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Book Review :: The Longest Race by Kara Goucher

The Longest Race by Kara Goucher book cover image

Guest Post by Kevin Brown

In this memoir, The Longest Race, Kara Goucher, with Mary Pilson, tells the story of how she became a world-class runner, focusing on her time at the Nike Oregon Project. Goucher talks about the mental abuse she endured as a woman, especially the intense scrutiny of her weight and appearance, but also her pregnancy. She was in the program during the doping scandals of the early part of the century, which later led her to testify against her former coach and teammates. She endured sexual harassment and assault on several occasions. Throughout all of this mental and sexual abuse, she was trying to be one of the best runners in America and the world. Goucher’s memoir reveals the realities of what has happened at the top of various sports throughout the past few decades, especially the ways people in power have abused and ignored women. As Pilson writes in the introduction, “If you’ve ever bought a shirt or pair of shoes with a swoosh, you need to know this story. If you’ve ever tuned in to watch an Olympic final, a World Series, a Super Bowl, or any other professional sporting event, you need to know this story.” Even non-runners need to know this story.

The Longest Race by Kara Goucher. Gallery Books, March 2023.

Reviewer bio: Kevin Brown has published three books of poetry: Liturgical Calendar: Poems (Wipf and Stock); A Lexicon of Lost Words (winner of the Violet Reed Haas Prize for Poetry, Snake Nation Press); and Exit Lines (Plain View Press). He also has a memoir, Another Way: Finding Faith, Then Finding It Again, and a book of scholarship, They Love to Tell the Stories: Five Contemporary Novelists Take on the Gospels. Twitter @kevinbrownwrite or kevinbrownwrites.weebly.com/.

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