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4:09:43: Boston 2013 Through the Eyes of the Runners

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  312 ratings  ·  63 reviews
In the first book on this tragic event, "4:09:43," Hal Higdon, a contributing editor at Runner's World, tells the tale of the Boston Marathon bombings. The book's title refers to the numbers on the finish-line clock when the first bomb exploded.

In "4:09:43," Higdon views Boston 2013 through the eyes of those running the race. You will meet George, a runner from Athens, bir
Paperback, 145 pages
Published February 13th 2014 by Human Kinetics Publishers (first published August 15th 2013)
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Sep 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am surprised at some of the lower ratings on this book- I thought it was great. There are so many things about the book that I enjoyed, both for what was in there and what wasn't. The first half of the book is a description of the Boston Marathon and why it is one of the formidable running events. Hal Higdon is particularly qualified after running many marathons and writing a commemorative book on the Boston Marathon in the past. I didn't know that the marathon is run on Patriots Day in honor ...more
Sarah Buerger
Nov 25, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this very true to what I experienced that day. I was at mile 25.7 when I was stopped because of the bombs.

I think Higdon could have spent a little less time talking about the faster runners who were already done with the race when the bombs went off and more about the runners who were stopped, cold and confused. Nevertheless, considering he wasn't there, he did an excellent job of recreating the happenings of that day from blogs and interviews with those who were.
Mary Swisshelm
Aug 31, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I will never forget what those bombs sounded like.

In 4:09:43: The Boston Marathon Bombings, I fully appreciated each person's perspective and personal story about their experience at the 2013 Boston Marathon; however, I wished that it would have continued more into the days that followed. As a dedicated marathon spectator for my significant-other, it was just as powerful to experience the community of the Bostonians and the running world in general during the aftermath.
Oct 21, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just finished the book and it was tough to read. Being a runner who wasn't able to complete the race due to the bombs, the book brought back a lot of emotions. The different perspectives brought to light in the book were interesting. I wasn't ready for all the emotions of that day yet, but plan on reading it again once I complete the marathon this year. ...more
Apr 21, 2014 rated it liked it
My husband, a Boston Marathon runner, handed me this book to read while on a flight to Boston for this year’s marathon. He said it would give me a great feel for what it is like to run the race. After reading, I agree with his assessment but can’t match his excitement because details like leg cramps, stomach pains, bloody toenails and “shredded” quads from running downhill don’t interest me that much and those kinds of details actually make up about 3/4ths of this book. Hal Higdon, a man I’ve ne ...more
Tim Holland
Sep 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: running, sports, history
Very well written and moving book on this tragic event. I read it recently on a flight to Boston and while there, was able to run the final miles of the marathon course and see the details that Higdon had written of. This e-book could be expanded into a longer examination of not only the events during the race, but also the manhunt and capture of the bombers and the lasting impact on Boston and the running community.
Jan 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A fantastic look at the tragedy that was the 2013 Boston Marathon. It avoids sensationalized political talk, instead focusing on the runners, which I very much appreciated.
Jul 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a great book to read to understand the Boston Marathon course and the experiences some of the runners had on race day 2013. It describes the challenges of the course, the uniqueness of the sport of marathon running, and the wonderful spectators who support the athletes. This is a quick, informative for read everyone, but especially so for runners.
Feb 19, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017
This made me want to run the Boston Marathon and I don't even want to run a marathon (so it's very likely never going to happen and I'm fine with that). It was mostly leading up to the bombing and it didn't feel like very much aftermath but still interesting having just been in Boston a few months ago. I'd recommend to anyone running the Boston Marathon because he does go over portions of the course. ...more
Ashley Horton
Aug 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A great compilation of perspectives & very interesting look at a devastating day & a beloved race.
Matthew Lohmeyer
Jan 28, 2021 rated it really liked it
mad me cry made me see in different eyes. Hal is a man that cam make it all come together and tell you how it is.
Mar 20, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: crime
Not What I Expected …

This book was reviewed as part of Amazon's Vine program which included a free advance copy of the book.

