In the first book on this tragic event, 4:09:43, Hal Higdon, a contributing editor at Runner’s World, tells the tale of Boston 2013. The book’s title refers to the numbers on the finish-line clock when the first bomb exploded. In 4:09:43, Higdon views Boston 2013 through the eyes of those running the race, focusing on 75 runners and their individual stories, collected uniquely through social media: blogs posted online, stories offered on Facebook, and e-mails sent to the author.
In 4:09:43, Higdon presents these stories, condensing and integrating them 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. “These are not 75 separate stories,” says Higdon. “This is one story told as it might have been by a single runner with 75 pairs of eyes.”
One warning about reading 4:09:43: You will cry. But you will laugh too, because for most of those who covered the 26 miles 385 yards from Hopkinton to Boylston Street, this was a joyous journey. In future years as people look back on the Boston Marathon bombings, 4:09:43 will be the book that everyone will need to have read.
Learn more about the book by viewing the trailer.
“Hal Higdon’s book 4:09:43 is full of inspiring personal stories that reflect how running’s worst day may also have been its best.”
Boston Marathon Champion
Editor at Large, Runner’s World
“We realize while reading the marathoners’ own words why they will not be stopped by the bombings that took place. It’s simple: Love is stronger than hate.”
Four-Time Boston and NYC Marathon Champion
Gripping, sensitive, and inspiring..."
Former Executive Director of the Boston Athletic Association
Organizer of the Boston Marathon, 1985 to 2012
“The Boston bombings broke the hearts of runners everywhere but only reinforced their spirit. Through the stories of some who were actually there, Hal Higdon tells how ordinary runners like us have become indomitable examples to the whole world.”
First woman to officially run the Boston Marathon
Longtime TV commentator on the event
Author of Marathon Woman
"Higdon’s account avoids the political sensationalizing of the events of April 15, 2013. Instead, he tells the story of Boston through the eyes of dozens of participants, revealing what the event means to hundreds of thousands of runners and how the explosions of that day burst into this iconic event and experience. Read this book if you love Boston."
Editor in Chief, Running Times
"I was there on April 15, 2013, a hundred yards beyond the finish line, when the bombs changed an annual ritual of personal achievement into a horror show. But I didn’t see everything there was to see, didn’t understand all the stories of bravery and loss happening on Boylston Street that day. No one person could, which is why this book is so valuable. It’s the closest we can come to having been everywhere on that one terrible, miraculous day."
Host of NPR’s Wait Wait... Don’t Tell Me
2013 Boston Marathon Finisher
“Hal Higdon in 4:09:43 proves that the Boston Marathon consists of every runner in the race and every spectator along the course—and when you attack even one, you attack all.”
Boston Marathon Race Director
“I can think of no one better equipped than Hal Higdon to tell this story. It is a story of the special kinship of all of us who have run that final straightaway down Boylston Street toward the finish of the Boston Marathon. And it is the story of how those two explosions were instantly and instinctively felt—from whatever distance we experienced them—to be an attack on all of us. This is an amazing story, skillfully woven together by one of our sport’s great chroniclers.”
Author of Once a Runner
“Hal Higdon uses social media and personal correspondence to compile a powerful narrative for the tragic 2013 Boston Marathon. The collection of essays in 4:09:43 is a tribute to a marathon that Higdon knows deeply."
Author of Running in Literature
“He’s run Boston 18 times with a PR of 2:21 and best finish of fifth place. He wrote the definitive history about the race, Boston: A Century of Running, as well as countless articles. His training programs have helped thousands of runners qualify for Boston. Now Hal has called on that long lifetime of experience to help us understand the events of the day and the bombing’s aftermath. For runners everywhere it is a must-read.”
Author of Heart Rate Training and Precision Running