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Reborn on the Run: My Journey from Addiction to Ultramarathons

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"This is a story you’ll love and never forget."—Christopher McDougall, author, Born to Run and Natural Born Heroes Aside from her rock star looks, Catra Corbett is a standout in the running world on her accomplishments alone. Catra is the first American woman to run over one hundred miles or more on more than one hundred occasions and the first to run one hundred and two hu "This is a story you’ll love and never forget."—Christopher McDougall, author, Born to Run and Natural Born Heroes Aside from her rock star looks, Catra Corbett is a standout in the running world on her accomplishments alone. Catra is the first American woman to run over one hundred miles or more on more than one hundred occasions and the first to run one hundred and two hundred miles in the Ohlone Wilderness, and she holds the fastest known double time for the 425-miles long John Muir Trail, completing it in twelve days, four hours, and fifty-seven minutes. And, unbelievably, she's also a former meth addict. After two years of addiction, Catra is busted while selling, and a night in jail is enough to set her straight. She gives up drugs and moves back home with her mother, abandoning her friends, her boyfriend, and the lifestyle that she came to depend on. Her only clean friend pushes her to train for a 10K with him, and surprisingly, she likes it—and decides to run her first marathon after that. In Reborn on the Run, the reader keeps pace with Catra as she runs through difficult terrain and extreme weather, is stalked by animals in the wilderness, and nearly dies on a training run but continues on, smashing running records and becoming one of the world's best ultrarunners. Along the way she attempts suicide, loses loved ones, falls in love, has her heartbroken, meets lifelong friends including her running partner and dachshund TruMan, and finally faces the past that led to her addiction.


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"This is a story you’ll love and never forget."—Christopher McDougall, author, Born to Run and Natural Born Heroes Aside from her rock star looks, Catra Corbett is a standout in the running world on her accomplishments alone. Catra is the first American woman to run over one hundred miles or more on more than one hundred occasions and the first to run one hundred and two hu "This is a story you’ll love and never forget."—Christopher McDougall, author, Born to Run and Natural Born Heroes Aside from her rock star looks, Catra Corbett is a standout in the running world on her accomplishments alone. Catra is the first American woman to run over one hundred miles or more on more than one hundred occasions and the first to run one hundred and two hundred miles in the Ohlone Wilderness, and she holds the fastest known double time for the 425-miles long John Muir Trail, completing it in twelve days, four hours, and fifty-seven minutes. And, unbelievably, she's also a former meth addict. After two years of addiction, Catra is busted while selling, and a night in jail is enough to set her straight. She gives up drugs and moves back home with her mother, abandoning her friends, her boyfriend, and the lifestyle that she came to depend on. Her only clean friend pushes her to train for a 10K with him, and surprisingly, she likes it—and decides to run her first marathon after that. In Reborn on the Run, the reader keeps pace with Catra as she runs through difficult terrain and extreme weather, is stalked by animals in the wilderness, and nearly dies on a training run but continues on, smashing running records and becoming one of the world's best ultrarunners. Along the way she attempts suicide, loses loved ones, falls in love, has her heartbroken, meets lifelong friends including her running partner and dachshund TruMan, and finally faces the past that led to her addiction.

30 review for Reborn on the Run: My Journey from Addiction to Ultramarathons

  1. 5 out of 5

    Paul C. Stalder

    One of the hardest books to rate due to the vast dichotomies within. This book is at once inspiring and incredibly boring. Motivating, yet depressing. Easy to read, but extremely poorly written. I enjoyed getting to know Catra and hearing her story out of addiction. But the subtitle is slightly misleading, as most of this work focuses on all the so-called "epic shit" that she has accomplished. And yes, she has done amazing, even epic things. But this is not a story about her overcoming addiction One of the hardest books to rate due to the vast dichotomies within. This book is at once inspiring and incredibly boring. Motivating, yet depressing. Easy to read, but extremely poorly written. I enjoyed getting to know Catra and hearing her story out of addiction. But the subtitle is slightly misleading, as most of this work focuses on all the so-called "epic shit" that she has accomplished. And yes, she has done amazing, even epic things. But this is not a story about her overcoming addiction, so much as it is her conquering the running world. Perhaps the two go hand in hand for her, but the reader looking primarily for insight on her journey out of addiction will be disappointed. Now to the rating. I enjoyed this book more than two stars suggest, but simply cannot give anything more to such a poorly written and edited work. The sentences are shockingly repetitive; essentially word for word at points. The grammer is horrendous, remenicient of a grade school essay. The syntax is dull and uninspiring. If it were not for the nature of the story being told, this book would fall completly flat. All of this critiques would be forgivable, but for a few damning facts. First, Catra did not write this book alone. She had the help of a writer; a man who apparently makes a living off the written word. Second, Catra did not publish this book herself, but had a publishing house behind her. Where was the editor during this process? At the end of the day, read this book if you are looking for a good story, not a good read.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Sabine

