By Mandi Bierly
Updated November 10, 2006 at 11:21 PM EST

I’ve only skimmed it, and already I’m in love with the book Rocky Stories: Tales of Love, Hope, and Happiness at America’s Most Famous Steps. (It had me at the title.) Two Pulitzer Prize-winners from the Philadelphia Inquirer, Michael Vitez and Tom Gralish, spent a year at the Philadelphia Museum of Art interviewing and photographing “Rocky runners,” fans who climb the stairs and strike Sylvester Stallone’s famous pose.

It may sound like a movie tie-in, but it’s not. It’s just a fascinating testament to how the words “Rocky” and “underdog” are still interchangeable 30 years after the film’s release. The 52 stories range from the expected (businessmen celebrating a deal; a bridal party on its way to the reception; survivors of disease, addiction, and other heartaches) to the unexpected (Flavor Flav, who had to be coached on how to “Rocky” by the director of a documentary on his life — nice).

In the foreword, Stallone suggests a reason why people still run the steps: “You can’t borrow Superman’s cape. You can’t use the Jedi laser sword. But the steps are there. The steps are accessible.”

Have you run the Rocky Steps? Which movie locations have you made pilgrimages to?

addCredit(“Rocky: United Artists/Photofest”)