A poignant, self-deprecating memoir of an overweight man who reverses his bad habits through running.
When Robert Earl Stewart sees his own pants, laying freshly laundered across the end of his bed, they remind him of a flag draped over a coffin — his coffin. At thirty-eight years old he weighs 368 pounds and is slowly eating himself to death. To deal with the fear and shame, he is compelled to eat until he is sick. But one day, following a terrifying doctor’s appointment, he goes for a walk — an act that sets The Running-Shaped Hole in motion. Within a year, he is running long distances, making good on a deathbed promise he failed to make his mother, reversing the disastrous course of his eating, losing 140 pounds, and, after several mishaps and jail time, eventually runs the Detroit Free Press Half-Marathon.
At turns philosophical and slapstick, this memoir examines the life-altering effects running has on a man who, left to his own devices, struggles to be a husband, a father, a son, and a writer.