Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Life Is a Marathon: A Memoir of Love and Endurance” as Want to Read:
Life Is a Marathon: A Memoir of Love and Endurance
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Life Is a Marathon: A Memoir of Love and Endurance

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  370 ratings  ·  42 reviews
An endurance athlete and coach reveals how the marathon transforms the lives of everyone who attempts it--and how it has helped his own family cope with serious adversity

Step after step for 26.2 miles, hundreds of thousands of people run marathons. But why--what compels people past pain, lost toenails, 5.30 am start times, The Wall? Sports writer Matt Fitzgerald set out to
...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published March 26th 2019 by Da Capo Lifelong Books
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Life Is a Marathon, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Life Is a Marathon

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.81  · 
Rating details
 ·  370 ratings  ·  42 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Start your review of Life Is a Marathon: A Memoir of Love and Endurance
Lance
Becoming a world-class marathon runner takes a lot of sacrifice, dedication and love for the sport. The same qualities are present in people who support family members with mental health issues. Mark Fitzgerald, who has written several running books, shares his life experiences in both of these topics in this compelling memoir.

The most striking feature about the book is the ending of each chapter. Fitzgerald will make a personal discovery on how the experiences he shared in the chapter help him
...more
anna
Aug 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
I'm solidly on the Matt Fitzgerald bandwagon - I follow his marathon training plans and (when I'm my best self) his nutrition guidelines. He's also generally a good writer so when he has a new book, I read it. I picked up Life Is a Marathon without knowing anything about it, ignored the subtitle, and anticipated some new insight into the mental aspect of a marathon. I was surprised to find a personal, raw memoir that goes beyond the description of an athlete. I admire his willingness to share al ...more
Dyane Harwood
Mar 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
In "Life Is A Marathon," Matt Fitzgerald has crafted an extraordinary depiction of his marriage to Nataki, the love of his life who has a severe mental illness. Fitzgerald portrays the other love of his life: long-distance running. His evolution as a runner and his unique marathon project are fascinating and masterfully interwoven throughout the story. Readers affected by mental illness will be inspired by Fitzgerald's near-insurmountable challenges and profound insights. Athletes will be rivete ...more
Ron S
Sports journalist and author Matt Fitzgerald (Iron War, Racing Weight, How Bad Do You Want It) writes about running eight marathons in eight weeks and the people he meets along the way. What makes this an unusual running book is how Fitzgerald intertwines the story of his wife Nataki, who suffers with a debilitating mental illness, and their relationship. This goes well beyond the average overcoming adversity/qualifying and running Boston sort of running memoir. Don't read it looking for nutriti ...more
David
May 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Well-known writer [maybe best known at this point for his thoughts on optimal racing weight and how to achieve/maintain it] uses the structure of a cross-country driving trip, running 8 marathons in 8 weeks along the way [extremely well --- as a master he finishes the 8th and final race in 2:49], to interweave (a) interviews with other runners about their experiences of running and especially running marathons with (b) harrowing tale of his marriage to a woman with bipolar disorder who violently ...more
Danielle
Jul 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
"In the pain of the marathon we learn who we are, discovering within ourselves both the weaknesses and flaws that hold us back and the strength and virtues that drive us forward."

" I thought I needed to find courage through running for my own sake...but what I really needed courage for, I discovered, was life."

"What I really wanted to do was conquer hard."

"Whatever it is a person looks for in the marathon, he or she usually finds it. "

" when you see how you can physically turn around due to cons
...more
Sarah Obsesses over Books & Cookies
This is and isn't about running. The author is a runner for sure and the book is about him running marathons but it parallels his marriage to a woman named Nataki whom he has been married for some 20 years or so. She isn't a runner and also suffers from bipolar disorder and man does this guy get honest about marriage and about mental health and about what he and his wife have gone through. It doesn't paint a picture such that running solves anything. It is a raw and honest look at what we do and ...more
johnjmontgomery.com
Mar 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I've read a lot of bipolar-themed books as my wife has bipolar. This is the best one written by the perspective of a husband whose wife suffers from this severe mood disorder. As an author/lifelong athlete and runner, I also really enjoyed Fitzgerald's discussion of his running and writing careers. It's an excellent read and I highly recommend it.
Susan
Oct 23, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: netgalley
I really hate giving such a low rating to someone's memoir. However, this book was not what it was said to be. I did not read a book uncovering why people run marathons or even my Fitzgerald runs marathons. Instead it was a disjointed story with a lack of focus and a timeline that bounced all over the place. There was a lot of running and a lot of runners chatting in the book, but it was also a lot about Fitzgerald and his wife dealing with her bipolar disorder. A lot. A lot of detail. A lot of ...more
Maddie Zook
Jun 10, 2019 rated it did not like it
This book was a marathon. Harder to wade through these stories than my most recent 100k.
Wade
Oct 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
In this astonishingly personal memoir, the author takes the lid off his own life and makes the case for marathon running as training for life itself.

