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Maggie Mertens, Better Faster Farther: How Running Changed Everything We Know About Women

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Thu, 06/20/2024 - 6:00pm to 7:00pm
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Village Books
1200 11th St.
Bellingham, WA 98225
We're thrilled to welcome award-winning journalist Maggie Mertens and her conversation partner Megan Burbank to the Readings Gallery as she shatters misconceptions about women's athleticism!

More than a century ago, a woman ran in the very first modern Olympic marathon. She just did it without permission.


Despite women proving their abilities on the track time and again, men in the medical establishment, media, and athletic associations have fought to keep women (or at least white women) fragile--and sometimes literally tried to push them out of the race (see Kathrine Switzer, Boston Marathon, 1967). Yet before there were running shoes for women, they ran barefoot or in nursing shoes. They ran without sports bras, which weren't invented until 1977, or disguised as men. They faced down doctors who put them on bed rest and newspaper reports that said women collapsed if they ran a mere eight hundred meters, just two laps around the track. Still today, women face relentless attention to their bodies: Is she too strong, too masculine? Is she even really a woman?


Mertens transports us from that first boundary-breaking marathon in Greece, 1896, to the earliest "official" women's races of the twentieth century to today's most intense ultramarathons like the infamous Spine Race, whose current record holder is a woman. By a lot.


For readers of Good and Mad, Born to Run, and Fly Girls, Better Faster Farther takes us inside the lives and the victories of the women who have redefined society's image of strength and power.


Maggie Mertens is a writer, journalist, and editor located in Seattle. Her essays and reporting have appeared in The Atlantic, NPR, Sports Illustrated, ESPNw, Deadspin, VICE, The Cut, Glamour, Pacific Standard, Refinery29, and Creative Nonfiction, among others. Her work has also appeared in The Year's Best Sports Writing 2021 (Triumph Books), Women and Sports in the United States (The University of Chicago Press), and has been nominated for the 2021 Dan Jenkins Medal for Excellence in Sportswriting. She earned a B.A. in English Literature and Italian Studies from Smith College, and an M.F.A. in Creative-Nonfiction Writing from The New School.


Megan Burbank is an award-winning journalist based in Seattle. She specializes in enterprise reporting on abortion policy in the absence of Roe v. Wade, which she covers for local and national outlets. Before going full-time freelance, she worked as a reporter and editor at The Portland Mercury and The Seattle Times. Her work can be found at NPR, Axios, The New Republic, Cascade PBS, The Stranger, and daily papers, NPR affiliates, and alternative newsweeklies across the country.
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Better Faster Farther: How Running Changed Everything We Know About Women By Maggie Mertens Cover Image
ISBN: 9781643753355
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Algonquin Books - June 18th, 2024