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How a Best-Selling Author Used Social Media to Document the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombings

In His First Book Since the Tragedy, Best-Selling Author Hal Higdon Offers a Look at the Events From the Unique Vantage Point of the Runners

CHAMPAIGN, IL--(Marketwired - March 11, 2014) - No one had a better view of the events of April 15, 2013, than the actual runners participating in the 117th Boston Marathon. That's the reason Runner's World contributing editor Hal Higdon chose to look at Boston 2013 from the perspective of those running the race. 4:09:43 - Boston 2013 Through the Eyes of the Runners (Human Kinetics, March 2014) focuses on 75 runners and their individual stories, collected uniquely through social media -- blogs posted online, stories offered on Facebook, and e-mails sent to Higdon himself. "What I feel is unique about 4:09:43 is that it may be the first book about a major sporting event researched through social media," he says.

Higdon, recently named by USA Today as one of America's "Most-Recognized Runners/Running Personalities," says the book's storytellers had been participants in Boston's most historic marathon, people who were there when the bombs went off and would remember what they were doing when they heard the explosions or heard of the explosions. Among the participants were finished runners back at their hotels, finished runners still working their way through the "land of foods and fluids," unfinished runners on Boylston Street who both saw and felt the explosions, and unfinished runners blocked from access to what had become a crime scene. "They began to offer their stories, not to reporters but to friends and family through the Internet," Higdon explains. "Because I have a large presence in cyberspace, those runners soon began to share their stories with me on Facebook, offering links to their blogs on my page. I became a conduit for their first-person stories, many of those stories riveting!"

As the blog links multiplied on Higdon's page, "Hal Higdon's Marathon," he began to visualize what would become 4:09:43, collecting the stories into a smooth-flowing narrative that begins with runners boarding the buses at Boston Common, continues with the wait at the Athletes' Village in Hopkinton, and flows through eight separate towns. The story does not end until the 23,000 participants encounter the terror on Boylston Street. "I visualized a book that would not merely reprint the stories of 75 runners, it would tell the story as though there were a single, mythical runner with 75 pairs of eyes," Higdon says. During a career that has seen him publish three dozen books as an author and journalist, including the best-selling Marathon: The Ultimate Training Guide, Higdon considers 4:09:43 to be his best work.

4:09:43which refers to the numbers on the finish-line clock when the first bomb exploded, weaves the stories of 75 runners into gripping, yet sensitive narrative that captures both the triumph of marathon running and the tragedy of the bombing.

To schedule an interview with Hal Higdon about 4:09:43 and to receive a review copy of the book, please contact Maurey Williamson at [email protected] or (800) 747-4457, ext. 7890.

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