Marathon Man

My 26.2-Mile Journey from Unknown Grad Student to the Top of the Running World

Bill Rodgers and Matthew Shepatin

Thomas Dunne Books

The legendary long-distance runner details his historic victory in the 1975 Boston Marathon that launched the modern running boom

Within a span of two hours and nine minutes, Bill Rodgers went from obscurity to legend, from Bill Rodgers to "Boston Billy." In doing so, he instantly became the people’s champ and the poster boy for the soulful 1970s distance runner. Having won the Boston Marathon and New York Marathon four times each, he remains the only marathoner to have appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated twice. Winning the Holy Grail of marathons in an unthinkable record time changed Bill’s life forever.

But his dramatic breakthrough in Boston also changed the lives of countless others, instilling in other American runners the belief that they could follow in his footsteps, and inspiring thousands of regular people to lace up their shoes and chase down their own dreams. In the year before Rodger’s victory at the 1975 Boston Marathon, 20,000 people had completed a marathon in the United States. By 2009, participants reached nearly half a million.

Thirty-seven years later Bill Rodgers still possesses the same warm, endearing, and whimsical spirit that turned him into one of America's most beloved athletes. In Marathon Man he details for the first time this historic race and the events that led him there.


Read an Excerpt


The Teachings of Amby Burfoot
APRIL 21, 1975
For weeks, I had prayed for mild conditions on race day, but prepared mentally for any type of weather. There was nothing more fickle than Mother Nature around April in New England. Would I have to run the Boston Marathon in a snow squall like those poor racers in 1961? Would I have to brave a torrential downpour like the one that greeted competitors in 1970? Or would I have to endure the sweltering heat that brutalized runners in 1909—a race that earned the nickname “the Inferno”


Praise for Marathon Man

"I’ve been reading Bill Rodgers’ book, Marathon Man, and they let him go. And I tried to visualize that, race the way he did."-- Meb Keflezighi, moments after winning the 2014 Boston Marathon

*New York Post Required Reading*

"This book is more than a good read. It’s my new Bible."

“An absorbing portrait…of the grueling stress and subtle strategizing of long-distance races, and of the plucky, slapdash subculture of marathoning in its salad days.”
Publishers Weekly

“Bill Rodgers is the most celebrated men's distance runner in history.”
—National Distance Running Hall of Fame

“If anyone can rally runners to a cause, it is Rodgers, who remains by some measures the most popular road racer of all time”
Runners World

“Trace the popularity of road running today, and the roots lead back to Rodgers.”
South Bend Tribune

“I could see reading this book on the beach and being inspired to do an afternoon run.”
—Ross Martinson, co-owner of Philadelphia Runner writing for BeWellPhilly.com’s Summer Reading List

In the Press

‘Marathon Man: My 26.2-Mile Journey from Unknown Grad Student to the Top of the Running World’ - The Washington Post
In “Marathon Man” Bill Rodgers recounts his running life and winning the 1975 Boston Marathon
- The Washington Post

Reviews from Goodreads



  • Bill Rodgers and Matthew Shepatin

  • A four-time winner of the Boston and NYC Marathons, BILL RODGERS holds five current American records and one current world record. A spokesperson for the Etonic Shoe Company, Running Times and the Bill Rodgers Running Center, he was inducted into the National Distance Running Hall of Fame in 1998.

    MATTHEW SHEPATIN has written for the New York Post, Esquire, PlayboyNew York Magazine, The Village Voice, and co-authored You Can't Catch Sunshine with Jets Hall of Famer Don Maynard.

  • Bill Rodgers
    Bill Rodgers
  • Matthew Shepatin © Manon Roux
    Matthew Shepatin


Available Formats and Book Details

Marathon Man

My 26.2-Mile Journey from Unknown Grad Student to the Top of the Running World

Bill Rodgers and Matthew Shepatin



Thomas Dunne Books