    Being a runner myself I naturally read about Catra Corbett before she published her book. She is a very colourful and amazing ultra runner with a running resume that leaves me in awe. One day when I grow up I want to do some of the crazy things Catra does. Her book is inspiring and interesting. I love trail running so much and just like Catra in the beginning I am terrified of wildlife encounters. It is reassuring to read that she was able to get over her fear...so there is hope for me :) It was Being a runner myself I naturally read about Catra Corbett before she published her book. She is a very colourful and amazing ultra runner with a running resume that leaves me in awe. One day when I grow up I want to do some of the crazy things Catra does. Her book is inspiring and interesting. I love trail running so much and just like Catra in the beginning I am terrified of wildlife encounters. It is reassuring to read that she was able to get over her fear...so there is hope for me :) It was also interesting to read about her drug addiction and I can see that running can be a major contributor in helping to overcome an addiciton. Catra is a faszinating person and I very much enjoyed reading her book.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Angela

    I had a hard time with this rating. I admire Catra for her honesty about her struggles and experiences, but I had a very hard time getting past the editing errors. I found myself wondering if the book even had an editor. There were missing words and repeated words and sentences. Despite that, Catra’s story is very interesting and I loved the upbeat attitude that carried throughout the book and how she used the negative and sad parts of her life to fuel her to do amazing things.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ron S

    A post-addiction athletic memoir elevated by a kind, searching, thankful and unpretentious spirit. I should note that I'd never heard of, or seen, Ms Corbett prior to this book. It's interesting enough, if you enjoy memoirs written by interesting people leading unusual lives, on its own merits without coming to it as a fan, blog follower or ultra-runner. Having read an advance reader copy without photos, I did a google image search when I was finished out of curiosity, and since appearance is me A post-addiction athletic memoir elevated by a kind, searching, thankful and unpretentious spirit. I should note that I'd never heard of, or seen, Ms Corbett prior to this book. It's interesting enough, if you enjoy memoirs written by interesting people leading unusual lives, on its own merits without coming to it as a fan, blog follower or ultra-runner. Having read an advance reader copy without photos, I did a google image search when I was finished out of curiosity, and since appearance is mentioned near the end of the book. If the publisher has any sense, photos will be included in the retail edition.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Diana

    I love to run so it was hard for me to put this book down without wanting to go for a run. Inspirational! I have lots of thoughts in my head, need to work through them.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jenna

    I purchased this book after hearing such great things about it. I had an encounter with Catra at the 2013 San Francisco marathon expo. She was working a booth selling women's clothing. I got a really nasty look from her, that really had me feeling insecure. She is tiny, as she mentions often in this book. I am not. So even though I had this bad experience, which I still remember after all these years, I thought I'd give her book a shot. I wanted to like it. Perhaps if the editing had been better I purchased this book after hearing such great things about it. I had an encounter with Catra at the 2013 San Francisco marathon expo. She was working a booth selling women's clothing. I got a really nasty look from her, that really had me feeling insecure. She is tiny, as she mentions often in this book. I am not. So even though I had this bad experience, which I still remember after all these years, I thought I'd give her book a shot. I wanted to like it. Perhaps if the editing had been better, or even been edited at all?, I would have liked it more. The story was hard to follow at times. She says "at this point" a thousand times. Sometimes, she seemed like a really selfish person. It was a struggle to finish.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Chris Russell

    I get a lot of these running books because I'm in the 'game' so to speak. I have known or known of Catra for over a decade through the Running social networks. Always enjoyed her 'Dirt Diva' presence as she reported in from the trails. She makes quite a first impression on the social webs. Covered in ink, resplendent in piercings, and rocking some shocking pink outfit - And always, always bringing that ultra-runner attitude. Her new book is an easy read and it gives the backstory to this pixie t I get a lot of these running books because I'm in the 'game' so to speak. I have known or known of Catra for over a decade through the Running social networks. Always enjoyed her 'Dirt Diva' presence as she reported in from the trails. She makes quite a first impression on the social webs. Covered in ink, resplendent in piercings, and rocking some shocking pink outfit - And always, always bringing that ultra-runner attitude. Her new book is an easy read and it gives the backstory to this pixie trail avatar that we've all see for so many years. It was co-written and sometimes the prose goes a bit flat, but it's worth the investment. Every chapter could be it's own made-for-TV movie on the Lifetime channel. She walks, or runs, us through her transformation from a Goth-Meth-Addict-GoGo-Dancer to an accomplished ultra-runner. She has done some amazing feats of endurance and gives us a first person window into those happenings and into that world. Catra has learned to face living head on and celebrate the challenges. If you've got challenges in your life Catra's reporting of her continuing journey through life will resonate.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Anna

