The monikers drunk, addict, abuser, and boozehound were Caleb Daniloff’s for fifteen years. Now, the introduction that fits him best is My name is Caleb and I am a runner.
In Running Ransom Road, Daniloff, many years sober, confronts his past by setting out, over the course of eighteen months, to run marathons in the cities where he once lived and wreaked havoc. Competing from Boston to New York, Vermont to Moscow, Daniloff explores the sobering and inspiring effects of running as he traverses the trails of his former self, lined with dark bars, ratty apartments, lost loves, and lost chances. With each race he comes to understand who he is, and by extension who he was, and he finds he is not alone. There are countless souls in sneakers running away from something, or better, running past and through whatever it is that haunts them.
In this powerful story of ruin, running, and redemption, Daniloff illuminates the connection between running and addiction and shows that the road to recovery is an arduous but conquerable one. Strapping on a pair of Nikes won’t banish all your demons, but it can play an important role in maintaining a clean life. For Daniloff, sweat, strained lungs, and searing muscles are among the paving stones of empowerment, and, if he’s lucky, perhaps even self-forgiveness.
About Caleb Daniloff
Caleb Daniloff has written for Runner’s World and The Boston Globe. He has been a commentator on Vermont Public Radio and contributed to NPR’s All Things Considered. Recipient of the 2005 Ralph Nading Hill, Jr. Literary Prize, he runs thirty to forty miles a week.
After nearly 10 years on the wagon, writes the author, “the anxieties and insecurities I’d tried to cover up with booze still remained.” However, he found a “new central pattern to his life” when he took up competitive distance running, and here he chronicles the long slog back, accomplished one step at a time. It started when he found the strength to begin to fight to keep his relationship with his wife and her child, which he did “out of fear. To not be alone.” Running seemed like a metaphor for getting his life under control. There was a buildup, but the training, exercise, diet and health requirements provided the structure he sought. During the course of more than a year in 2009 and 2010, he ran in seven races, five of them marathons. Each one provided a purpose and a kind of exorcism through exercise. In an engaging voice, the author brings the courses alive for readers. He replicates the physical demands of running such courses and the barriers, mental and physical, that need to be broken through to get to the finishing line. He interweaves the story of each race with memories and dialogue from the past, and he is candid about his childhood problems and his competition with his marathon-running father. At the end of the Marine Corps Marathon in 2010, when he realized that he had “no one to answer to any more but me,” Daniloff could move on. – Kirkus Reviews
Running Toward Redemption On ‘Ransom Road’
NPR Book Review – October 23, 2012 (Excerpt)
Meet a man with a powerful addiction — to running. Caleb Daniloff says he believes the sport saved him from addictions that were far worse, and he’s written a new book, called Running Ransom Road: Confronting the Past, One Marathon at a Time, about his experiences.
Daniloff has run some familiar marathons — New York and Boston — but he’s also been to a place not famous for outdoor running: Moscow.
“The water was rationed, when we were running,” Daniloff tells NPR’s David Greene. “What happened is that there was also a 10K race, and so, they didn’t want the 10K runners drinking up the marathon runners’ water, so no one got water until after the 10K … until after six miles.” Farther along, Daniloff passed a water station along the race course offering not water or energy supplements, but black bread, salt, and hot tea — not exactly what marathoners need as they pass the 22nd mile. [Read the full article...]
THE BLEEDING HILLS A Novel by Wilfried F. Voss
I have fought a good fight,
I have finished my course,
I have kept the faith. - 2 Timothy iv. 7
The Irish War is officially a part of history, but not for Finnean Whelan, an IRA veteran of almost 40 years. British Intelligence has produced evidence that he is the mastermind behind a conspiracy to assassinate the First Minister of Northern Ireland. For Whelan this is not only a mission of revenge, but marks the beginning of a journey into the past and the return to the one true love: Ireland. [More...]
We are the only country that makes guns, including military-style assault weapons, available to anyone who wants to buy them. This is not freedom. It is a tyranny of death and destruction — a tyranny of which the National Rifle Association is proud. The Washington Post
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