"When Running Made History reads like a tight, artfully woven tapestry. It's one of the best running books ever written—if not the very best."—Outside Magazine
"Like a glass of fine single-malt scotch, Robinson's work is to be savoured; pleasant memories will linger long after the last chapter is finished. But there's nothing elitist about it. Like a great beer, When Running Made History fizzes with energy and love of the sport."—Margaret Buttner, Running Room Magazine
"Robinson takes us through 60 years of significant moments in running history observed through his own eyes. . . . I couldn't put it down and came away inspired."—Jonathan Beverly, author of Run Strong, Stay Hungry
"There is no greater historian on the significance of running's past and present than Roger Robinson. His acute observations and journalist's eye for detail about the world's most popular participant sport, make When Running Made History a must-read."—Deena Kastor, Olympic Marathon Medalist & American Record Holder
"From war-torn London to contemporary Kenya, from Emil Zátopek to Kathrine Switzer, from Olympic stadiums to big-city marathons, When Running Made History explores the transformation of running in the modern era. Author-journalist Roger Robinson takes the reader on a globetrotting trek of epic proportions, creating a unique and personal contribution to the canon of running literature."—David Davis, author of Showdown at Shepherd’s Bush: The 1908 Olympic Marathon and the Three Runners Who Launched a Sporting Craze
"Immensely entertaining."—Pamela Cooper, author of The American Marathon
"An intense personal look at many of the most momentous running events of Robinson's lifetime and their impact on society - the London Olympics of 1948 that helped restore the spirit of war-torn Britain; the 1960 Rome Olympics that brought African runners to the world stage; the 2001 New York City Marathon that began the healing after the horrors of September 11. Robinson was right there for all of them and many more."—John Pitarresi, Utica Boilermaker Race Program
"Once I finished reading, When Running Made History, I immediately wanted to do an about-face and begin the process all over again. It was difficult to say which was more compelling, the story line of each running event described or Robinson's insights into the resulting historical implications….So yes, while you will discover much about our recent history by reading Robinson's book, his account is so much more than that. It is an opportunity to explore how running continues to shape history and an involved answer to the next time someone queries, "Why do you run?""—Laura Clark, American Trail Running Association
"Over the past 60 years I have reviewed countless books on athletics, and this seminal work by Roger Robinson ranks among the very best"—Mel Watman, Athletics International
"This book is one any distance running fan will enjoy….The non-running fan will appreciate how the book need not be read chronologically and provides snapshots into iconic moments in the sport's history while providing insight into lesser-known equally important people and events."—William Steele, Lipscomb University, ARETE
"This is the best running related tome NER has feasted on in the last century."—New England Runner
Robinson takes readers on a globe-trotting tour that combines a historian’s insight with vivid personal memories going back to just after World War II. From experiencing the 1948 “Austerity Olympics” in London as a young spectator to working as a journalist in the Boston Marathon media center at the moment of the 2013 bombings, Robinson offers a fascinating first-person account of the tragic and triumphant moments that impacted the world and shaped the modern sport. He chronicles the beginnings of the American running boom, the emergence of women’s running, the end of the old amateur rules, and the redefinition of aging for athletes and amateurs.
With an intimate perspective and insightful reporting, Robinson captures major historical events through the lens of running. He recounts running in Berlin at the time of German reunification in 1990, organizing a replacement track meet in New Zealand after the disastrous 2011 earthquake, and the triumph of Ethiopian athlete Abebe Bikila in the 1960 Olympics in Rome. As an avid runner, journalist, and fan, Robinson brings these global events to life and reveals the intimate and powerful ways in which running has intersected with recent history.
Roger Robinson is a world-class runner and journalist. He is the editor and author of numerous books, including Running in Literature. He was a senior writer for Running Times and is a frequent contributor to Runner's World and Canadian Running. He is emeritus professor of English at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. Roger lives in New Paltz, New York, and Wellington, New Zealand, with his wife, women's running activist Kathrine Switzer.
6 x 9, 328 pages, 29 black and white illustrations