Book Review: Stephen F. Balsamo’s “Marathon Journey, An Achilles Story”

April 14, 2014

MarathonJourneyReview written by Wayne Buckley

Stephen F. Balsamo’s Marathon Journey, An Achilles Story is not so much a tale just for runners but for those who embrace and are uplifted by tales of courage and the overcoming of obstacles physical and emotional.

By intertwining characters from three generations and two continents, he draws the reader into the experience of Adamu, one of the “Lost Boys of Sudan.”

Adamu’s tale begins in an idyllic childhood in his native land, and ends, through a series of events, from the brutal to the sublime, on the streets of New York City, almost improbably (given the initial setting of the tale), at the finish line of the New York City marathon. Balsamo incorporates real-life events and people with his own characters.

The story line gathers momentum as it builds to its’ climax. It reveals Balsamo’s affection for, and respect of, competitors in life, as well as on the competitive roads of The Big Apple in this all-too brief tale.

Balsamo’s descriptions of the NYC Marathon as viewed through the eyes of his characters will doubtlessly stir memories in readers who have participated in that now-world famous event.

During his journey from Africa to America, Adamu is exposed to the worst and best that humanity offers and must find, within himself, the essence of a marathoner: endurance, the internal fiber to overcome tragedy, the humility to accept charity, and ultimately, the courage to step outside what one sees as their known world.


The Afterword to Marathon Journey, An Achilles Story is written by Dick Traum, who is the first person to complete a marathon with a prosthetic leg and founder of Achilles International, a running club which seeks to enable people with all types of disabilities to participate in events such as marathons to promote personal achievement and to enhance self-esteem. Mr. Traum was an inspiration to Canadian hero, Terry Fox to run his “Marathon of Hope.”

Click here to purchase Marathon Journey, An Achilles Story through Amazon.

The 27th Mile

June 24, 2013

27thcover-220wMarathon & Beyond contributor Ray Charbonneau is the editor of The 27th Mile, a new anthology of articles, stories, and poems about running and runners: http://the27th

The book is $12.99 for the paperback and $4.99 for the e-book. ALL proceeds from sales of The 27th Mile will go to The One Fund Boston to support the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing.

The 27th Mile includes a mix of fiction and non-fiction contributed by a wide range of talented writers who run. They’re marathon champions and weekend warriors, ultramarathon racers and fitness joggers, running magazine pros and bloggers, bestselling novelists and indie publishing standouts, people like Joe Henderson, Amby Burfoot, Ben Tanzer, Kathrine Switzer, and Lawrence Block.

Within the book, you’ll find stories that extol the spirit that first got us out on the roads to run, that brought us to Boston on a sunny spring day, and that will bring us back to Hopkinton next year, and in the years that follow. It’s the spirit we celebrate every time we go for a run, whatever the distance.

It’s a great book for everyone who, even as they eat dinner with their family, put in another eight hours at work, or sit and read the book, have already planned when they’ll go out for their next run. Get your copy today!

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