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Charles Moore
Apropos of Running
A world-class marathoner who completed all six of the Abbott World Marathon Majors, Charles Moore brings to light his experiences as a Black man in the world of marathons in his incisive memoir. Based on Charles Moore’s experience running 24 marathons between 2016- 2023, Apropos of Running is at once a celebration of his journey to become a 24-time marathon runner and a candid, deeply personal interrogation of how race and culture are intertwined. The author explores the lack of diversity in marathoning, as he came face to face with the predominant myth that “Black people don’t run marathons.” From international races in major cities across Asia, Europe and the United States, including his native Detroit, he is confronted with not only the racial history of America but the racialized history of the sport he had devoted his life to. A timely and unforgettable memoir of long-distance running, Moore is one of the few to address the Venn diagram of Blackness and long-distance running. Apropos of Running is an essential testament to the persistence and power of Black marathon runners and how one man transformed his life and the sport of running just by showing up at the starting line time after time.
Moore (author of The Black Market) delivers a penetrating memoir of his journey to become a world-class marathoner. “As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to win at everything” Moore writes, though he did not start running until age 40. That later-in-life start never slowed him down, however, and he shares with readers his intense path to completing over 20 marathons in a handful of years, including the prestigious Abbott World Marathon Majors—six marathons in Berlin, Boston, Chicago, London, New York, and Tokyo. As he digs into the behind-the-scenes training that went into each race, Moore also hones in on his experiences as a Black runner, revealing the lack of diversity in the sport and his own efforts to change that.

The candid style that Moore uses to recount his own experiences is refreshing, as is his commitment to sharing the history behind marathoning. He chronicles the background of running as an “elitist” sport, covering notables who broke through the barriers—like Marilyn Bevans, the first Black woman to win a United States marathon—and shares his own rules to ensure he feels safe as a Black runner, including only running outside on an actual race day. Moore documents the statistics behind the sport as well, highlighting the shockingly low number of Black marathon finishers both in the United States and internationally.

For Moore, running is a way to challenge himself while connecting to a community—“not just a familiar face but of someone facing an uphill battle alongside me, facing the prospect of failure just as I was.” He details how, thanks to his competitive spirit, he finds and builds that community, even inspiring Black friends and family to take up the sport. Potential long distance runners—and those interested in the experience of Black marathoners—will embrace this inspiring memoir.

Takeaway: Inspiring memoir of competitive long distance running.

Comparable Titles: Alison Mariella Désir’s Running While Black, Meb Keflezighi and Scott Douglas’s 26 Marathons.

Production grades
Cover: B+
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: NA
Editing: B+
Marketing copy: A