Compared with the author's other writing, this is a change in subject matter, but not a change in his compelling writing style. He takes time to bare a painful and often ugly struggle with saving his marriage and supporting his wife through severe mental illness, in between chapters that chronicle a roadtrip they share to interview other marathon ru
...more
Petch Manopawitr
Dec 05, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir
A memoir of his running life and person struggle in life. His wife has suffered from serious bipolar and attempted to hurt him several times. She were hospitalized in mental hospital for 7-8 times and the couple was separated for as long as 9 months. It seemed the marriage was destined to be doomed. The author hanged in there and devoted himself to running and entering endurance race such as ironman, ultra-marathon etc.

I wanted to like this book more and it has everything in it but somehow it
...more
Thomas Ryan
Oct 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Matt Fitzgerald’s “Iron War” is one of the great sports performance books and so I was excited to read “Life is a Marathon” but this book very much reinforces the old saying that masterpieces are never what you expect. This is a book about running and how running can help one deal with the problems of life, and make one stronger and more resilient as a result of facing the common challenges associated with running, racing, and completing long distance endurance events throughout one’s life cycle ...more
Mina Purser
May 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
When I began reading this book, I took it for face value and thought it was just a book about the parallels between life and running marathons. I have been a runner since high school, and finally ran my first two marathons last year for the sole reason of getting them in before I turn 50 this year. I had no idea what this book was REALLY about! I grew up in a home with a bipolar mother. Luckily, she was never violent with us, but I understood so well the frustration and heartbreak that goes alon ...more
Claudia Turner
Jul 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book though I’m not sure I believe Matt Fitzgerald’s story of marathons, love and endurance is really about love as much as codependency and loyalty. Or maybe it’s about the love of an idea or a memory. Nevertheless, it IS about endurance, and confusingly nonlinear as this book often is, it’s also full of deeply personal sincerity, thoughtfulness and visually compelling memories. I would recommend this for endurance athletes, runners and for anyone who has been close to someone wi ...more
Chris
Feb 02, 2020 rated it it was ok
So I had a very personal reaction to this. I’ve had similar reactions to other books about running and mental health but here it was a matter of from who’s point of view stories were being told. Throughout the book the author is telling other people’s stories, many runners he meets but primarily his wife’s struggle with bipolar. But these are. Or his to tell. He has the permission to tell them, but not the experience of the perspective. And too much gets waves away in a good running heals all wo ...more
Dinee
Jul 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: running
Not what I expected at all, but a refreshing read on my “running” bookshelf. It was an honest and raw look at the complexities of an interracial marriage and living with a spouse who has bipolar disorder. At times, it was difficult to take in but I’m glad I finished it. Though most of the book feels chaotic and disjointed, I thought Fitzgerald tied things up nicely in the final few chapters, where I felt like I had made it through the arduous journey with him and came to appreciate the marathon ...more
Nadine
Apr 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wow. As Eric Schrantz from Ultrarunnerpodcast said "you really never know what is going on for other people." I have read many of Fitzgerald's other books. Some I have enjoyed and praised (Iron Wars is amazing) and some I have found interesting but fundamentally disagreed with. Through all of them, I lacked connection to Matt as an author. I admired his writing style and his content but felt cold toward the author.
This book opened my mind and heart to the author. Plus it was surprisingly funny,
...more
Marykay Pogar
Apr 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Equal parts race recaps and family mental illness memoir. Non-athletes may think they'll find the training and race synopses boring, but Fitzgerald incorporates enough recounts of his wife's (and his) struggle with her bipolar disorder into the narrative to make this more than a formulaic training/racing journal. It's a harrowing story, since his wife's mental illness was very difficult to manage and she attacked him violently many times, but ultimately, it's also a love story.
Spenser
Jul 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
I guess i was expecting this to be a book solely about running... I didn't love to hear about the effects of the bipolar disorder his wife has, but i see why he talked about it. I think my expectations were different from what the book was really about. I would say this book isn't about running at all and more about life in general.
Amber Victoria Finlay
Aug 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ami Yokoyama
Aug 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
I thought the author approached marathon in such an impulsive style (i.e. abruptly giving up in the middle of the race just because he's become sure he can't make his goal time; not stopping training even though multiple injuries hit him - although I understand this to a certain point) and I admire that. Maybe I should attack running and racing in a more aggressive manner.
CherylR
May 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Touching and poignant

