Published on September 18, 2013
Dean Karnazes has long been the poster boy (now in his 50s, the poster man) of ultra-running. His exploits are legendary, his achievements legion and often draw-dropping and his first – of three books – Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner deserves a place on the shelf (or ebook reader) anyone with even a passing interest in the potential of the human body.
For non-America readers the book’s initial pitch about a non-athlete finding his way and purpose in life, pretty much by accidentally, through distance running might feel a little treacly; but put your cynicism-aside Brit readers, Karnazes’ story is inspiring and his exploits deserve to be read, wondered at and, if at all possible, used to set our own bars just that little bit higher.
Karnazes writes with wit and charm and if, at times, it feels a little self-promotional remember you just bought a book by him – of course it’s (partially) self-promotional, he makes his living doing the kind of things most mortals only dream of – or have nightmares about.
Of course Karnazes is not like ‘normal’ runners; even he is at a loss to truly explain how he does what he does and labs have proven equally ineffective at getting to the bottom of it. In one extended treadmill test his lactic threshold was shown to effectively run in reverse, the harder he pushes himself, the ‘easier’ it becomes – which is to take nothing away from his phenomenal achievements. The point being that even to reductively call him ‘superhuman’, doesn’t mean we can’t aspire to his level and learn from what Ultramarathon Man has to say.
Also: RunningMonkey can’t help but admire his dedication to pizza. Carb up…
Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner (ISBN-10: 1585424803) by Dean Karnazes is published by Jeremy P. Tarcher (reprint edition), RRP £12.99 paperback, £8.87 Kindle – available from Amazon.co.uk