REBORN ON THE RUN
By Catra Corbett and Dan England
240 pp. Skyhorse Publishing. $24.99.
Catra Corbett found a path. It was necessary, of course. The alternative was death. That path (or trail) was discovering ultra running and runners will surely enjoy it’s discussion in “Reborn On The Run”. However, Corbett’s brutal life experiences, which seemingly both feed into and are produced by her list of maladies (depression, anxiety, addiction, anorexia, and suicidal thoughts) paces the ultra topic. Without filter, she shares her darkest days and explains how running helps illuminate the way to a better life. Her discourse in ultras brought delight to this reviewer. The physical and mental challenges a successful ultra runner needs to circumvent are artfully described.
In Catra’s 20’s, life circulated around working at a salon and Goth scene clubbing. She loved club dancing and it was also a means of staying lean. Meth gave her the ability to do it endlessly. At times, meth could lead to hallucinations and later she connects that to ultras. When ultra peers raced 75+ miles and started seeing demons in the darkness, she could relate. Returning now to her pre-running former self, Catra’s drug addiction spirals out of control and she’s arrested for selling. The experience of jail shakes her to her core. She moves into her mother’s house and begins the slow climb to normalcy. At this time she finishes high school (as Valedictorian, no less).
In “Reborn On The Run”, Catra’s early life struggles dominate the initial chapters. The running subject mingles with these troubles and increasingly holds the focus as the book unfolds. Ironically, Catra hated running in her childhood years but ultimately it’s her savior. First, however, more personal troubles would be divulged. Upon reading of her father’s early death (heart attack) and molestation at the hands of a family friend, one easily associates Catra Corbett with the title, “survivor”.
On to recovery, 3 mile dog walks would lead to a 10K and road marathons. She runs past the clubs she would formally visit while on meth. Her running focus has now eclipsed that low point in her life. Her desire to run becoming increasingly insatiable, trail marathons follow and then ultras. Also, she credits running with helping her stay connected to her late father, who shared an interest in the sport. The magnitude of Catra’s ultra successes, as well as lessons learned in the sport, are now presented. Her eating disorder leads to difficulties with proper nutrition and, of course, blisters would have to be overcome. In particular, bladder infections would be an Achilles heel. While tough times persist (a divorce as well as more deaths including her mother and sister), Catra’s ultra-based conversations are thoroughly enjoyable. A long list of experiences are shared (Western States 100, the John Muir Trail, Bad Water, a trek across the continental U.S., and more).
“Reborn On The Run” has it’s share of grammatical (autocorrect?) errors. Don’t let that preclude your selection of this book (her recounts of connecting with nature on the run has me considering ultra registrations). However, it’s an occasional nuisance.
Catra Corbett has run hundred-milers a hundred times and a few two hundred milers. She’s an overall winner of The Razorback Endurance Race (100 miles) in San Martin, CA. As she ages, Catra’s now setting comparable goals. Running forty-eight straight days upon turning fort-eight, running fifty hours upon turning fifty, etc. Running’s been good to her. It’s saved her. Clearly, she’s been reborn.
#DidYouKnow courtesy “Reborn on the Run”: The Western States 100 was a horse race before it was a human racing event. In 1974, while horses were competing in the event, Gordy Ainsleigh was the first to do it on foot, completing the 100 miles in 23 hours, 42 minutes.
#Follow Catra Corbett: Here