In the Long Run

It’s 2008. Jim Axelrod—once among the most watched correspondents on network news and the first television reporter to broadcast from Saddam International Airport in 2003—is covering the final stages of the race for the Democratic presidential nomination. He’s forty-five years old and thirty pounds overweight. He’s drinking too much, sleeping too little, and scarcely seeing his family. He’s just figured out that the industry that pulled him up the corporate ladder is imploding as he’s reaching for its final rungs. Then, out of the blue, Jim discovers his late father’s decades-old New York Marathon finish times. At forty-six, Bob Axelrod ran a 3:29:58. With everything else going on in his life, Jim sets himself a defining challenge: “Can I beat him?”
So begins a deeply felt, often hilarious, quixotic effort to run the 2009 New York Marathon. Along the way, Jim confronts his listing marriage, a career upset by the seismic changes going on throughout the television news industry, excruciatingly painful shin splints, and the worst-timed kidney stone possible. Looming over it all is the shadow of a loving father, who repeatedly lost his way in life but still has a lesson to impart.
This is a book about a dead father’s challenge to a son at a crossroads, but, more than that, it is about the personal costs paid when ambition and talent are not enough to ensure success. Most fundamentally, though, it is a book about learning what it takes to be happy in your own skin.

A wise and wonderful story about fathers and sons, the price of blind ambition, and the redemptive power of finding your own stretch of the road.” —Mark Frost, New York Times bestselling author

“Jim Axelrod writes with passion and compassion. As the son of a marathoner and father of a young boy myself, In the Long Run had me hooked from the first sentence and kept me thoroughly engaged to the last. A terrific read!” —Dean Karnazes, New York Times bestselling author and marathoner

“In the middle of life Jim Axelrod lost his way. The road forward was dark, every given (marriage, values, career) up for question. How did he find his way out?  By running for his life. In the Long Runhas all the elements of a hero-journey:  risk, suffering and transformation. But, being a consummate journalist, Jim narrates all of it with pitiless objectivity. Readers will bond with him each step of his journey, from the opening sentence to the last exultant mile.” —Ann Arensberg, winner of the National Book Award

“Jim Axelrod has written a tender and searingly honest book about life as a television network news correspondent: the self-doubt, the occasional humiliation, the risks, and the irrational and disproportionate price that the family pays to pave the road to success. He writes with all the understanding and hopelessness of an addict. As someone who has spent almost fifty years mainlining, I can testify that Jim has it right.” —Ted Koppel

“In the Long Run is an uncommonly rich and layered book about the mad pace of modern life and the secret pleasures of the ten-minute mile. I loved it.” —Michael Bamberger, senior writer, Sports Illustrated