ULTRAMARATHON MAN by Dean Karnazes

ULTRAMARATHON MAN

Confessions of an All-Night Runner

KIRKUS REVIEW

Extreme-endurance athlete Karnazes chronicles his running career.

It didn’t begin auspiciously. After a single high-school season on the cross-country team, he quit and didn’t run again until his 30th birthday. That night, after a drink at the bar, he ran 30 miles from San Francisco to Half Moon Bay—a mere sprint compared to the distances he’s covered since then. Karnazes has engaged in athletic contests that test the limits of human endurance: 100-mile runs, back-to-back marathons, treks across Death Valley, and one memorable marathon across the snows of Antarctica. (His competitors used snowshoes; he wore sneakers.) With plain talk and plenty of inspirational quotes, Karnazes tells readers just what it’s like to run 20 miles up a mountain side and know that 80 miles remain, how leg muscles feel when cramp strikes, and where the mind wanders when the body is punished so severely. Reading his account of his first 100-Mile Endurance Run, the reader winces as his blisters are lanced, then plugged with Super Glue, and cringes when he takes a wrong turn that adds distance to an already impossibly long trail. Karnazes does a lot of thinking about the reasons he took up such a demanding hobby. He can’t say exactly why, though he surmises that it may be linked to the death of his beloved 18-year-old sister Pary in a car accident. He also points to the comfort of having clearly defined goals (races are conceptually simple affairs) and wonders whether he might have obsessive-compulsive disorder. Whatever his reasons, Karnazes has made a life for himself in which he runs thousands of miles a year, sleeps only four hours a night, holds down a day job in business, and almost never misses his son’s ballgames.

Charming and surprisingly quirky, providing the perfect escapist fantasy for couch potatoes and weekend warriors alike.

Pub Date: March 17th, 2005
ISBN: 1-58542-278-9
Page count: 280pp
Publisher: Tarcher/Penguin
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15th, 2005




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