Until last year’s bombing, I casually dismissed the Boston Marathon (or any other marathon for that matter) as simply a “runner’s thing” … for hardcore fans only (much like the Triple Crown events or NASCAR). Hal Higdon’s 4:09:43 provides a runner’s perspective of last year’s marathon from its promising beginning to its shocking end. Far from being an in-depth source on th
Mar 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: running-health
I confess to a little trepidation at reading this book. I wasn’t sure I was ready to really delve into the horror of that day, which I know is a little cowardly of me. Surprisingly, that isn’t what this book is about. This book is largely about the stories of all of the other runners and volunteers and race workers present that day, which I love for so many reasons. We haven’t heard many of these stories and yet these people were just as affected emotionally and psychologically as so many of the ...more
Feb 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
***I received a free copy of this book through Goodreads First Reads****

I'm not really sure what I was expecting from this book, but was afraid it would turn into a morbid recounting of police procedure and the lives of those who instigated this tragedy.

Instead, I was pleasantly surprised by a very well thought out book that focused on the runners who pursue the dream of marathons.....and the upheaval that they were unwittingly thrust into that day in Boston.

As a non-runner, it was also fascinat
Rebecca Jo
Apr 25, 2014 rated it liked it
I love everything about running & running stories. I was excited to get this book to see through the eyes of runners the story of Boston & the bombing that happened in 2013.

This is a quick book that starts at the beginning of the race & leads us to the time on the clock of 4:09:43

I loved hearing the stories, but it got a little over whelming with all the names & stats of each person's story. It was like little snippets off of hundreds of people's blogs or something. "So & So from such such said"
Janae Stec
Feb 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-own
** I won this through a Goodreads giveaway.

Overall decent, well put together book. It cohesively put together first hand narratives of runners and spectators alike. I enjoyed learning about the things that go through a runner's mind before, during, and after running a marathon. Some parts, as others have noted, can seem very technical, but I don't believe it was done in a tedious way. The part about the actual bombs avoided almost all gruesome detail, of which I was glad. I was not looking for a
Apr 20, 2015 rated it it was ok
This book loses major points for severe editing failure. There were a number of logic errors that made me not trust a lot of the book. Hello, the Sandy Hook shootings occurred several MONTHS before the 2013 Boston Marathon, not several weeks before. And all the marathon participants had not FINISHED by 10:20am, they all STARTED by then. Just embarrassing errors that really should've been caught, and really takes away from the book. He proudly proclaims that this book was "entirely researched on ...more
Jul 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
4:09:43 is the retelling of the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombings as seen from the blogs, facebook, twitter and other accounts of the day. This is not a grim look at the tragedy but rather one of hope and determination made up of those who choose to run 26.2 miles and what it means to them. This account is focused on the personal stories of those who were involved and what happened to them in the immediate aftermath. For those looking for a detailed account of what happened that day this will not be ...more
Mar 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-own
This is a fairly short book, only 134 pages long. It focused on the actual race and not the bombing; there were only two or three chapters out of fifteen that talked about the bomb and the confusion concerning the topic.

Reading this book made me want to enter the marathon. Although I'm definitely not a runner and even have trouble running a mile in under 16 minutes. But, I too wanted to run through "The Scream Tunnel" and take on the hills in Newton.

Hal Higdon wrote in a style that I have neve
Feb 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
This book tells the story of various runners on the day the bombs exploded at the Boston Marathon (2013). The runners are from around the world and run various times. There's a lot of work that goes into these races as well as a lot of tough, driven runners. This book gave an insight into what the organizers and runners go through and their mindset on race day, what is going on during the race and in this case what happened once the bombs went off.

I was amazed at the number of spectators that a
Mar 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Started and finished this book this evening. An inside look at the many runners and spectators of the 2013 Boston Marathon and their account of what happened. It starts the morning of the marathon and ends the next day. A reminder at how strong we can be during an event such as this that brings people together. My favorite quote from the book... "If competitors require us to run faster, crowds inspire it. Nothing can galvanize greatness as much as throngs of screaming fans. Running persists on p ...more
Jan 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: running
This book was so hard to put down! I would have finished it in one sitting but I could not stay awake any longer last night! This is the second book I have read by Hal Higdon and I really enjoy his books.