    There was a lot of repetition in the book which made it quite irritating to read. Also, I was hoping to read about HOW she manages to run so far so often, training, nutrition etc. but instead the book becomes a list of (amazing) accomplishments with very little detail about how they were achieved, except for occasional details of stuff that went wrong.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Barb

    So. Many. Typos. Not the most well written book which is fine. She's a runner, not a writer. But it does make reading it a bit challenging at times. A good story though, which if it had been told better (or by a better writer) would have been a 3 or 4 star book, IMO. So. Many. Typos. Not the most well written book which is fine. She's a runner, not a writer. But it does make reading it a bit challenging at times. A good story though, which if it had been told better (or by a better writer) would have been a 3 or 4 star book, IMO.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Max

    So inspirational! If you like ultrarunning, and kick ass ladies, you'll love this book. So inspirational! If you like ultrarunning, and kick ass ladies, you'll love this book.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Steve

    Running biased review incoming... I enjoy running books where the protagonist finds their rebirth, redemption, something through running. This book is no exception, Catra is one badass runner.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Daniel

    With a memoir, it's tough to separate the book from the author. In this case, the author is Catra Corbett, a runner in search of extremes. Everything about her life needs to be extreme. When she was young, she partied all the time and began taking drugs, especially meth, to help her stay awake and party more. Her father died, her sister became a heroin addict, and Catra landed in jail on an intent to distribute charge, which was a wake-up call. In "Reborn on the Run," the author wrestles with th With a memoir, it's tough to separate the book from the author. In this case, the author is Catra Corbett, a runner in search of extremes. Everything about her life needs to be extreme. When she was young, she partied all the time and began taking drugs, especially meth, to help her stay awake and party more. Her father died, her sister became a heroin addict, and Catra landed in jail on an intent to distribute charge, which was a wake-up call. In "Reborn on the Run," the author wrestles with the question of addiction. It seems obvious to the reader that addiction becomes a through-line for Catra's story. After her drug addiction, she developed an eating disorder and exercise addiction. Then she turned to running. Corbett refuses to call her ultrarunning an addiction, but it appears she needs to go farther than anyone else. She describes an addiction as something you can't stop and something that harms you, and she claims neither of these factors is true of running, but how to explain her years-long running streak or the fact that she runs until she is peeing blood or bleeding internally or her organs are in distress? The author has experienced a lot of pain and grief in her life--the death of family, loved ones, and pets; and failed relationships. To her credit, she covers these topics unflinchingly without dwelling on the negatives. What we're left with, however, is a cursory pass through Corbett's life without a lot of vivid details to make her story stand out from the plethora of recovering addict ultrarunner tales. Her experiences on the John Muir trail are described in the greatest depth, and the reader gains a true sense of Corbett's feelings of hunger, cold, thirst, and filthiness while hiking the trail. As a modest human being, I was personally put off by Corbett's need for self-promotion. It was clear that she always wanted to be the life of the party, from the early days when she was literally (with the help of drugs) the life of the party, to her later running career. She is very proud of her many piercings, tattoos, and pink hair. She wants to attract attention. She is even proud that her running with weiner dogs draws people to her. I guess the self-promotion works. Corbett is a mid-pack runner, but she managed to score a shoe contract with Hoka. Multiple times the author mentions wanting to be known as "bad-ass." She hangs out with some climbers at Yosemite, and stumbles into a short-term relationship with one because she considers the climbers bad-ass. I was just listening to a running podcast where the hosts were making fun of the whole "bad-ass" concept, and I have to agree that this seems like a silly motivation for life decisions. I personally believe in moderation and that every choice comes with a cost, but that's just me. Again, this book is of interest if you're a true fan of the sport of ultrarunning, and I think the writing of it required a lot of candidness and soul-searching by its author. I was put off by a number of typos and believe "Reborn on the Run" might have benefited from a better editor, but this isn't necessarily the author's fault.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    I listened to this book on audible. Catra’s story is compelling, and she does indeed do some BAMR stuff. The storytelling was nonlinear and a little disorganized at times. Her struggles felt relatable.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    Fun and inspiring read! Made me wish I lived near trails as it sounds more fun than pounding the pavement!!!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Sandeep Singh

