Known by fans as “The Penguin” for his back-of-the-pack speed, John Bingham is the unlikely hero of the modern running boom. In his new book An Accidental Athlete, the best-selling author and magazine columnist recalls his childhood dreams of athletic glory, sedentary years of unhealthy excess, and a life-changing transformation from couch potato to “adult-onset athlete.”
Overweight, uninspired, and saddled with a pack-and-a-half-a-day smoking habit, Bingham found himself firmly wedged into a middle-age slump. Then two frightening trips to the emergency room and a conversation with a happy piano tuner led him to discover running and changed his life for the better.
In turns inspiring, poignant, hilarious, and heartbreaking, An Accidental Athlete is a warm and engaging book for the everyday athlete. Bingham tells stories of the joys of running; the pride of the finisher’s medal, a bureau-busting t-shirt collection, intense back-of-the-pack strategizing. An Accidental Athlete is about one man’s discovery that middle age was not the finish line after all, but only the beginning.
6″ x 9″, 216 pp., $16.95, 9781934030738
“The Penguin does it again! An Accidental Athlete is a charming, witty and relatable tale of John finding himself through running. In this great book he shares his journey with us one stride and two laughs at a time.” — Deena Kastor, American marathon record holder, Olympic medalist, and 12-time national champion
“John Bingham is Edward Abbey, Frank Shorter, Brad Pitt, and George Carlin all wrapped in one. John as writer has a lesson or tale in all his adventures.” — Bart Yasso, Runner’s World magazine
“Looking for some motivation to start running and improve your fitness? You’re sure to find some inspiration from John Bingham’s new memoir An Accidental Athlete.” — ESPN.com
“Most of us can truly identify with John Bingham’s story: There are no gold medals, no laurel wreaths, no world records. But John shows us that we have something more important: a chance, if we have the will and believe in ourselves.” — Dave McGillivray, Boston Marathon race director
“In An Accidental Athlete, Bingham…describes his journey from a clumsy wannabe-athlete kid to the realization of a dream: that by being a runner, especially a back-of-the-packer, you are truly an athlete…Bingham’s witty, engaging prose will [provide] you with a few hours of delightful distraction.” — Canadian Running magazine
“John ‘The Penguin’ Bingham has touched a nerve with runners worldwide like no one in the last decade. He’s funny but serious, informal but inspirational.” — Amby Burfoot, Runner’s World magazine
“For anyone who might feel overwhelmed or overly fond of couch time, John Bingham’s charming memoir can help….[Bingham’s] sense of humor…adds to the sweet appeal of the story, providing enough encouragement to anyone looking to exercise more.” — ForeWord magazine
“This charming, gently funny autobiography from the big-hearted Bingham is a testament to hangin’ in there…If more people were like him, where each event, run, mile, step is a celebration, the world would be a better-and healthier-place.” — Library Journal
“Bingham uses a great knack for storytelling, and some really funny examples, in his new book about becoming a middle-aged athlete…Some of the best stories (perhaps because I can relate to them) are those of the real racing done at the back of the pack.” — TriMadNess