It’s one thing to run a marathon for 26.2 miles. But what possesses some people to run 100 miles or more, and do it again and again? “Salvation,” answers Amy Mower in a new book, “or at least a very good time.”
Mower is director of surgical business operations at Harborview Medical Center and a long-distance runner. She has edited and independently published “Run To Save Your Life: A collection of poems and short stories by runners.” The book came out in paperback and a Kindle Edition on May 6.
Ultramarathons are footraces that are longer than the traditional marathon — either just a little longer, or a matter of running for days. Winners are determined by who covers the most miles in a specific time.
The book comprises original submissions by about 20 ultramarathon runners writing in prose and poetry about how the sport has impacted them, sent in response to a prompt from Mower, who also contributed 11 pieces.
The people who run such grueling races are “an interesting and eclectic community,” Mower said. “Folks get into it for their own reasons but most derive deep meaning from the sport.” She noted that several of the submissions in the book deal with exercise as self-care during the coronavirus pandemic.
Mower is a member of the 2019 U.S. Spartathlon Team. The Spartathlon is a historic 246-kilometer (153 mile) ultramarathon between Athens, Greece, and Sparti, the town on the site of ancient Sparta, that is run every September.
One Amazon reviewer wrote of the book, “This is a beautiful collection of short stories and poetry about one of the most difficult sports on Earth, which, as it turns out, is not as lonely as you at first think.”
For more information, contact Mower at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Amy Mower
Rhythmic footfalls transform dark into day
pumping legs and beating heart are pistons
drawing lightning from the earth
step upon step
my direct current
forges brilliance —
my private sun.
hair on fire
electric sparks leap from
ground to feet
dark city womb gives birth to stars
a brief (eternal) pause
City lights glitter now;
moonlight brightens clouds
with shimmering joy…
I am, for a moment, blinded.
Ironic that these nighttime hours
are the brightest light of Seattle day
Post run, post joy,
dim drippy gray, or watery sunshine —
shades of pewter streaked with despair
nibbles relentlessly into my joy
sucks energy like
air from a room