Synopses & Reviews
What would induce hundreds of people from all over the world to spend thousands of dollars each and two weeks of their lives just to run a marathon in Antarctica? Especially one with a reputation as the toughest marathon on Earth?
John Hanc may have the answer. When he turned 50 he gave himself the birthday present to end all others--a trip to the end of the Earth to run his most unforgettable race.
The Coolest Race on Earth is both Hancs story and the story of the Antarctica Marathon, first held in 1995 and now an annual event that sells out years in advance. Its full of humor, adventure, and inspiring characters--including a wheelchair-bound competitor, three record-breaking grandmothers, and an ex-Marine who described the race as the hardest thing I ever did in my life, next to Vietnam.”
Muddy, cold, hilly, the race is by all accounts horrible--up and down a melting glacier twice, past curious penguins and hostile skuas, and finally to a bleak finish line. Even the best runners take longer to run the Antarctica Marathon than any other.
Yet the allure of marathon running combined with the fascinating reputation of the Last Continent has persuaded runners to brave a trip across the worlds most turbulent body of water, the Drake Passage, to a land of extinct volcanoes and craggy mountain peaks, lost explorers and isolated scientists, penguin rookeries and whale sightings, all for a chance to run those crazy 26.2 miles. The Coolest Race on Earth brings the worlds most difficult marathon to life in a book thats not only a ripping read, but also a deeply funny meditation on what makes people run.
"What happens when runners tackle a marathon over slush, ice and naked rock on an Antarctic island? Yes, their race times are much slower, but this bizarre exercise has, over the past 10 years, raised concerns far beyond the typical marathoners'. Author and Runner's World contributing editor Hanc (The Essential Marathoner) devotes the sea lion's share of this ice-bound marathon memoir to these concerns, especially in examining the determined, colorful runners competing alongside him (including 'bicycle-riding grandmas' and a wheelchair-bound marathoner from Singapore). The 50-year-old writer became interested after speaking with a recently returned friend (''It feels like I just got back from another planet,' Lipsky said') and soon found himself considering the race in spite of his better sense-improbably, the devoted runner had pushed himself to the point where running 26.2 miles on the streets of New York, Chicago or London was just too cushy. The Antarctic, of course, provides all the challenge he could ever want, and his sharp, fun and funny account captures well the incredible ferocity of life there. Though a special treat for runners, travel readers and non-athletes interested in extreme human experiences will also find this a bracing read." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"John Hanc takes us along on an adventure you will never forget. A book that will haunt your thoughts and run with your mind." Toby Tanser, author, More Fire: How to Run the Kenyan Way and The Essential Guide to Running the New York City Marathon
"While it may seem as simple as putting one foot in front of the other for 26.2 miles, the world of the marathon is a complex, funny, strange and fascinating one. . . . John Hanc shows us just how far that world extends and reminds us how compelling and admirableand okay, zanyare those who go the distance." Runner's World Magazine
"No pomp. No generalizations. Just a friend with a great little story to tell. Witty, informative and inspiring." Benjamin Cheever, author, Strides: Running Through History With an Unlikely Athlete
Chronicling the world's most difficult race through the eyes of one who ran it, this vivid and humorous memoir shares the adventures of inspiring contestants--including a wheelchair-bound runner and three record-breaking grandmothers--as they trek across the daunting terrain of extinct volcanoes, craggy mountain peaks, and the turbulent Drake passage.
About the Author
John Hanc is a contributor to Newsday and Runner's World, the author of The Essential Runner, and the coauthor of Racing for Recovery: From Addict to Ironman and Running for Dummies. He has completed 24 marathons around the world and placed 17th in the 2005 Antarctica marathon.