    Was a good book to listen to during runs. Inspiring story about a drug addict turned ultra runner. Note, you will be in tears.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Mary Ward

    First, to be honest I am a huge fan of the Dirt Diva Catra Corbett and all she stands for. I am also a soul whose only home is in running. So, I was already expecting to like this book. However, not all runners can write, not all runners have such a beautiful story, and not all runners have such style. Catra's book was simply wonderful. This runner can write and she writes with a style that perfectly matches her bright hair and colorful tattoos. The story is peppered with expletives and filled w First, to be honest I am a huge fan of the Dirt Diva Catra Corbett and all she stands for. I am also a soul whose only home is in running. So, I was already expecting to like this book. However, not all runners can write, not all runners have such a beautiful story, and not all runners have such style. Catra's book was simply wonderful. This runner can write and she writes with a style that perfectly matches her bright hair and colorful tattoos. The story is peppered with expletives and filled with painfully honest self-reflections. Catra explains her path to and out of addiction in a way that with capture your heart and bring tears to your eyes. Her story will make you believe that recovery is possible, from pain can come compassion, and every creature deserves a second chance. If you yourself have struggled with addiction or any mental health issues or if you have lived with those who have battled such things, read this book. Then, buy this book for your friends. (Warning: this book will also make you want to buy running shoes, adopt a dog, and sign-up for a race.)

  17. 4 out of 5

    Katie Foster

    I was hoping to read more about how she used running to overcome addiction. Instead, she only brushed on the addiction for a short chapter or so, and the rest of the book felt like she was looking for validation that she was the biggest badass in fitness. She accomplished a ton, which is awesome, but it doesn’t sound like she enjoyed the process very much—just that she enjoyed that next check on the list of badassery. When you have internal bleeding from too much Advil to cover the pain, and suf I was hoping to read more about how she used running to overcome addiction. Instead, she only brushed on the addiction for a short chapter or so, and the rest of the book felt like she was looking for validation that she was the biggest badass in fitness. She accomplished a ton, which is awesome, but it doesn’t sound like she enjoyed the process very much—just that she enjoyed that next check on the list of badassery. When you have internal bleeding from too much Advil to cover the pain, and suffer multiple bladder infections that make you pee blood, maybe it’s time to chill a little...? I think I would have enjoyed this book if I was training for an ultra and looking for motivation to keep going. However, I wanted to read a unique story about meth-addict-turned-runner, so I was disappointed.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Ietrio

    A miserable life, that stays miserable because of the home indoctrination about momma and papa love you and don't you forget that. Followed by self medication. But in a way the society does not allow. So some more pain and suffering from those that were supposed to help. And ending up, like any good christian should, in self-flagelation. Real. Unpleasant. And maybe the story was too routine and too sad to enjoy it. A miserable life, that stays miserable because of the home indoctrination about momma and papa love you and don't you forget that. Followed by self medication. But in a way the society does not allow. So some more pain and suffering from those that were supposed to help. And ending up, like any good christian should, in self-flagelation. Real. Unpleasant. And maybe the story was too routine and too sad to enjoy it.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Greg Zimmerman

    Solid running read. Reads a little like a blog/diary (including the typos) but it’s a fascinating and inspiring story. Do epic shit!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan H. LATER

