Hardly more than an afterthought to the recent spate of running books: a little advice, the author's own story, and profiles of some major runners (many of whom have already written their own books). Included: what the marathon means today (how many people are running, will run, can run); musings on whether or not Pheidippides really could have run the first marathon; 73 basic pointers--too brief to help; and a report on the author's visit to a physiological evaluation lab (featuring, for one, ""Biomechanical Evaluation of the Lower Extremities""). Bloom, the editor-in-chief of The Runner magazine, failed in what might have been his biggest story: he took Rosie Ruiz to dinner the week after her disqualification as winner of the Boston Marathon, and ""hoped that in the relaxed atmosphere of a good meal we'd get the prized confession from her. . . . We caught her in obvious lies and contradictory statements""; but she refused to give in. Too bad--because the rest of this isn't worth the effort. It's all been done better before.