A searching, self-deprecating memoir of a man on his way to eating himself to death before discovering the anxiety and fulfillment of distance runningWhen Robert Earl Stewart sees his pants lying across the end of his bed, they remind him of a flag draped over a coffin—his coffin. At thirty-eight years old he weighs 368 pounds and is slowly eating himself to death. The only thing that helps him deal with the fear and shame is eating. But one day, following a terrifying doctor’s appointment, he goes for a walk—an act that sets The Running-Shaped Hole in motion. Within a year, he is running long distances, fulfilling his mother’s dying wishes, reversing the disastrous course of his eating, losing 140 pounds, and, after several mishaps and jail time, eventually running the Detroit Free Press Half-Marathon.At turns philosophical and slapstick, this memoir examines the life-altering effects running has on a man who, left to his own devices, struggles to be a husband, a father, a son, and a writer.