    Running? A book on running? huh. I actually enjoyed it. It was interesting in the way that Catra shared her life's story and dealt with pain through running. Not only did she start off running a good 3 miles, she broke records by challenging herself all the time. I'm talking about running 100 100-milers and even more in her later years. The writing begged for more, with typos located in several pages. Some sentences even took some effort to decipher because of word order. But setting that aside, Running? A book on running? huh. I actually enjoyed it. It was interesting in the way that Catra shared her life's story and dealt with pain through running. Not only did she start off running a good 3 miles, she broke records by challenging herself all the time. I'm talking about running 100 100-milers and even more in her later years. The writing begged for more, with typos located in several pages. Some sentences even took some effort to decipher because of word order. But setting that aside, the story captures you. She started off doing drugs, partying, dancing, and hanging out with the wrong crowd. Here sister, Peggy, too was on drugs, and that ended tragically. Catra's father and mother passed away, leaving her without anyone to look up to, but later found so many friends in the running scene. This was her calling. The book is not just for runners, but for anyone looking to get back in shape through the easiest process of dieting and runner together. She speaks about her food trouble, while battling severe low BMI levels and how she overcame that part of her life. As a vegetarian, she struggled with food for many years, that and cultural influences from the 80s left her looking like skin and bones. Now we understand that you can be fit in many different ways. But there is a healthy way to go about it. If you are looking for a light read this might be the book for you. Once upon a time, I enjoyed running, and I think this book might have brought me back to wanting to try it again. It might be the right time. Perhaps, you will enjoy it too. Annotations captured on Kindle Edition: p.16) I looked down at the small caffeine pill in my hand. I now knew that there can actually be two defining moments in an addict’s life: when you get hooked, and, if you’re lucky and determined, when you decide to quit. The night in jail after the police broke down my door scared me so much, I knew I had to quit. p.35) The priest slid open that little window and you had to tell him your sins. It was a dark little box, and he would talk on the other side and listen as you told him your darkest secrets and waited for your punishment. p.47) Even though after this first 10K I thought I was going to have a heart attack and collapse and die, I also felt fantastic. I wanted that feeling again. So why not train for a race that was four times as long as the 10K? p.48) Wow. I just ran nine miles. Wow. I feel really good. That’s what they must be talking about when they talk about a runner’s high. I felt like a superhero. p.55) After that, I didn’t want to eat any meat my parents served me because it most likely would be Charlie--Became vegetarian. p.70) Mother doesn’t quite understand her love for running. But she still supports her new passion. p.86) I knew that in order to beat my eating disorder, I would need to treat it like an addiction. It was an addiction. It fit every definition of the word. I was doing something despite the harm it was causing me. p.97) I had no qualms about using things like NoDoz pills to stay awake. p.103) I loved the races, I loved the courses, and I loved the challenge. But most of all, I loved the people. My new running friends were all types of people. Mike Palmer, for example, was an administrative assistant for UC Berkeley. Others were judges, attorneys, CEOs, doctors, and lawyers, as well as bank managers, singers, musicians, and actors. p.106) I had brought a T.S. Eliot quote with me: “Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” p.113) Later, she would be diagnosed with malignant melanoma. The cancer had eaten through her bone and spread throughout her body, breaking her arm. The doctors gave her a couple months to live. p.130) Graupel is essentially a light hail, which doesn’t sound bad until you realize that there’s more of it, and it falls faster than hail because it’s tiny. p.137) El Capitan is the biggest wall of them all in California climbing. Even more, it is one of the most revered formations in the world amongst climbers. p.163) I first heard about the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) back in 2000 when I was at the Western States training camp. The trail is the ultimate ultramarathon, a 2,600-mile journey into the Sierra Nevada. p.174) Our hands were frozen, so it was like trying to set up a tent while holding a large rock in each hand. p.186) Her sister, Peggy, overdosed and passed away. p.197) In a brief stretch of time, I’d run sixty hundred-mile races. p.211) He christened it the Icebreaker Run. Book) Relentless Forward Progress by Byron Powell. END.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Samantha Sprole

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I listened to this book while recovering from minor injuries after a long run. Catra digs deep to talk about her personal traumas: getting molested as a child and keeping it from her family while the preparator went on to molest other children, the sudden death by cardiac arrest of her father when she was 17, her sister's long and tragic descent into heroin addiction, prostitution, vagrancy and then overdose, her own meth/speed addiction as a goth go-go girl and hairdresser in the 90s, a severe I listened to this book while recovering from minor injuries after a long run. Catra digs deep to talk about her personal traumas: getting molested as a child and keeping it from her family while the preparator went on to molest other children, the sudden death by cardiac arrest of her father when she was 17, her sister's long and tragic descent into heroin addiction, prostitution, vagrancy and then overdose, her own meth/speed addiction as a goth go-go girl and hairdresser in the 90s, a severe and recurring eating disorder, and eventually a failed marriage, the loss of several treasured dog companions, a female mentor struck with rapidly progressing melanoma, and finding her mother's dead body in the home they shared after rebuilding their relationship. Instead of letting her trauma define her, she lets the emotional pain fuel her runs. It's during these runs that she finds a healthy way to process her anguish, commune with the loved ones she's lost, and regain a sense of inner strength and self-esteem. Now in her mid fifties, she's one of the only women to complete over 100 100-mile races. Catra's running came about after a sobering encounter with the law, when it became clear she would have to leave her community of users and dealers behind. In meetings with other addicts in recovery, she learned of the importance of finding something to replace the sense of elation, belonging and meaning that she used to find in drugs. Some people found that replacement in their work, some in service to the community, but Catra and (as it turns out) many more former addicts found their physical and mental savior in the completion of epic feats of endurance. Her fellow racers and mountaineers became the family and support network she desperately needed in recovery. Catra denies replacing her addiction to drugs with an addiction to endurance sports, saying that addictions are sites of self-destruction and running is self-affirming. Still, the casual reader may pause when considering Catra's recollections of layers of blistered skin peeled off her feet with duct tape before the last 40 miles of a race, or her numerous bladder infections that had her peeing blood at race check points. Ultramarathoners seem to have a more nuanced definition of self-destruction, perhaps. It makes me wonder how extreme self-awareness and expertise, or more likely, good genetics and lots of luck prevent the extreme stress and inevitable painful agony of long races from developing into permanent physiological pathologies. At any rate, Catra's story shows us how an uncommon obsession with an activity geared toward individual achievement and community can become a powerful source of redemption for a life challenged by loss and trauma.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Rach