This book was very good. It was heartbreaking at times as I had no idea what Matt Fitzgerald’s private life was like. It is an honest reflection and well written.
Christine
Jun 05, 2019 rated it liked it
Finished it on global running day! I enjoyed this book but it wasn’t my favorite running memoir. That’s still held by Peter Sagan and Murakami. The timeline read a bit jumbled but I appreciate his self deprecating humor and fascinating insight into his wedded life
Nate Hawthorne
Aug 22, 2019 rated it liked it
I like Matt. He has been through a lot. I think running has both helped and hurt him. It is brave to open up your past (and your spouse's) and let readers in behind the curtain. Not just the curtain of training, but all the nitty gritty of life. No real revelations for me, just honest writing.
Jill
Sep 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
A combination of personal memoir and interviews with others about running. The author is brutally and unflinchingly honest about the effect that endurance sports has had on both his body and personal relationships. That's what bumped it up to 4 stars for me.
Patrick Hanlon
Sep 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
If you are trying understand the marathon’s appeal or looking for a way up explain it to someone who considers you mad for your preoccupation with that distance or experience, this is among the best books to sum it up.
Katie
Sep 27, 2019 rated it liked it
There is a lot of good stuff in this book, but something about the author's use of his wife's illness made me extremely uncomfortable. Perhaps it was the continued reference to weight? That said, it made me want to get out there and get my mileage back up.
Izzy Corbo
Jun 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Very good memoir, and fit in perfectly with my goal to complete a marathon this year. Matt's personal story is heart-wrenching and put's you in a what would I do situation. Highly recommended!
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Running to the Edge: A Band of Misfits and the Guru Who Unlocked the Secrets of Speed
  • 26 Marathons: What I've Learned About Faith, Identity, Running, and Life From Each Marathon I've Run
  • Running Home
  • The Rise of the Ultra Runners: A Journey to the Edge of Human Endurance
  • Let Your Mind Run: A Memoir of Thinking My Way to Victory
  • North: Finding My Way While Running the Appalachian Trail
  • Broken Open: Mountains, Demons, Treadmills And a Search for Nirvana
  • Running Outside the Comfort Zone: An Explorer's Guide to the Edges of Running
  • Depression Hates a Moving Target: How Running With My Dog Brought Me Back From the Brink
  • Run the Mile You're In: Finding God in Every Step
  • Run to the Finish: The Everyday Runner's Guide to Avoiding Injury, Ignoring the Clock, and Loving the Run
  • Running with Sherman
  • A Life Without Limits: A World Champion's Journey
  • Mike Reilly: Finding My Voice: Tales From IRONMAN, the World's Greatest Endurance Event
  • Running Man
  • Endure: Mind, Body, and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance
  • Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner
  • Reborn on the Run: My Journey from Addiction to Ultramarathons
See similar books…
140 followers
Matt Fitzgerald is the author of numerous books on sports history and endurance sports. He has enjoyed unprecedented access to professional endurance athletes over the course of his career. His best-sellers include Racing Weight and Brain Training for Runners. He has also written extensively for Triathlete, Men's Fitness, Men's Health, Outside, Runner's World, Bicycling, Competitor, and countless ...more

Related Articles

Here in the United States, it's football season. It's time of great rivalry, wearing of team colors, and obsessing over the...
8 likes · 12 comments