by KB Meniado

THE STORY

After getting her heart broken, 23-year-old Diana Gomez is afraid to fall in love again. But when her office crush Paul invites her to join a running club with him, she goes for it. 

What she doesn’t know is that to be a part of the club, she actually has to train for a half marathon—and that she’ll meet Joshua, the handsome club veteran who becomes her unofficial running buddy. 

As if it isn’t hard enough to do speed work, interval training, and long runs after work and on weekends, she has to deal with her feelings for both boys and face her fears of falling in love. 

Will she reach the finish line without getting herself (or her heart) injured? Journey with Diana as she reaches running milestones, overcomes obstacles, pushes herself to the limit, and discovers the strength within her… one kilometer at a time. Get a copy: Amazon / Read reviews: Goodreads

WHAT I LIKED

Go back and read the first paragraph of the blurb, and then feel free to cringe. Just kidding. We’ve all done it, don’t worry—you know, do something out of our comfort zones (or something that’s stupidly shameful/shamefully stupid) just to get close to our, *siiiigh*, crush. Not that there’s anything wrong with that; it’s 2018, we go after what we want, right?! Because we might get it. With hard work, determination… and some sort of universal/divine intervention! *pumps fists in the air* Sometimes, we even get more than what we hoped for.

And that’s Diana’s story, in a nutshell. She may have joined the Finishers to catch Paul’s attention (even with the threat that is feisty, flirty Amaya*, and D being a zero everything in the sport), but she reached the finish line bagging more worthwhile victories, like 1) an enviable, fantastic meet cute with an older guy that’s the perfect balance of soft and hot,

(Spoiler alert! Highlight succeeding text to read.)

“Here, have some water,” said a deep, gentle voice. I looked up and saw a man standing over me, a bottle of water in his hand. I couldn’t see his face, but because he was blocking the sun, he seemed to be surrounded by a halo of light.”

and 2) the journey to her (pardon this ancient pun) Fergalicious mind and body, working on the fitness of her self-worth—the most important of all, if I may say so, since love for others cannot happen without love for self (bow). That, I saw in her character development as she learned how to run, from the pavement to the woods to the arms of the one she chose. I liked the way she let herself wonder about the possibilities but was also quick to assess her realities. From “I love my cake and ice cream too much. My one-ab stomach grumbled. Mmm… ice cream for breakfast” to “But with each mile I conquered, I began to feel stronger and more alive,” she remained easy to relate to. I’m not one who enjoys running (I’d rather cycle or box), but following her progress made me think about… well, jogging, at least. It was definitely fun ~training along because the author did a great job putting me right into the story. (Not to mention, imagining being torn between two love prospects! Yay, romance in sports! Lots of action!)

Speaking of other fun things: THAT COVER (by Miles Tan, creator of magic), vivid descriptions of places around Quezon City, glimpses into what the running community is like (training and then eating right after; like any other sports club, haha), hole-in-the-wall restaurants serving mouth-watering food, swoon-worthy, breathtaking (hah) moments (like a we’re-buying-sports-bras-together kind of date), helpful insights on how to self-check, like

“I have taken a risk, remember? And it didn’t work out.”

“Well, you’ll just have to keep taking risks until it does. That’s how life—and love—works.”

and

“It’s okay if you finish last—as long as you finish!”

*Just a short note on this character: She was a little too one-dimensional, and I wish I could know her better, understand where she’s coming from

tl;dr

An engaging, inspirational sports romance, Love At First Run by Angel C. Aquino will have you hopeful about that perfect—nay, right stride… in life and in love. I enjoyed running miles kilometers in Diana’s beat-up training shoes that I kind of wish I wrote this book! ☁

This reviewer signed up for an ARC through the author. Love At First Run is now available on Amazon and in print.
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