    I recently listened to a Ten Junk Miles podcast interview with Catra that was recorded while she was working on this book, so I knew a lot of the stories she was telling, but definitely not all of them, and it doesn’t lessen the impact of how chaotic her life has been. In the end, we are all trying to make it through life in the beat ways we can, and I think one of the most important things to being happy is what Catra also mentions: community. She says at one point that on the hardest parts of I recently listened to a Ten Junk Miles podcast interview with Catra that was recorded while she was working on this book, so I knew a lot of the stories she was telling, but definitely not all of them, and it doesn’t lessen the impact of how chaotic her life has been. In the end, we are all trying to make it through life in the beat ways we can, and I think one of the most important things to being happy is what Catra also mentions: community. She says at one point that on the hardest parts of leaving her drug-filled life behind wasn’t actually quitting the drugs, but losing her friends and community. Just as running and ultras eventually replaced drugs in Catra’s life, the ultra running community and the friends she made were equally important to creating the life she was longing for. I loved especially reading about all the races Catra has completed, the challenges they have presented her, and the persistence she used to get through them. I love how she thinks about the people she’s lost, and brings them with her when she runs. I’ve definitely felt my dad with me during races, and the thought of him being with me in some form gives me much comfort. I also really enjoyed the author’s note from Catra’s co-author, Dan England. In addition to the friendly, community atmosphere, one of the things that draws me to ultra running is that there’s not just one type of person that does it. Sure, there are stereotypical “runners” and super fast stars, but there are also just every day people of a wide variety of sizes, going out there to accomplish their own personal goals. Put the work in, stick to your goals, and ultra running can be for you, too. “There were people at that race with all kinds of shapes, from pears to princes, and most of them looked, well, normal. They just had a determination that you don’t see in most people. That’s what separated them from the crowd.” Pretty much my only complaint about this book is that is suffers from what I call “essay” syndrome. When you have a collection of essays, they sometimes feel very separate from one another, most specifically when they feel the need to explain something that we’ve already heard the full story on previously. It speaks to a lack of cohesion of the book as a whole, and tends to take me out of the larger narrative, because it feels repetitive.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Bennjamin

    "Reborn on the Run" traces the struggles and triumphs of one of ultrarunning's great runners of the last 50 years, Catra Corbett. With powerful and brutal honesty, Catra dives deep into the memories, mistakes, struggles, addictions, abusive relationships, and setbacks she has faced over the course of a lifetime, and then builds a page-turner that highlights the powerful benefits a life on the run has had. As each story unfolds, from her first run, to her first 50k and 50 mile, her record yo yo r "Reborn on the Run" traces the struggles and triumphs of one of ultrarunning's great runners of the last 50 years, Catra Corbett. With powerful and brutal honesty, Catra dives deep into the memories, mistakes, struggles, addictions, abusive relationships, and setbacks she has faced over the course of a lifetime, and then builds a page-turner that highlights the powerful benefits a life on the run has had. As each story unfolds, from her first run, to her first 50k and 50 mile, her record yo yo run on the John Muir Trail - the reader becomes engrossed in the healing and therapeutic nature of distance running. Catra acknowledges that she is in no way a perfect soul, but her honesty and the grace and power through which she has carried herself speaks volumes about her contributions to this sport. TruMan, the wonder dachshund, first ever to complete a 50k, is a symbol of the healing power of the long run. Saved by Catra from a neglectful hoarder home, he has thrived and gained a second life thanks to her. I enjoyed learning of Catra's journey and the lessons that any reader, runner or non-runner alike can take away from her work. "Everyone in the ultra community is like family, even those I've barely met. When they try to shake my hand, I won't let them. I give them a hug. I feel that close to someone who runs, and especially to someone who runs ultras." - Catra Corbett It is not always easy for someone to talk about addiction, but I think Catra seeks to use her lesson as a beacon of hope to all those who are currently facing or know and love and support someone who battles the throes of addiction. We need more people like her out there. "I don't have any regrets about my past. Everything in your life has to happen the way it happened in order to be who you are in your life. I had to be a drug addict to become an ultrarunner. I had to find a passion in order to overcome my addiction." Don't block out the past. Use it as motivation and fuel to build a new foundation for your next best self. Enjoyed this read and it was a quick one. Definitely one I recommend 5 stars.

