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Marathon Man: My Life, My Father's Stroke and Running 35 Marathons in 35 Days


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Running around Ireland with Marathon Man is an interesting insight into the physical endurance of such a challenge.

As a keen runner myself Marathon Man definitely appealed to me. I’ve read a lot of books about running and Alan Corcoran’s book is definitely different. 

The book starts with a chronological tale of how he got into sport at a young age, became a sprinter competing as a teenager and eventually in college at championships for middle distance events. There’s a refreshing tone to this as he reflects on his decisions to give up training, 

“I’m an advocate for trying, trying and trying again. Still, if something’s consistently not working out, dragging you down, rather than lifting you, despite trying different angles and making best endeavours, then I say quit! Refocus the time and energy towards other aspects of your life, or create and develop new elements to your existence.”

This is radically different to other similar books which create a ‘do or die’ persona of their protagonists. 

He reflects on the series of tragic events cumulating in his dad having a stroke, resulting in his decision to run around Ireland. This is personal and provides a context to his run which is also radically different from the typical adventure runner who sets off out of boredom or to sell another book. 

“Running is no team sport. You and you alone are accountable for how you perform.”

The transition from middle distance to marathon running provides an interesting read and context, perhaps because I don’t compete and run long distances I never considered the difference in training needed. 

If I have any criticism of the book is that once he begins running the chapters don’t really give any description of the places he’s running through or the adventure of the run. The chapters focus purely on the effort of running, the physical endurance and injuries, perhaps as a former athlete this is what Alan is interested in. The focus is on his time to complete each day and the injuries incurred each day. This is however fascinating, to know what a person can cope with and still succeed in their goals.

Marathon man is an interesting book which provides inspiration for whatever adventure is whirring in your mind.  It’s also refreshing to read a book about running around Ireland. This book is an easy read with short engaging chapters and a personal tone, a great inspiration. 

Reviewed by

Having previously studied English at University I love books. I read regularly and a wide variety of literature and non fiction. I particularly love dystopian fantasies, adventure biographies and novels, especially those that immerse you in the landscape and historical fiction.

Sample Extract

About the author

Alan Corcoran is an Irish endurance adventure athlete. Competing as an Irish international track and field athlete as a youth, he switched to ultra-endurance at twenty, when his dad suffered a stroke. Alan has since fundraised €45,000 for charities through his resilience challenges. view profile

Published on June 27, 2021

Published by

70000 words

Contains mild explicit content ⚠️

Genre: Sports & Outdoors

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