Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Marathon: The Inside Story, by Hal Higdon

Looking for a new running novel to read? Acclaimed runner, trainer, author, and and long-time contributor to Runner's World, Hal Higdon has a new book—Marathon: The Novel— you should add to your reading list. To find out more about the book check out the article below written by Higdon himself (originally posted June 22, 2009 by my friends at TrainingPeaks blog). Also, to download the first three chapters of the novel for free from Higdon's website [click here] .

I just finished my latest book - shipped it to my agent last Monday. That means I can spend the rest of the summer playing. I ran to the gym this morning, pumped some iron, then ran home, jumped on my bike and rode to a nearby supermarket for coffee and donuts. I had two of the latter figuring I was in the middle of a triple workout. Should have had three, but I’m on a diet.

The book just completed is my first novel and carries the working title, Marathon: The Novel. Thirty-four books in print, and I finally got around to shifting from non-fiction to fiction. That’s not entirely true, because my resume includes several works of fiction for children, including The Horse That Played Center Field, made into an animated film by ABC-TV. But this is my first stab at an adult novel.

Fiction usually is tougher to sell than non-fiction, unless your name is Stephen King or Joyce Carol Oates. Thus, for most of my career, I have been content to publish books about crime, business and the Civil War, along with a few books that might help runners finish a marathon.
Nevertheless, I’ve had the plot for a novel rattling in my head for most of the last decade, dating from about the time I became a training consultant for the Chicago Marathon, permitting me a unique opportunity to peer into the workings of that race. For the last several years, Marathon: The Novel has been the focus of my daily writing. It was what I did first each morning when I sat down at the computer.

This first novel focuses on the 72 hours leading up to a major marathon, the fictional Lake City Marathon. The plot revolves around a romance between the race director and a just-met TV reporter. That plus problems with sponsorship, hot weather, illness to his top runner and the appearance of a person known as Celebrity X, reportedly “more famous than Oprah.” Marathon is a multi-dimensional and multi-character novel similar in scope to best-selling books by Arthur Hailey: Hotel and Airport.

En route to finishing Marathon, I suffered a couple of false starts, including one on my Virtual Training Bulletin Boards. I thought it might be fun to turn the writing of a novel into a community project online. I figured I would write a couple of paragraphs, then invite others on the V-Boards to add a sentence or a paragraph taking the book in whichever direction the mutual authorship wanted.

Great idea, but it just did not work. So I retreated to the traditional route for creating best-sellers. Each morning, you sit down at the computer and type-type-type, and after a year or two, you find an agent and a publisher and readers willing to spend $26.95 for the privilege of reading what you wrote.

Don't forget to download the first three chapters of Marathon: The Novel for free [click here]. If you have a question for Hal Higdon, you can ask it by visiting his Virtual Training Bulletin Boards.

Also, be sure to take some time to check out the TrainingPeaks blog.

Update! (7/28/10)-The book is now available and is a great read! To learn more about the book and more about Hal, check out my recent interview with him.


Regina said...

I'm reading an interesting book (which I actually will blog about when i am done) called, "C.C. Pyle's Amazing Foot Race: The True Story of the 1928 Coast-to-Coast Run Across America", Geoff Williams. I also just got "Once A Runner", by John L. Parker (which is supposed to be very good, but I haven't started yet). FWIW.

Hal Higdon said...

Thanks for the plug, RunnerDude. We're in the midst of proofreading "Marathon" and getting it ready for publication in time for the fall marathons. I hope to have copies in hand in time for an appearance at the 50th anniversary celebration of the Heart of America Marathon on Labor Day, a race I won many, many years ago. I'll also be at the Expos for the Twin Cities Marathon and the Chicago Marathon with other events to be added to my schedule soon. I hope to see some of your fans there.

Regina said...

Ok, how big of an ass do I feel? I read your blog about Hal Hidgon's book, then leave a comment about other books, and then Hal (in the cyberflesh) leaves the only other comment right after mine! I hope he will forgive me, I meant nothing but to spread the good word on running.

I will read his book as well, when it comes out, pinky promise!

Jessica Lane said...

Hey Runner Dude! Good post. I am a big fan of Hal Higdon and his training plans. His plans helped me train for my first half marathon (and hopefully my second coming up in November!) I'll have to check out his book. Hope all is well!

RunnerDude said...

Hey Regina! LOL! Don't feel like an ***. Those are all great running reads. I'm sure Hal would agree.

RunnerDude said...

Hey Hal! Welcome to the blog! Looking forward to reading the rest of your novel! Good stuff!!

RunnerDude said...

Hey Jessica! Not "hopefully"...."definitely" when you run your next marathon in November. :-)

runnerinsight said...

Another good post. Thank you for sharing your thoughts Mr. Runnerdude! : ) keep it up!

RunnerDude said...

Hey runnerinsight! Thanks for your support!!