Synopses & Reviews
There are those of us whose idea of the ultimate physical challenge is the 26.2-mile Boston Marathon. And then there is Dean Karnazes. Karnazes has run 226.2 miles nonstop; he has completed the 135-mile Badwater Ultramarathon across Death Valley National Park considered the world's toughest footrace in 130-degree weather; and he is the only person to complete a marathon to the South Pole in running shoes (and probably the only person to eat an entire pizza and a whole cheesecake while running).
Karnazes is an ultramarathoner: a member of a small, elite, hard-core group of extreme athletes who race 50 miles, 100 miles, and longer. They can run forty-eight hours and more without sleep, barely pausing for food or water or even to use the bathroom. They can scale mountains, in brutally hot or cold weather, pushing their bodies, minds, and spirits well past what seems humanly possible.
Ultramarathon Man is Dean Karnazes's story: the mind-boggling adventures of his nonstop treks through the hell of Death Valley, the incomprehensible frigidity of the South Pole, and the breathtaking beauty of the mountains and canyons of the Sierra Nevada. Karnazes captures the euphoria and out-of-body highs of these adventures.
With an insight and candor rarely seen in sports memoirs, he also reveals how he merges the solitary, manic, self-absorbed life of hard-core ultrarunning with a full-time job, a wife, and two children, and how running has made him who he is today: a man with an überjock's body, a teenager's energy, and a champion's wisdom.
"Many would see running a marathon as the pinnacle of their athletic career; thrill-seeker Karnazes didn't just run a marathon, he ran the first marathon held at the South Pole. The conditions were extreme 'breathing the superchilled air directly [without a mask] could freeze your trachea' yet he craved more. Also on his résumé: completing the Western States 100-mile endurance run and the Badwater 135-mile ultramarathon through Death Valley (which he won), as well as a 199-mile relay race...with only himself on his team. This running memoir (written without a coauthor) paints the picture of an insanely dedicated some may say just plain insane athlete. In high school, Karnazes ran cross-country track, but when his favorite coach retired, he quit the sport. Fifteen years later, on his 30th birthday (in 1992), on the verge of an early midlife crisis, he threw on his old shoes and ran 30 miles on a whim. The invigorating feeling compelled him to pursue the world of ultramarathons (any run longer than 26.2 miles). 'Never,' Karnazes writes, 'are my senses more engaged than when the pain sets in.' Yet his masochism is a reader's pleasure, and Karnazes's book is intriguing. Casual runners will find inspiration in Karnazes's determination; nonathletes will have the evidence once and for all that runners are indeed a strange breed. Agent, Carole Bidnick. (Mar.) Forecast: A 60 Minutes segment on Karnazes airing in March will generate interest, as will a nine-city author tour, which he will complete by running." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Charming and surprisingly quirky, providing the perfect escapist fantasy for couch potatoes and weekend warriors alike." Kirkus Reviews
"Karnazes is a truly gifted athlete, and his memoir is a good read for runners looking for something to push them back on the road and anyone who likes to read about ordinary people doing extraordinary things." Boston Globe
"Heart-stopping stuff. The world's #7 biggest sports bestseller."
"Full of euphoric highs. Rusisng with Karnazes [is] like setting up one's easel next to Money or Picasso... His book describes a journey into distance running that is much less about sweat than about the emotional terrain that unfolds at the frontier of endurance."
--The New York Times
"[Karnazes'] spirited memoir... can help mere mortals who want to push past their perceived limits or simply jump-start their sedentary lives."
"There is clearly something Nietzschean in Karnaze's makeup...that whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger.'
--Los Angeles Times
"Iron man Dean Karnazes is no mere mortal."
"Makes the extraordinary look easy."
"An exhibition of unadulterated courage and mental and physical stamina [for] anyone who likes to read about ordinary people doing extraordinary things."
"Dean's masochism is a reader's pleasure."
"The perfect escapist fantasy for couch potatoes and weekend warriors alike."
--San Francisco Chronicle
"[Dean is] like a comic book superhero who remains undercover by day, every bit the unremarkable family man."
--The London Daily Telegraph
"A real life Forrest Gump... [Karnazes] has pushed his body to limits that are beyond masochistic. They're inhuman."
Ultramarathon Man is Dean Karnazes' story: the mind-boggling adventures of his nonstop treks through the hell of Death Valley, the incomprehensible frigidity of the South Pole, and the breathtaking beauty of the mountains and canyons of the Sierra Nevada. Karnazes captures the euphoria and out-of-body highs of these adventures.
Ultrarunning legend Dean Karnazes has run 262 miles — the equivalent of ten marathons — without rest. He has run over mountains, across Death Valley, and to the South Pole — and is probably the first person to eat an entire pizza while running. With an insight, candor, and humor rarely seen in sports memoirs (and written without the aid of a ghostwriter or cowriter), Ultramarathon Man
has inspired tens of thousands of people — nonrunners and runners alike — to push themselves beyond their comfort zones and be reminded of what it feels like to be truly alive.
Ultramarathon Man answers the questions Karnazes is continually asked:
- Why do you do it?
- How do you do it?
- Are you insane?
And in the new paperback edition, Karnazes answers the two questions he was most asked on his book tour:
- What, exactly, do you eat?
- How do you train to stay in such good shape?
As an athlete, ultrarunning legend (Men's Journal
) Dean Karnazes has run 350 miles without rest and is probably the first person to eat an entire pizza while running. As an author, he has inspired countless couch potatoes to get off the couch, cancel the cable, and start running. In September, Karnazes embarks on his most monumental feat ever, The North Face Endurance 50. Beginning September 17 (at the Lewis & Clark Marathon in St. Charles, Missouri), Dean will run fifty marathons (each marathon is 26.2 miles) in fifty states on fifty consecutive days. The North Face Endurance 50 will culminate with Dean's run in the New York City Marathon on November 5.
Visit www.thenorthface.com/theendurance50 for a list of event dates and cities, and to keep tabs on Dean as he gets ready for September. Promotional blow-in cards for this unprecedented run, sure to receive extraordinary media coverage, are inserted in this paperback edition of Ultramarathon Man, which also includes a new epilogue with Dean's diet and training tips.
About the Author
Dean Karnazes, who was named one of the Top 10 Ultimate Athletes by Outside magazine, is president of EnergyWell Natural Foods in San Francisco.