Book Review: The 27th Mile

The 27th Mile: Going the Extra Mile to Support the Victims of the Boston Marathon Bombing
Edited by Ray Charbonneau

This book caught my eye as I browsed the (aptly named) Browsery at my library. After having recently been disappointed by a few running-related books, I was eager to give this one a go, especially as it was created to support the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing, an event that hit a little too close to home for me.

The 27th Mile is a collection of essays, short stories, and poems that are all, in one way or another, about running. Some are humorous, some serious and deeply personal, some fictional. Some had been published previously, and some were original works written for this compilation. A few made me giggle, one made my eyes fill up, and after I finished the book I felt a little more connected to the greater running community, like I had gotten a little peek into the subconscious of The Runner. I also felt inspired to get out there and run!

Some of my favorite contributions include:

  • “Running Revolution” by Jeff Galloway, which was a sort of history of modern running and how it came to be popular in the US.
  • “Something to Run For” by Ray Sespaniak, a short story about a man who starts running to block out all that annoys him in the world, and soon finds he can’t stop.
  • “I Had to Pee” by Lawrence Block… Sometimes you just gotta go!
  • “Rage, Rage” by Jason Fisk… This is the one that caused my eyes to fill up.
  • “On the Run From Dogs and People” by Hal Higdon, an essay about the Boston Marathon that was originally published in 1963. It was interesting to read about how different the event was back then – no women, few enough runners to all fit in one hotel… a different world!
  • “Shared Vision” by Ray Charbonneau, a piece about his experience running the Boston Marathon as a sighted guide for a visually impaired runner.

Yeesh, I could list all the pieces in this book as my favorites! It’s a great compilation, was very quick and enjoyable to read, and I’d recommend it in a heartbeat to anyone who’s a runner, knows a runner, or has any interest in running whatsoever. As a bonus, all proceeds from sales of this book go to The One Fund. (Confession: I felt incredibly guilty checking this book out from the library instead of buying it, but explained my guilt away by remembering my multiple contributions to The One Fund last year. However, I enjoyed the book so much that I’ve bought my own copy… guilty no more!)

To buy your own copy, or to learn more about Charbonneau’s other books about running, check out his website


[Quick shout-out to The Crazy Runner Girl, whose Running Reads Review lit the spark of inspiration in my brain to start doing my own book reviews. Cheers!]


4 thoughts on “Book Review: The 27th Mile

    • That’s why I felt so guilty about borrowing it! But in the end I was able to help the library’s circ statistics AND contribute to the One Fund, so my conscience has been cleared 🙂

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