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Oct 24, 2014

Guest Blog Post by local runner and author, Mark Matthews

Hey all, I met Mark a couple years back from blogging and local events here in the Detroit area.  I did a review of his book(HERE), "On the Lips of Children" and he's offered to do a guest blog post for me.  His specialty is fear and running so here you go, this is a great time of the season for it.  Enjoy!

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It’s October. Fear is in the air. And not just because of Halloween, but because of all those fall marathons. (Or, in the case of Detroit Runner, Fall 50ks)

Marathon and fears go hand in hand, and facing these fears is part of what makes the run so triumphant.  

Just to show up marathon morning is to face the fear. Dreams of thousands hang on the precipice of the starting line. Doesn’t matter how many you’ve run. There's fear that you won't run your goal, fear of that little injury you have and if it will flare up.  Fear of not finishing, fear of embarrassment; fear your dreams will be squashed. Did you wear the right thing? you have to pee, you may throw up, you ate too much, not enough, will you curl up into your safe ball of comfort when that gargantuan test is put before you? Can you hack it when the heat of the event starts to boil all of your fears and truths to the surface? If you can’t finish this thing, doesn’t it make your whole existence a bit less powerful than it was before?

It’s primordial and filthy stuff, and you won't come away unchanged. 

“The scariest part is always just before you start,” said Stephen King, and this holds true in the starting chute of a marathon. But once you are on the course, fear fades and you can finally fight. That fight is about much more than just the run. It’s about proving you are up for the challenge.

When I wrote “On the Lips of Children” I had these fears in mind. In the story, the stakes of not succeeding become much more than just the race. The race, in fact, never happens. Instead, it all becomes something much more horrific due to some strange circumstances that appear during a Saturday shake-out run. The question becomes, as one reviewer puts it; “How far would you go to save your family from hell?”

Check out On the Lips of Children, from Books of the Dead Press. A 2014 Best Kindle Book Awards semi-finalist.  The running trail in the story actually exists. I know, because I ran it one dark morning at 4:30 am on vacation. 

Randy Step from Running Fit: "A very dark read that will haunt you on your next dark run! Not for everyone ... but I could not put it down! Mark nails the runner's mentality and how a hard run at a time you should be tapering can lead to more trouble than ruining your race"  Randy Step, co-owner of Running Fit

“Any urban runner can attest to the flighty, nervous feeling one gets when running under an ‘occupied’ underpass or down a poorly lit trail. Author Mark Matthews does an excellent job of juxtaposing the process of painful struggle, growth, and rebirth associated with distance running and body art with the real life fight for survival in this book.”
Mark Matthews running the Boston Marathon
Mark Matthews is a 13 time marathoner and  blogs at Writing, Running, and Chasing the Dragon. Besides On the Lips of Children, he is also the author of MILK-BLOOD, Chasing the Dragon: Running to Get High, The Jade Rabbit, and STRAY.

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Hope you enjoyed Mark's post!  Check out his book.  You'll never run in the dark the same way again.

Have a great day and....Keep Running!!!!

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