This is the true story of 3 marathons and an odyssey. The Athens marathon is held in November each year. Home of the marathon, home of the legend. It is run on the original marathon course of the 1896 Olympics – from Marathon to Athens, finishing in the Panathinaikon Olympic Stadium in the centre of Athens. Two months later in early January, Walt Disney World hosts the Goofy Challenge – run the half marathon around Disney World on the Saturday and you get a Donald Duck medal. Do the Full marathon on the Sunday and you get a Mickey Mouse medal. Complete both and you get a Goofy medal. To many people it doesn’t get much better than that.
Unless of course, you decide to head to the Caribbean and run a marathon there. So the author did just that, with the flat and beautiful Cayman Islands marathon at the beginning of December. The Walt Disney World Goofy Challenge epitomizes the transition of ‘the marathon’ from legend and Olympic heroes to worldwide societal mainstream.
The book is a personal journey. It is a societal journey. It traces the transformation of marathon running while at the same time being part travel-log, and part training as it details the successes and the dismal failures of training for these three events.
- “Malcolm’s enthusiasm for running is infectious and there were several occasions while I was reading the book when I felt compelled to don my running gear and brave the great outdoors even though the weather conditions were appalling. A Marathon Odyssey is a thoroughly good read and should appeal to runners and non-runners alike. It is a book that testifies that everything is possible if one has the ambition and resolution to pursue a dream. I really enjoyed the book. Indeed, I wouldn’t have read it as quickly if I hadn’t found it totally absorbing”
- Jack Brooks Secretary, 100 Marathon Club, United Kingdom (The Running Club for runners who have run 100 marathons or more)
- “A Marathon Odyssey” will surely inspire runners across the world, from those new to the event to established, experienced marathon enthusiasts. Its blend of well researched history combined with personal accounts of Malcolm’s introduction and progression to experienced marathon runner make this a thoroughly enjoyable book. A must for anyone contemplating the 26.2 miles, those already hooked on the event, and anyone interested in marathons and running in general.”
- Scott Umpleby, Race Director of Brathay Windermere Marathon, and 10 Marathons in 10 Days Challenge, United Kingdom
- “Malcolm Anderson creates for himself a worthy quest and sets about methodically building toward it. In what in less skilled hands could be a dull retelling of workouts run and benchmarks accomplished, A MARATHON ODYSSEY comes alive under Malcolm’s care due in large part to his constant sense of humor and his clean, clear writing style. Coming out the other end of his noble quest, Malcolm is quick to acknowledge that his is far from the only odyssey being completed on the roads to and from Marathon”
- Rich Benyo, Editor of Marathon & Beyond, and author of 18 books on running, health and fitness.
- “It is a great idea to weave reflections on the history and culture of running around the motif of a journey to several races, and Malcolm Anderson’s writing is always lucid and enjoyable.”
- Roger Robinson (author of Running in Literature, and co-author, with Kathrine Switzer, of 26.2 Marathon Stories).
- “I’m a “non-avid” reader, but I had available time to start reading this exciting book on a Saturday afternoon and finished reading all 394 pages by the next evening!!! As a non-runner who has attended more than 300 marathons to be a volunteer or support person, I want to add that Malcolm gave us a book that I “couldn’t put down” until I had read every page!!”
- Lenore Dolphin, North American 100 Marathon Club
- “It was only a little after I had been introduced to Malcolm on Sunday night that I was told he was an accomplished author on marathon running. As an avid reader and collector of running books I was immediately interested. I’ve since gotten my hands on Malcolm’s latest work “A Marathon Odyssey” which I can absolutely confirm is a great read. I’m sure Malcolm wouldn’t mind me saying that he’s not a current world record holder nor likely to set one soon, but it’s his ‘ordinariness’ that made his book such a good read. There was so much I could identify with and recognise from my own experience. The text is beautifully written and would be perfect for anyone who has an interest in marathon running.”
- Mick Rice (Athenry Athletic Club, Ireland).
Comments from Marathon Runners
- ‘I have had may happy sessions on the machines at the gym reading your book (Odyssey) and will move on the others. What a pleasure that was, you thoroughly entertained and inspired me. What an adventure to share. I just hope that with lots of effort I can get even close to that level of accomplishment with half the humour and enjoyment’.
- I completed reading your book and thoroughly enjoyed it. A good read and inspirational! I also recently read McDougall’s book – Born to Run. That was also a great story – really he presented a model for living! The two books have inspired me to run more.
- For Christmas I treated myself to your A MARATHON ODYSSEY. I must say it was a good read … A great book for us old runners, with a few under our belt. Loved all the facts peppered throughout, and also the personal thing about your marathons, so much I could identify with. A great book.
- United Kingdom
- “I am really enjoying your book. I feel like I know you so well from reading it, mainly because you are “one of us” rather than some elite racer or expert doctor. You therefore struggle with the same issues we all struggle with (need to run today but don’t want to, what gadgets do I need and what don’t I need, need to run but work won’t let me, etc.) and I can relate to that.”
- Washington State
- “I am so enjoying your book! Love your sense of humor and writing style…like someone I’d like to visit with.”
- South Dakota
- “Finished your book. I like your style with lots of humour. I can see where a runner – especially a novice or a fanatic like me – would enjoy it.”
- “I have a work colleague here who has turned into a runner due to me lending him the Odyssey book in the summer. He cites your book as the inspiration.”
- United Kingdom
- “I thoroughly enjoyed reading your book and will recommend it to anyone”.
- Running Tours operator
- “I enjoyed reading your books “A Marathon Odyssey” and “The Cayman Islands Marathon”. They are very well written. Much more interesting and personal than most running books that I have read”
- “I feel like I’ve known you for years! What a wonderful story you tell”
- Washington State.
- “I must admit I was a little dubious about how much interest I would have in a book describing what was only your second, third and fourth marathon. Especially as I’ve already run 111 marathons with another due this weekend. But it was brilliant – I couldn’t put it down; that’s an exaggeration, but only slightly – I only put it down when we were on our way out. The very fact it was over half way through before you describe actually running the first of your featured marathons was a stroke of genius. The build-up made the book for me”
- United Kingdom.
- “What makes the book good, and it is good, is Malcolm’s writing style. He has a rather good talent at turning a phrase and when you might be tempted to let your eyes glaze over a bit and skip ahead (it is 394 pages long, but the pages are small), you would be wise not to do so as each paragraph usually has a tongue-in-cheek witticism hidden somewhere in it”