RUNNING TIDE by Joan with Sally Baker Benoit


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A reserved but appealingly plain-spoken autobiography of America's premier long-distance runner. The diminutive but very determined Benoit was born in Maine in 1957 and spent a near-idyllic childhood trying to outdo her brothers at almost every sport you can think of. The competition stood her in good stead when she got to Bowdoin College, focused solely on distance running, and began to realize how good she was. She slowly worked her way up to marathon distance, along the way blessing the female runners who had come before her: they were the ones who had fought the all-male prejudice in marathoning and made it possible for Benoit to win her very first Boston Marathon, in 1979. It was an uphill road to her 1984 Olympic triumph, however--Benoit has suffered everything from mono to appendicitis to bad Achilles tendons, and she exacerbates her injury-proneness by trying to come back too soon. However, it was her ability to recover quickly from arthroscopic knee surgery just weeks before her Olympic Trials win that led to the picture indelibly printed on the minds of the millions who watched the Los Angeles Games on August 5, 1984. the gutsy young woman in the white painter's hat striding through the most important race of her life as if it were just another Sunday fun-run back in Maine. Benoit's private life remains her own (we learn she likes a beer or two, and will occasionally be found wolfing down sugared cereal), and the book has none of the catty gossip and score-settling often found in sports bios. Still (and despite an inspirationally bland prose style: ""1982 was a good year for meaningful experiences""), this is good entertainment, and should find a sizable audience among marathon aficionados.

Pub Date: Oct. 6th, 1987
Publisher: Knopf