanted to change her lifestyle and began running. The Long Run chronicles her journey to becoming a marathon runner, including an examination on how running helped her cope with loss and the history of female runners. 

    LIKE- I'm not a runner. I've finished a handful of half-marathons and other athletic events, but I've always been more of a slow finisher, mostly walking. I've never had the drive to turn myself into a runner. Running is not what drew me to Menzies-Pike's memoir. Like Menzies-Pike, I also lost my parents at a young age and this is what made me interested in her story.

    The Long Run is half a history of running, specifically female runners. I was not expecting her memoir to be so heavy on the history, but I'm glad it was, as it was fascinating. I had recently heard the story of runner Kathrine Switzer, who in 1967 was the first woman to run the Boston Marathon as an official participant. Switzer registered using her first initial, rather than her name, and snuck by in a time when women were not allowed to participate. Famously, a race official tried to physically remove her from the course, but her boyfriend at the time, stepped in and Switzer kept running. The Long Run is filled with stories of other female runners from around the world who helped break down barriers. I may have zero interest in running, but I'm grateful to these women who took risks so that I could have opportunities. It's amazing to me to think that Switzer's Boston Marathon run was just ten years before I was born. I feel like I grew up in a world where I could aspire to anything.

    Menzies-Pike also writes about the fear that women have, a fear that has been drilled into them, regarding things like running alone or running at night. Until last summer, when I moved to downtown Portland, I've never felt unsafe in my environment. Now, I live in a place where I would not walk outside of my building at night without my husband. In the daytime, I even feel nervous. A big part of this, is that we live right next to a pretty park, where unfortunately, bad things have happened. This fear has limited my life. I don't go to writing events or other things, stuff that I wouldn't have hesitated to do when we lived in Los Angeles. Fear is powerful and controlling.

    DISLIKE- I wish Menzies-Pike had made her memoir more focused on her grieving and transformation. It could have been more introspective. If I was a runner, I think I would have been more interested in the specific details of her major races. As a non-runner, these portions were a little tedious and I found my attention drifting.

    RECOMMEND- If you're a female athlete or interested in the history of marathons, The Long Run would be a great pick. 

    Like my review? Check out my blog!

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