The author ran the race as a "bandit", a fact that you don't discover until you buy the book (it is not stated anywhere on the book cover, reviews, etc.) In fact, Amazon states: "About the Author ...MICHAEL CONNELLY competed in the 1996 Boston marathon." This is simply a false statement. Legitimately qualifying for Boston is an integral part of competing, and the author did not do that. He did not "compete" in the Boston marathon any more than I "competed" in the U.S. Open by playing golf as a tourist at Pebble Beach (a frequent U.S. Open site). This taints the entire book and made me (as someone who has legitimately qualified for Boston) feel cheated (I am going to request a refund from Amazon on the basis of false advertising).
Now, I recognize that the BAA has more or less allowed bandits to run the course over the years. As such, it might not have been that bad if the author had simply stated something along the following lines: he respects the talent and effort it takes to qualify and he recognizes that, since he has not done so, his participation is not the same as a legitimate qualifier, but he is nevertheless giving his experiences as a first time marathoner, not as someone who has properly trained and qualified for Boston. But, the author makes no such statement.
In fact, the author berates Marty Liquori for suggesting that bandits should not be allowed to run. Here's an excerpt from the book (p. 43):
"Listen Marty, you're our guest. So mind your manners, pick up your check, and watch the race. When I cross that finish line some twenty-six miles down the road, not with a number but with the storied history of the Boston Marathon in my blood, then I will consider myself qualified! (By the way, Marty, a little fun fact for you: You and I are tied with the same number of Boston Marathon championships.)"
Give me a break. This statement is not only completely obnoxious, it also embarrasingly demonstrates a complete ignorance of running, as Marty Liquori was a middle distance runner (and an outstanding one at that), not a marathoner. Here's fun fact for Michael: your claimed time of 4:30 (p. 237) was more than an hour slower that the qualifying standard for your age. (I guess, by Michael's logic, when I completed the 18th hole at Pebble Beach, I qualified for the U.S. Open.) If there was any doubt before, that should be enough for anyone to reject the book.
But wait, it gets even worse. After completing the course, the author states the following (p. 261):
"I had arrived home safe and sound. Twenty-four hours before, I had walked out of that door a different man. Now I was the proud owner of a Boston Marathon medal and all the physical and mental benefits that come with it."
That is a flat out lie (or the author is delusional), as everyone knows that only legitimate qualifiers (who finish) are given medals, and again is highly insulting to all legitimate qualifiers/finishers.
If anyone is still considering buying the book, there is one other thing that you should be aware of. A good part of the author's description of his "experience" in running the course involves describing how he faced excruciating pain and/or a nearly overwhelming urge to quit at numerous points in the race, but someone he managed to overcome those and keep going to the finish, and how he was suffering after the finish (e.g., "As I walked down the street, with two mylar blankers taped around me like capes, a well meaning girl offered me a PowerBar. I fel like saying 'I don't need a PowerBar. I need to be read my last rites!'")
First of all, after a while, this stuff just becomes constant whining. More importantly, all of this "pain and suffering" was likely due to insufficient training on the part of the author. Apparently, up to six months before the race, he had done essentially no running and not a whole lot of exercise of any type (p. 7). Then, in late October 1995, he had heart surgery and apparently nearly died (p. 11). He then starting limited training in about mid-November (p. 12). Plus, the winter in New England was particular severe that year (p. 43). How could he have possibly done the proper amount of training to run Boston in April 1996? It appears that the author simply had no business running the course and, thereby, "suffered" more than a properly trained runner. Yet, he never admits to his lack of proper training. (Note: he claims to have run 4:30, but he provides no evidence to support that claim.)
Again, this ties back to his being a bandit. As a bandit who had not properly trained, his "experience" is simply not representative of the experience of a properly trained, legitimate qualifier.
You wouldn't buy a book about running by Rosie Ruiz. Don't buy this one either.