  24. 5 out of 5

    David

    quite the personal transformation from meth addict to very extreme ultra runner [finished Badwater, has completed over 100 100-milers, relay team across America, etc. etc etc.]. her struggles with relationships seem to have remained despite the other changes. not a great writer -- it was a little surprising to me to see that there was a professional writer co-author -- though maybe he got into it a little too much to be objective [there is a weird "author note" at the end that amounts to a full quite the personal transformation from meth addict to very extreme ultra runner [finished Badwater, has completed over 100 100-milers, relay team across America, etc. etc etc.]. her struggles with relationships seem to have remained despite the other changes. not a great writer -- it was a little surprising to me to see that there was a professional writer co-author -- though maybe he got into it a little too much to be objective [there is a weird "author note" at the end that amounts to a full chapter concerning HIS first ultramarathon]. some good trail stories and descriptions of her appreciation for the community she found in ultrarunning to replace [in her own analysis] the community she gave up when quitting drug abuse. made me appreciate more deeply how endurance sports are really [at least] two separate worlds -- people trying to run as fast as they can and people trying to run as far as they can. She is of average speed at even long standard distances but incredibly high persistence. To me this is the less interesting side of running as a spectator sport, so there are long stretches of the book that all seem about the same -- i was tired and cold and had blisters on my feet and an unsettled stomach but kept plowing ahead. I'm confident that someone other than me could read about the career of, say, Bekele and just think it's "blah blah i ran this and that time in a track 5,000 and beat this guy and that guy". Different tastes.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Rachael

    As an inspirational story, this book succeeds. As a memoir, it falls flat. It provides information, no doubt. Catra has a lot to say. Readers learn of Catra's story from her younger years to the present. But every turning point is given equal weight, with the result being "this happened and then this happened and then this happened." All of the telling rather than showing made it repetitive to read. I was glad the chapters were short -- that made it seem like I was moving through the book quickl As an inspirational story, this book succeeds. As a memoir, it falls flat. It provides information, no doubt. Catra has a lot to say. Readers learn of Catra's story from her younger years to the present. But every turning point is given equal weight, with the result being "this happened and then this happened and then this happened." All of the telling rather than showing made it repetitive to read. I was glad the chapters were short -- that made it seem like I was moving through the book quickly. After reading the book, I still can't decide if I like Catra as portrayed on the page. Many times I got a sense of ego, which turned me off. You can tell readers repeatedly that you do "epic shit," or you can let your accomplishments speak for themselves and let readers decide if you're epic or not. I'm guessing the book's problem results from Catra having a co-author. Something always gets lost in translation, and I think that's where the flatness comes from. However, I did come away with a better sense of what drives ultra runners. I know a few ultra runners and while they are fantastic, kind people, I admit I'm thinking they are a little crazy. And I still think that. But Catra helped me see the difference between being addicted to running and being obsessed by it. And we all have our obsessions. While I really don't think I'll be tackling anything past 26.2 (at least that's not the plan for now!), I still could see a little of myself in this book.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Cinthia Ritchie

    As a long-distance runner, I really, really wanted to like this book more than I did, and I really, really wanted to admire Catra's journey more than I did. But I just couldn't, or at least I couldn't in the book's present format. Yes, no book is perfect and yes, readers can excuse a typo here and there. But there were simply too many mistakes, too many missing words, too many tense changes, and too much repetition, which made me wonder if the book had been edited at all. (If only she had put as As a long-distance runner, I really, really wanted to like this book more than I did, and I really, really wanted to admire Catra's journey more than I did. But I just couldn't, or at least I couldn't in the book's present format. Yes, no book is perfect and yes, readers can excuse a typo here and there. But there were simply too many mistakes, too many missing words, too many tense changes, and too much repetition, which made me wonder if the book had been edited at all. (If only she had put as much care into the writing of the book as she does running 100-mile races.) It also became a bit tiresome reading about Catra's need to live up to her badass image. Granted, there's nothing more wonderful than a badass woman, but having to strive to such extreme extents to view oneself as badass seems, well, kind of sad. (Just be yourself, honey, I wanted to shout more than once as I read. Give in, let yourself be weak--there's nothing more beautiful than someone who has the guts to be seen as vulnerable.) And yet, there were some nice kernels of truth and self-awareness included in the book, some nice running footage, some nice passages. I'm glad I read it, and it expanded my world a little bit, which makes it, while not a great book, a book very much worth reading.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kim Maltempo

