4:09:43, takes its title from the time into the 2013 Boston Marathon when two bombs exploded and is a compilation of accounts provided by those taking part. It focuses on the accounts of 75 runners, collected through social media: blogs posted online, stories offered on Facebook and e-mails sent to the author. The book presents these stories, condensing and integrating them into a smooth-flowing narrative that begins with runners boarding the buses at Boston Common, continues with the wait at the Athletes' Village in Hopkinton and flows through eight separate towns. The story does not end until the 23,000 participants encounter the terror on Boylston Street. "These are not 75 separate stories," says the author. "This is one story told as it might have been by a single runner with 75 pairs of eyes."
Hal Higdon has contributed to Runner's World for longer than any other writer. An article by Hal appeared in that publication's second issue in 1966. He is the author of more than 36 books, including 4:09:43, the best-selling Marathon: The Ultimate Training Guide and a novel, titled simply Marathon. He ran eight times in the US Olympic Trials and won four world masters championships. One of the founders of the Road Runners Club of America, Higdon also was a finalist in NASA's Journalist-in-Space programme to ride the space shuttle.