Carmel Valley author Sid Shapira will host a kick-off book signing for his new book “Life is an Ultramarathon – Embrace the Journey” on Sunday, Oct. 28 from noon to 2 p.m. at Warwick’s in La Jolla.
Shapira, a Carmel Valley author who has been writing memoirs for the past several years collaborated with Dixie Madsen for the book. Madsen, a long-time San Diego resident, overcame a tragic and troubled childhood to achieve a successful and triumphant adult life, including becoming a marathoner at 41. In 2000 at the age of 63, she became the oldest woman to complete the Badwater 135, the world’s toughest ultramarathon covering 135 miles in scorching heat in Death Valley in less than 48 hours.
Madsen faced numerous challenges growing up in Utah. She was one of 16 children (only eight survived childbirth) born to an alcoholic father and abusive mother. She left home at age 13, was placed in two temporary foster homes and spent the next few years shuffling from one disastrous living arrangement to the next. At age 18, she got married to a jealous and abusive man. Then, after a tragic fire, she raised her late brother’s four children, in addition to three of her own.
Her misfortunes didn’t stop after moving to San Diego in 1970. She lost a son to a drug overdose, two siblings to suicide, and two husbands to massive heart attacks. Through gritty determination, a positive outlook and her unwavering Mormon faith, Madsen overcame all this adversity to lead an exemplary life.
She took up running at age 41 and qualified for the famed Boston Marathon after running just her second-ever marathon. Over her celebrated running career, she would compete in more than 100 marathons and ultramarathons.
Encouraged by her loving husband, Kendall Webb, former CIF Commissioner, San Diego Section, Madsen turned her attention to bodybuilding in the 1980s where she won the Miss San Diego Bodybuilding Contest at age 51 over competitors less than half her age.
“Dixie will inspire you to believe that anything can be overcome and, with the right attitude, anything is possible,” Shapira wrote.