Date of Award

Spring 5-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)


Creative Writing

First Advisor

Professor Tom Zoellner

Second Advisor

Dr. Joanna Levin

Third Advisor

Dr. Brian Glaser


“Running Catalina” is a hybrid memoir and history. Through the story of my running the 2019 Catalina Island Marathon with my younger three sisters and father, the reader is introduced to the rich history of the island. The narrative begins with my family traveling to the island the day before the race and gives a glimpse into both what the main settlement of the island, a mile-by-a-mile big town called Avalon, is like and the subculture of trail marathon running. Marathon morning has the reader follow my family and me to the other end of the island, where the race starts in Two Harbors.

From here readers will then accompany me and my sisters, especially my youngest sister Kate, throughout the long hours and many miles of running back to Avalon through the wild and rugged interior landscape, which the vast majority of visitors to the island will never see. Along the way, readers will learn about the original native inhabitants of the island, the local flora and fauna, the famous Catalina bison, William Wrigley, Jr., the chewing gum magnate who developed the island into what it is today, and much more.

This memoir-history gives readers a little taste of the unique nature of this island, its inhabitants across the centuries, what it is like to run the marathon, and the people who return year after year to run the hills and valleys of Catalina Island.

Available for download on Tuesday, May 21, 2024