Book : Ultramarathonman

by Dean Karnazes

One thing that I have noticed in the world of running is how it is split according to the distance that you ‘specialize’. There are the track stars believe that marathoners are people who opt for longer, slower distances because the can’t run fast enough to compete on a track. Then there are marathoners who think ultra-runners are weird pony-tailed guys who go for long distances because a marathon is too competitive. Then there are the ultra-runners who seem to think that Dean Karnazes is a guy who does extreme distances because he thrives for publicity and would be lost in the crowd in a 100-miler (forgetting that he has actually won a couple major ones).

What I find inspiring about Dean Karnazes’ story is that his childhood was actually pretty normal. He was a runner in high school who did really well in cross-country but I don’t think anyone would have predicted that he would go on to become the legend that he has. A story about a seemingly normal person somehow becoming extraordinary is fascinating to me. Especially when it involves running.

Karnazes’ change came after years of not running and it was sudden. He just seemed to dive in to ultra’s the rest is history (the story about his first 50 miler is hilarious). I wished that he would have went into a little more detail on his training before his first ultra however. He obviously worked extremely hard and he mentions how the only way he could maintain a normal life is by not sleeping as much or at all. After all, the sub-title of this book is “Confessions Of An All-Night Runner”.

I completely understand now why so many runners cite this book as one of the reasons that they got into running. This is definitely one of the ‘must read’ books about running.