Although the subtitle of Catra Corbett's Reborn On The Run (with Dan England) highlights her journey from drug addiction to ultramarathons, Catra's memoir is also a compelling and moving story of fathers and daughters, mothers and daughters, siblings, relationships, community, and canines and humans. Reborn On The Run is the story of the healing power of ultrarunning, personal transformation, and the strength we get from others.
With matter-of-fact honesty, Catra takes you on her journey from her early Goth lifestyle that consists of go-go dancing, taking and selling drugs, living as a meth addict, getting arrested, battling an eating disorder, and attempting suicide, to failed relationships and transformation. Catra's transformation begins with a 10K run at the age of thirty. Soon she's tackling marathons and, in no time, reinvents herself into the pink haired and tattooed Dirt Diva of the ultrarunning world.
Catra writes, "I had to be a drug addict to become an ultrarunner. I had to find a passion to overcome my addiction." She goes on to be bestowed the distinction of being the first American female ultrarunner to finish 100 miles or more on more than one hundred occasions. Catra also completed the 425 mile John Muir Trail in the fastest known double time.
Reborn On The Run: My Journey From Addiction to Ultramarathons is also the captivating story of family relationships - the good, the bad, and the ugly - and of loss that shapes Catra as a runner. Never a runner nor the athletic type growing up, she owes her success as an ultrarunner to her father. When Catra is a teen, he introduces her to ultrarunning while watching a TV program about the Western States 100. Years later, Catra takes on Western States a few times.
Her older bipolar sister, a life-long drug addict, introduces Catra to drugs when she is a teen. Catra's mother, with health issues of her own, at first doesn't understand Catra's passion for running but becomes her number one fan. The struggles and challenges her family endure give Catra the strength to chip away during ultra events and her arduous and challenging hikes in Yosemite and the Pacific Coast Trail to help her cope with loss and heal a broken heart after a failed marriage.
Catra writes, "When I struggled, I tried to think about my mother. I would pray to her to give me strength, determination, and most of all, her stubbornness." At her first Western States, she thinks of her father, "who would run the race with me in spirit, and my mother, who was waiting for me at the end..." During the American River 50, she turns to her mother for strength: "...those butterflies seemed to follow me....there would be butterflies right behind me. I knew that was my mother, telling me I was all right." Catra also gets her strength from the ultrarunning community that support and mentor her.
Reborn On The Run will resonate with many - those struggling with and those who have battled and conquered drug addiction and eating disorders; those who have endured failed relationships, loss of family and friends, and who seek comfort and solace through hiking grueling distances in the wilderness, and healing through the power of running. Catra writes, "Running got my endorphins going the way drugs once did...I didn't need the drugs anymore. Running helped me through the pain of losing friends and family...."
Catra and TruMan
Photo: David Wiskowski
If you run with your dog, you'll find delight in Catra's encounter with dachshunds seeking foster caregivers, and with her adopted TruMan. Once abused by a hoarder, with Catra's love and patience, TruMan is transformed and makes ultrarunning history. He's the first dachshund to run a 50K.
Reborn On The Run: My Journey From Addiction to Ultramarathons will take you on a fast paced, nonstop odyssey of Catra's life's adversities and challenges, grueling struggles on the course and trails, and her journey to overcoming and personal transformation.
I am the author of Come What May, I Want to Run: A Memoir of the Saving Grace of Ultrarunning in Overwhelming Times. You can order the book here from from the publisher, Amazon, Bookshop, or Barnes & Noble.