Jim Fixx

James F. Fixx (April 23, 1932July 20, 1984) was the author of the 1977 best-selling book, The Complete Book of Running. Best known as Jim Fixx, he is credited with helping start America's fitness revolution, popularizing the sport of running and demonstrating the health benefits of regular jogging.

Life and work

James F. Fixx, from New York, NY, USA, was a graduate of Oberlin College. He worked as an editor with Saturday Review, McCall's, Life, Horizon and Audience magazines. He had written for magazines such as Saturday Review, Life and Playboy. His first writing job was at the Oberlin News Tribune, his next the Sarasota Journal. In his youth he worked as a gas pump attendant.

Fixx was a member of the high-IQ club Mensa and published three collections of puzzles: Games for the Super-Intelligent, More Games for the Super-Intelligent and Solve It! The back flap of his first book says: "...He spent his time running on the roads and trails near his home, training for the Boston Marathon."

Fixx started running in 1967 at age 35. He weighed 240 pounds (=108.8 kilograms) and smoked two packs of cigarettes per day. Ten years later, when his book, Complete Book of Running (which spent 11 weeks at No. 1 on the best-seller list) was published, he was 60 pounds lighter and smoke-free. The book inspired millions of people. In his books and on television talk shows, he extolled the benefits of physical exercise and how it considerably increased the average human being's life expectancy.

The cover of Jim Fixx' book, The Complete Book of Running, featured Fixx's muscular legs against a red cover. The book sold over a million copies.

In 1980, Fixx wrote a follow up book entitled Jim Fixx's Second Book of Running: The Companion Volume to The Complete Book of Running.

In 1982, Fixx published Jackpot!, the story of what happened after the publication of The Complete Book of Running when he experienced the "Great American Fame Machine", becoming richer and more celebrated than he could have imagined. In one account, he noted an experience of being on a TV show with George Harrison, and noticed that Harrison was not sitting down in the "green" room. Upon inquiry, Harrison said that sitting down wrinkles the pants. He had become a guru of the running boom.

Maximum Sports Performance, published posthumously, discusses the physical and psychological benefits of running and other sport, including: increasing self-esteem; acquiring a "high" from running; and being able to cope better with pressure and tension.

Fixx died at the age of 52 of a massive heart attack, after his daily run, on Route 15 in Hardwick, Vermont. The autopsy revealed that atherosclerosis had blocked one coronary artery 95%, a second 85%, and a third 50%. Many who opposed his beliefs said this was proof running was harmful. However, Fixx came from a family where the men had poor health histories. His father suffered a heart attack at the age of 35 and died of one at 42. Given Fixx's unhealthy lifestyle until he took up running, many argued that running added many years to his life.

A carved granite monument—a book with an inscription to Jim Fixx from the people of northeast Scotland—now stands in Hardwick Memorial Park, in Hardwick, Vermont.


  • Fixx, James, Games for the Super-Intelligent (1972) Doubleday
  • Fixx, James, The Complete Book of Running (Hardcover) Random House; 1st edition (1977) ISBN 0-394-41159-5
  • Fixx, James, Jim Fixx's Second Book of Running (Hardcover) Random House; 1st ed edition (1980) ISBN 0-394-50898-X
  • Fixx, James, More Games for the Super-Intelligent (1976) Doubleday
  • Fixx, James, Solve It! by James F. Fixx (1978) Doubleday
  • Fixx, James, Jackpot! (1982) Random House; ISBN 0-394-50899-8
  • Fixx, James, (with Nike Sports Research Laboratory) Maximum Sports Performance: How to Achieve Your Full Potential in Speed, Endurance, Strength and Coordination (1985) ISBN 0-394-53682-7


  • Fixx, Jim, Jim Fixx On Running (Laserdisc), MCA Videodisc, INC.; (1980) Color, 53 minutes

References in popular culture

Many late-show hosts and stand-up comedians, including Bill Hicks and Denis Leary, did routines on Jim Fixx, notably on the irony of Fixx's abrupt death in light of being viewed as a health guru.

The song "I'm Jim Fixx and I'm Dead Now" is a song by Australian band The Fauves found on their album Nervous Flashlights. The song details Fixx's death during exercise and is based on the famous Bill Hicks routine.

See also


External links

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