A Runner’s Soul
My book, A Runner’s Soul (Juoksijan sielu, Bazar, 2018), is about my journey from being an accidental runner to becoming the first Finnish woman to have completed the six World Marathon Majors: Tokyo, Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago and New York.
“A fascinating book about running.”
Kotilääkäri health magazine
I discuss my experiences of marathon events around the world and my visit to a training camp for top Kenyan runners. A Runner’s Soul offers peer support for runners and their loved ones alike.
“The story is written so well that you devour the book, immersed in emotion, even if you’re not a runner yourself.”
For my book, I also interviewed around 20 experts, who discuss running from various perspectives. These experts include, among others, evolutionary psychologist Markus J. Rantala, running coach Aki Nummela and sociologist Hanna Vehmas, as well as Brother Colm O’Connell, also known as the “Godfather of Kenyan running”.
“An inspiring book for running enthusiasts.” Baba Lybeck
“The text flows fluently and effortlessly when Virolainen describes her running experiences around the world. She also goes to Kenya in search of her runner’s soul. At that point, if not sooner, the reader is inspired to reflect on their running hobby or lifestyle: why and how am I running?” Pena Rekiranta, Juoksija magazine
“On the whole, the strong personal touch is the best aspect of the book. Virolainen discusses the ups and downs in her life openly, which makes the book feel honest and human.” Mika Kulju, Maratonseikkailut website
“The best aspect of the book is Tarja’s honest and authentic account of her journey. The book tells a runner’s story beautifully and sheds light on why running is so addictive.” Riitta Ylilehto, Nousu cultural website
“The greatest feature of the book is its honesty: nothing is sugar-coated. Throughout the book, the author boldly discusses her relationship with her hobby.” Eki Jaakkola, blogger at Outdoor Oksanen
“Everyone has a different (running) story to tell. At the same time, however, the stories are surprisingly similar: euphoria after an event, questioning whether having running as a hobby makes any sense, and foolish decisions, such as going for a run when still recovering from an illness or wobbling across the finishing line, feeling nauseous. All in all, the book was a positive surprise: it was multifaceted, deep and honest without being show-offish or overly sentimental.” Elina, blogger at Lenkillä
“The book is outstanding, multidimensional and very well written. The word ‘inspiring’ is overused, but this book is exactly that: inspiring. I finished it yesterday, and it keeps resonating with my desire for a change in life.” Reader feedback from Mari
“The book speaks to all marathon runners, from those who finish an event in less than two and a half hours to those who take six hours to run a marathon. Virolainen does not focus solely on her own joys and sorrows of running. She has interviewed long-distance running experts for information and has successfully integrated hard facts into her experiences. The book is a perfect blend of personal experiences and information about the world of marathons.” Outi Poikonen, Savon Sanomat newspaper
“Your journey through the World Marathon Majors was an incredible read. My wife and I have visited many of the cities, but I had not thought about them from a runner’s perspective. This book is written with love and deep self-reflection, which I enjoyed. In addition, I particularly enjoyed the complete lack of running memes, cheap aphorisms and other slogans that abound on social media. Your book felt genuine and true to life, unlike so many things in today’s hectic world.” Reader feedback from Teemu