I think he did a great job of putting this together especially considering he was not there. I do think he could have included less about the fast runners who were done with the race and possibly focused a little more on those that were still running it. Also I believe there could have been more
TR Peterson
Mar 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
Higdon's book is an enjoyable read despite the seriousness of the subject matter. The runner's perspective that this book provides gives a real feel for the amazing experience that is participating in the Boston Marathon. This makes the tragedy that unfolded there that much more shocking. Yet Higdon's book provides an optimistic riposte to those who would try to damage the sport of running through the tales of bravery determination and joy that the marathon engenders. It is an enjoyable read and ...more
Dec 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
If you are looking for a book that tells of all the events surrounding the Boston Bombings, this is not your book. What this book is, however, is a wonderful telling of the Boston Marathon 2013 through the eyes of 75 different people involved in the Boston Marathon, most of them runners. While the bombings absolutely are talked about, the book takes you from the waking up in the morning on that day to the starting line and then through each suburb prior to reaching Boston. I don't know that this ...more
University of Chicago Magazine
Hal Higdon, U-High'47, X'59

From the author: "In this first book on an iconic event, Hal Higdon, tells the tale of the Boston Marathon bombings. Higdon follows 75 runners from Boston Common to Hopkinton then through eight towns into Boston until two shattering explosions at 4:09:43 on the finish-line clock changed the sport forever. This is a tale not of terrorism, but rather a joyous odyssey of the runners and what they experienced in the 2013 Boston Marathon. At the peak of his writing ca
Mar 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This was a beautiful story that has been told through the eyes of some runners and spectators. Hal Higdon did a wonderful job at telling their stories. This book put me through that day of the Boston Marathon. I'm not a runner, but wow the training and dedication these people had to go through is wow.

I recommend this to anyone, runner or not. This book will make you go through all emotions and come out in awe of what you just read. This is a must read.

So read, enjoy, and go through this with f
Mar 16, 2014 rated it liked it
I had been waiting for this book to come out in paperback for months and was very excited to see it at the bookstore last week. I thought that the stories were well put together in order to get a full picture of that day. However, it felt a little bit rushed and like the book could have been improved if a little bit more time had been spent on interviews and developing a more complete story from the various participants whose stories made it into the book. Overall, it was interesting and a prett ...more
Christopher Barry
Jan 17, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: running, non-fiction
Read this as a companion to "Long Mile Home" which was more of an overview of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. This was an interesting concept: the race through the eyes of the runners as told through their facebook and blog posts. The parts quoted or paraphrased from the runners were good, but Hal Higdon's writing was not. It provided an interesting look at the events and truly captures the view from the middle of the pack. The best part was Katherine Switzer's Foreword, though, which kept thi ...more
Kristi Mangan
Apr 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
An emotional read from start to finish: From the overwhelming joy, gratitude and pride of accomplishment that are an integral part of running the marathon, to the sadness of the losses and terror of that day. I am running Boston in nine days and found myself choked up at several points during the story. Viewed through the eyes of Higdon, runners, spectators and others present that day, this is a touching tribute to the events of April 15, 2013, marathons, and runners.
Sep 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
As a half-marathoner myself, I was quite interested to read this book, which tells the story of the Boston Marathon bombing through the eyes of the runners themselves.

I did like the book, it was quick and the story evolved well, except I wish Hal Higdon would have spent more of the last few chapters elaborating on the events that happened rather than all the runners featured in the story saying "We were confused, didn't know what happened."

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Hal Higdon is an American writer and runner. He has contributed to Runner's World magazine longer than any other writer. He is the author of 34 books, including the best-selling Marathon: The Ultimate Training Guide. He has worked as a freelance writer since 1959, and has written a variety of subjects including a children's book that was made into an animated feature. He ran eight times in the Uni ...more

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