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Maggie Mertens, Better Faster Farther: How Running Changed Everything We Kn

Maggie Mertens, Better Faster Farther: How Running Changed Everything We Kn

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Village Books and Paper Dreams
1200 11th Street
Bellingham, WA 98225 United States
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360.671.2626
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Welcome award-winning journalist Maggie Mertens to the Readings Gallery as she shatters misconceptions about women’s athleticism!

We’re thrilled to welcome award-winning journalist Maggie Mertens 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.

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Village Books