    I really admire Catra's story about going from a life of addiction and depression to a life filled with hope and the relentless challenging of oneself to see what her body and mind is truly capable of. She's a tremendous athlete and is one of the toughest endurance athletes out there. Plus, I love her look and, of course, her "Dirt Doxie," TruMan. As far as the book is concerned, I found it to be a little jumpy at times, going back and forth between events, so it made it a little difficult to fo I really admire Catra's story about going from a life of addiction and depression to a life filled with hope and the relentless challenging of oneself to see what her body and mind is truly capable of. She's a tremendous athlete and is one of the toughest endurance athletes out there. Plus, I love her look and, of course, her "Dirt Doxie," TruMan. As far as the book is concerned, I found it to be a little jumpy at times, going back and forth between events, so it made it a little difficult to follow a timeline of events happening in her running career. At times, it was also a bit repetitive, but I do realize that this was a therapeutic process for Catra and it was great being able to share the journey with her. I look forward to seeing where her endurance career takes her. She's truly an inspiration for all.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Brianna Helene

    I found this book on Goodreads in the list of suggested reading and as I’m trying to get back into running I thought it would be a motivating book for me. The story is inspirational, the author overcame a LOT of hardships to accomplish what she’s accomplished. While I was reading, I began to wonder if she had an editor at all. The amount of grammatical errors, spelling errors, copy and pasted sentences, repetition, lack of fluidity, the jumpy timeline, and just overall simple language made it di I found this book on Goodreads in the list of suggested reading and as I’m trying to get back into running I thought it would be a motivating book for me. The story is inspirational, the author overcame a LOT of hardships to accomplish what she’s accomplished. While I was reading, I began to wonder if she had an editor at all. The amount of grammatical errors, spelling errors, copy and pasted sentences, repetition, lack of fluidity, the jumpy timeline, and just overall simple language made it difficult to enjoy the book. It ended up becoming just a list of races she’d done. I was hoping she’d get better at them as time went on, but she basically finishes last every single time except once. I’m glad I read it; it did give me some push to want to run more. But it’s not a book that I’ll read over and over again.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Thebestdogmom

    I’m a runner myself, having done 82 races of marathon distance or longer-including a few 100 milers. I have heard a few interviews of Catra on podcasts and had heard of her accomplishments and struggles. This book is a soul bearing view of a life that could have ended due to drug addiction, suicide or accidental overdose. She is brutally honest about her life and I am sure that is part of what keeps her sober/clean. I’m not sure many people could be as open about things that have happened in the I’m a runner myself, having done 82 races of marathon distance or longer-including a few 100 milers. I have heard a few interviews of Catra on podcasts and had heard of her accomplishments and struggles. This book is a soul bearing view of a life that could have ended due to drug addiction, suicide or accidental overdose. She is brutally honest about her life and I am sure that is part of what keeps her sober/clean. I’m not sure many people could be as open about things that have happened in their lives. I think this book is one of the better running “memoirs” that I have read in a long time. Thank you Catra for sharing your story and inspiring others to do better in many aspects of their lives.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    I discovered Catra (Dirt Diva) while following the Badwater Ultra and followed her because she was a vegan runner like myself. I didn't know much about her story until reading this book. I loved Catra's honesty in sharing her addictions and eat disorder because I imagine that was scary at first especially thinking about how she was at the height of her addiction. Reading about her going from a city girl scared of the wilderness to hiking part of PCT mostly on her own was amazing & parts of it ma I discovered Catra (Dirt Diva) while following the Badwater Ultra and followed her because she was a vegan runner like myself. I didn't know much about her story until reading this book. I loved Catra's honesty in sharing her addictions and eat disorder because I imagine that was scary at first especially thinking about how she was at the height of her addiction. Reading about her going from a city girl scared of the wilderness to hiking part of PCT mostly on her own was amazing & parts of it made me laugh. If you don't already follow her, she just sparkles of positivity and love for life despite the challenges. There are some errors in the book and one chapter that confused me at first because of the back & forth between the past and present. Overall these errors can be looked past.

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