2015-10-08 / Around Town

Her Personal Best

Q: Can the physical endurance required of an elite runner and triathlete be re-programmed into the emotional endurance needed to endure not one but two devastating family health crises?

A: Lee Cushing DiPietro’s memoir, “Against the Wind: An Ironwoman’s Race for Her Family’s Survival,” answers that question with an endorphin-infused, runner’s high-confident “yes.”

DiPietro, who has signed up for the Newport half-marathon this Sunday, Oct. 11, divides her family time between Delray Beach, Fla. and Newport. She has run more than 30 marathons, and completed six Ironman triathlons. She achieved her personal best at the 2000 Boston Marathon with a time of 2:47, and at the age of 39 came in sixth at the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii.

“There was a time in my life, in my mid-thirties to mid-forties,” she begins, “that I was somewhat famous.” Her story opens on a “cold and dark February morning in 2010” when she and her husband, also Lee, begin to digest his diagnosis of cancer. In that same year their son Tim was in a devastating accident. And from there, she is off and running.

Yet her story is not a onewoman show. It is a wellpaced family panorama of siblings, life’s loves and losses, being a wife and mother—always against the backdrop of who she was: a runner running her races, yet ultimately meeting her toughest challenge: “a harrowing yearlong fight,” we are told, “for the lives of her husband and son.”

“Against the Wind” was released on Sept. 15, and is available locally at Island Books in Middletown.

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