Book Review: Chasing the Runner’s High By Ray Charbonneau

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In “Chasing The Runner’s High“, Ray Charbonneau tells the story that would be familiar to most runners out there. The progression from running track in high school to running his first marathon, to qualifying for Boston, dealing with injuries and overdoing it, and subsequently tackling on the ultra-marathon. In many ways, his story could’ve been any of ours. You know how obsessive we are in our pre-race rituals, running gear and tracking of our weekly mileage?

And we do know about the lure of racing don’t we? Charbonneau caught the racing bug in such a big way that he literally raced himself to injury. Of special note was the candor with which Charbonneau talked about his addiction to alcohol and his subsequent realization that he had to make a decision to keep on running. We often have to question what we seek in this sport. Is it to discover how fast we can run or how far we can go? There aren’t many who can balance the pursuit of both goals without having to pay a hefty price. I like the fact that the author pointed that out that we often had to make a choice.

Part autobiography, part collection of reports and part cautionary tale, Charbonneau’s writing style is straight-forward and easy to read. The narrative does rambles occasionally and some race reports are pretty detailed like his maiden attempt at the ultra Midsummer Lights Relay and the Vermont 50, where he ran off course. Folks looking to get some training programs won’t find them in this book. 2 Appendices providing advice for new runners wrap up the 11-chaptered book.

Overall the book is a good early effort by Charbonneau and I look forward to more experiences as he tackles the roads and trails ahead.

About the author:

Ray Charbonneau lives in Arlington, MA with his wife and their two cats. You can often find Ray and Ruth out on the streets running, but Felix and Phoebe stay inside.

Ray is the author of the books “Chasing the Runner’s High: My Sixty Million-Step Program” and “R is for Running“. His stories have appeared in both national dead-tree publications and landfill-saving electronic formats. Find out more at

Originally published: June 3rd, 2012


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