Reynolds, Susan

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Reynolds, Susan


Married; husband's name Matt. Hobbies and other interests: Distance walking, travel, photography.


Home and office—P.O. Box 393, Hillsboro, NM 88042-0393. E-mail—[email protected]


Artist, event promoter, and writer. Here to There, LLC, Hillsboro, NM, owner.


The First Marathon: The Legend of Pheidippides, illustrated by Daniel Minter, Albert Whitman (Morton Grove, IL), 2006.

Also author of Walking outside the Box, Outskirts Press.


On her home page, artist and author Susan Reynolds explained the inspiration for her children's book The First Marathon: The Legend of Pheidippides. She had just finished walking her first marathon in San Diego, California, and was flying home. A marathon is a road race with a set distance of 26.2 miles; it is named in honor of a Greek soldier who, legend holds, ran without stopping from the town of Marathon to the city of Athens to bring news of a Persian defeat in the famed Battle of Marathon. As Reynolds recalled, she "was in a state of fatigue such as I've never experienced—before or since. That fatigue, coupled with the general pain I was in, had me nearly asleep as I stifled groans and tried to settle into something of a comfortable position. I was just about off to dreamland when inspiration struck … that little voice from deep within simply said, ‘You should tell the story of the marathon and do it for kids.’"

In The First Marathon Reynolds takes readers back 2,500 years, to one of the most important battles of the ancient world. As a small group of Greek soldiers collided with Persian troops on the plains of Marathon, young Pheidippides ran the 140 miles to Sparta to request reinforcements, then returned to the battlefield. Following the Greek victory, the soldier then ran to Athens to relay the news, dying shortly thereafter. Although the story "involves armies and an empire, a heroic herald, and brave soldiers," Reynolds added on her home page that The First Marathon "is most of all a story of courage, the kind of courage ordinary people like you and I can still find deep within ourselves to do things that are not so ordinary." Praising the "strong, rhythmic movement" expressed in Daniel Minter's bold illustrations for the book, Booklist contributor Hazel Rochman cited Reynolds' "long, fascinating afterword," which features the history of the popular marathon road race as it has evolved in modern times. In her School Library Journal review, Ann Welton called Pheidippides "an engaging young hero," and noted that Reynolds' text "would read aloud quite well."

Biographical and Critical Sources


Booklist, February 15, 2006, Hazel Rochman, review of The First Marathon: The Legend of Pheidippides, p. 100.

Kirkus Reviews, January 15, 2006, review of The First Marathon, p. 89.

School Library Journal, March, 2006, Ann Welton, review of The First Marathon, p. 212.


Susan Reynolds Home Page, (May 15, 2007).