running the edge book review
Review of “Running the Edge”
by Tim Catalano and Adam Goucher


Running the Edge does not offer a 10K training plan or tips for completing your first ultramarathon, but its sage advice from its co-authors, professional runner Adam Goucher and psychology teacher and coach Tim Catalano, can take your running to new heights.

From page one, Running the Edge differs from any other running book in your library. It opens with Goucher’s raw description of his broken childhood home, neglectful parents and the night he witnessed a boy shoot himself in the head.

Considering his rough start in life, it would be understandable for a kid like Goucher to end up a drug-numbed, high-school dropout. Rather, after that tragic night involving drunken teens and a loaded gun, Goucher committed to elevating himself above his circumstances and doing great things with his life. One of those great things was running, and he went on to become a national champion, a Nike-sponsored athlete and an Olympian.Running the Edge book cover

How do some people manage to harness their energy and ambition into carving out a path of personal greatness while others passively accept life’s lot and let their dreams slip away?

Goucher and Catalano answer that question by exploring how running provides the tools for improving all aspects of life: “’Running the edge’ is a metaphor for using the energy and lessons found in running to make you successful in your other life stories.

The “edge” represents your maximum potential and highest aspirations, whether they be in running or your education,  career, family, friendships or other passions.”

This exploration is centered around the concept of a “distance maven”, or someone who constantly chases an ideal in pursuit of perfection. They define a distance mavens those who “wish to test their limits and discover their maximum potential not only as runners but also as human beings.”

Weaving together examples from their own lives in professional running, teaching, coaching and fatherhood, Goucher and Catalano hold up six “mirrors” or character traits by which to identify your personal strengths and weaknesses.

How would you rate yourself when it comes to taking initiative?
Do you take responsibility for your actions?
Are you a person of integrity?
How determined are you to reach  goals?
Do you adapt easily to new situations?
Are you personable in your relationships?

Armed with a clearer picture of who you are versus who you’d like to be, the authors challenge you to apply the life lessons cultivated through running to other life areas. Just as the they dared one other to tests of endurance during their college days, Goucher and Catalano challenge you to take action today to improve the parts of your life that hold you back from reaching your full potential.

Peppered throughout the book are testimonies from champion runners Paula Radcliffe, Kara Goucher, Dathan Ritzenhein and many others who took such action.

However, unlike a race with a definitive finish line, the journey to becoming distance maven-like is a life-long process whose goal is greater self-awareness and understanding that you have the power to succeed–not only in running–but all areas of life.

I’m highly recommending this book to my friends–runners and non-runners alike–because of its relevant insights and entertaining stories. Check out what others are saying about this book at and follow them on Facebook at to get a daily dose of inspiration to keep you on the distance maven path.