Running Past Midnight by Molly Sheridan
Review by Cat Croteau
One might expect someone in their fifties to be puttering around in the garden or volunteering at church but Molly Sheridan is running; not just a couple miles, but over a hundred miles in ultra-marathons. She has participated in marathons all over the world, from Death Valley to India, but what might be more surprising is the fact that Molly Sheridan didn’t come to running on her own and she didn’t even start until she was 48.
A friend who was running in The Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C., convinced Sheridan to run, telling her it would be “FUN!” Sheridan thought it over and decided to jump in. She hadn’t exercised in years, much less run, but the idea was lodged in her head and began to grow with possibilities. She finally agreed to join her friend, even if she was skeptical about how much fun the marathon would truly be. Despite a stress fracture during training Sheridan completed the marathon and although it was slow going she realized, “Time meant nothing to me. I knew speed was not my gift and my goal was FUN!”
Sheridan has carried this realization and her mantra of “moving through space” with her through all of her runs, and found that, “Running was the only thing that quieted my mind and freed my heart.” She frequently reminds the reader that speed is not something she possesses but instead a determination to go the distance and push herself to the edge. Her mental strength is what propels her feet forward when the path is dark and only her headlamp shows the way forward on the trail.
On each page of Running Past Midnight it’s clear that Sheridan is proud of her accomplishments but she remains gracious and humble, even while she is 75 miles into an ultra-marathon. She remains ever thankful to her crew that runs support and provides drinks and food at various staging points in the events and her friends and family that believed in her, even if they were skeptical about someone her age running long distance races.
Sheridan found that running brought so much to her life that she wanted to share that with others, particularly women. She became a certified coach and started a company in 2009 called Desert Sky Adventures. She hopes to help others realize “It’s not about menopause or having a midlife crisis. It is about finding a new purpose in the second act of life.”
I enjoyed the straightforward writing style in Running Past Midnight. It’s helped me put into words some of the reasons I’ve recently taken up running but hadn’t yet been able to transform into tangible thoughts. I might not be fast and I probably will never run an ultra, but I’m not alone in the inner peace I find after a good run on a beautiful day.
Sheridan’s book is to the point, and the point is that running can be a way to find yourself; if running isn’t your style, she encourages trail walking to reduce stress and find inner peace. What’s truly at the heart of Running Past Midnight is that moving through space, no matter your speed, can be a way to find the answers you seek.
Cat Croteau is an avid hiker, yogi, and mom to 4. Currently residing in South Dakota with her soul mate, Cat loves exploring the Black Hills with a baby on her hip and her family by her side.