Ultra Marathon Man
by Dean Karnazes
Ultrarunning legend, Dean Karnazes, has run 262 miles – the equivalent of ten marathons – without rest. He has run over mountains, across death valley, to the South Pole, and is probably the first person to eat an entire pizza while running. With an insught, candour and humour rarely seen in sports memoirs, Ultramarathon Man has motivated hundreds of thousands of people – runners and non-runners alike – to push themselves beyond their comfort zones and simply get out there and run.
I picked up this book out of interest, having done the odd 10k run myself. I started reading the first chapter and I was hooked, I barely let the book out of my hands until I was finished.
From the first chapter when Dean is craving food while running in the early hours and ordering himself a pizza literally on the run, we follow his treks over The Western States Trail, through Death Valley and down to the South Pole. These are incredible journeys that leave you gasping at what the human body is capable of enduring.
Dean’s first attempt at the 100 miles Great Western Trail is described in great detail and it is a totally engrossing read: the high points – not so many; and the low points – that get harder and harder to bear, as body parts start failing and some even fall off! Still he keeps going. The only complaint I have here is that no mention was made of the after effects and I really wanted to know how much damage he had done and how long the recovery was.
For his next challenge, Dean attempts to run through Death Valley in the height of summer with temperatures reaching 130 degrees fahrenheit, the asphalt underfoot exceeding 200 degrees; the run a mere 135 miles long.
After this, needing some cooling down the obvious place to go is the South Pole where Dean and a select band of runners try to become the first runners ever to run a marathon to the south Pole.
I loved this book. I was totally immersed in Dean Karnazes’ adventures, metaphorically running alongside him in frank amazement but also huge admiration. The writing style makes it a very easy read and Dean comes across as a charismatic character. You don’t need to be an expert runner, or a sports person of any kind really, to read this, apart from some diet and training tips at the end, it’s not technical at all.
This is such an inspirational book, Dean karnazes’ attitude is so positive, his motto is:
Run when you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must; just never give up.
whether you want to run an ultra marathon or your goals are a little more modest and maybe just getting out of bed in the morning is an achievement, this can be applied to anything at all in life.