FROM METH TO MARATHONS
13 November 2019
Standing amongst hundreds of other athletes waiting for the start of his first ever Olympic distance triathlon, Costa Carastavrakis fitted in quite nicely. Just like all the other athletes, he was fit looking, healthy and happy. But no one knew that for most of his life he never really fitted in anywhere, and that not too long before, this 42-year-old athlete found himself in rural Mexico smoking crack cocaine and dwindling further in a downward drug and alcohol spiral that saw him close to death.
In his first book I AM COSTA From Meth to Marathons Costa describes his incredible transformation from full-blown drug addict to runner, multiple Ironman athlete, writer, businessman and motivational speaker. His memoir is a lesson in never giving up, no matter how hopeless the circumstances.
In his unique and humorous style Costa starts his memoir describing how it all started out for him, how for most of his life he felt like the odd one out, the Greek scrawny little boy who ate ‘different’ food, who didn’t like sport and was made fun of at school because of his very long Greek surname. A boy who at the age of 12 thought of hanging himself. And though he had many people in his life that loved him and allowed him to be free to be himself, sadly the one thing Costa could never do, was love himself.
The first time he got drunk was at the age of nearly 13, at the age of 14 his first proper long slow puff of white smoke came out of his lungs, and by 16 he was smoking a pack of Marlboro Reds a day. It made him feel happy, funny and liked, a feeling he wanted more of, a feeling which eventually lead him to binge drinking, then experimenting with different drugs until eventually a full-blown addiction followed.
Costa goes on to share his journey of how he lived a double life. In spite of being a brilliant student, followed by a highly successful career and owning his own successful business, he got caught up in a life filled with Nigerian drug dealers, drug infused days and nights, and a horrific rape incident.
Then came the turning point; after one specific drug infused night Costa was finally done…’I will do anything in my power never to feel like this again. I am finally done.’ And so his journey of redemption started. A journey that lead him from darkness to a new life of becoming an athlete who has since completed several triathlons, the Two Oceans Half Marathon as well as the New York Marathon.
Costa’s humorous way of describing events that shaped him on his journey makes this book a stand out. From describing how he and a friend raced to the finish line just before the inflatable arch was taken down as they were stone last, to his first breathless run of 700m, will have you in stitches.
Another stand out in this book is the love of family, something that Costa was never short of. His family stands out as a group of people with integrity, character, compassion and a love for their son and brother that no one and no circumstances could ever take away.
This is the story of an incredible man who puts himself together time and time again, who gets up and keeps on trying, knowing that there is a special fire burning inside him. This book will appeal to all sports people as well as anyone who needs any type of inspiration in their lives. In short, it is a must read, and one of the best I’ve read in a long time.
The book is available to Run24 readers at R260. Delivery within Johannesburg is free (allow one week). Postnet rates apply to the rest of the country. To order and for more information contact Costa on firstname.lastname@example.org. Also check out his website at www.thisiscosta.com.
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