The Runner
by Lloyd Wendell Cutler

"The race was hers. For the first time today, after more than 26 grueling miles of pain, Trish was alone at the front of the pack and pulling steadily away."

This is a sprawling whirlwind of a novel. It’s a grand adventure to be sure—one grounded in the real world and the incredible possibilities of what humans are capable of achieving. Yet, simultaneously, it is afloat in surrealistic regions replete with guardian angels, good and evil spirits, religious afterworlds, and more.

Cutler begins his tale late in his heroine’s life. As Trish is about to participate in a race that will make the nonagenarian the oldest female marathoner in history, she begins to recount the journey that took her to this moment. It is a story of spirit and resolve that goes far beyond most individual’s accomplishments. In her thirties, she finds herself weighing 275 pounds, depressed, slovenly, and unmotivated. The relatively recent death of her father has sent her into a dependency on food she can’t seem to shake. Her mother has retreated into virtual alcoholism, and they become co-enablers of each other’s dependence. Then, of all things, a bet with her brother on the Super Bowl sets her on a path that will change her life in unbelievable ways. Soon, she’s melting away the pounds via discipline, commitment, and a return to her former love of running. Her’s will be a run to daylight that will last a lifetime.

While filling out the years of Trish’s life, the author devotes considerable space to her husband’s trials as well. His military service is recounted with fervor and intensity and keeps the action at the forefront of the exposition. Continually interspersed also are occupants of other worlds who meddle continuously in ours. This is a big book alive with imagination and decidedly outside the box.

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