Law Religion Culture Review

Exploring the intersections of law, religion and culture. Copyright by Richard J. Radcliffe. All rights reserved.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Book Reviews, Part VI (Ultramarathon Man).

Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of a Midnight Runner (2005) by Dean Karnazes is the best of the cluster of books I have just finished.

In terms of sheer entertainment value, Ultramarathon Man is the best I've read in the past few years.

If you like Jon Kraukauer's fare of adventure stories (e.g., Into Thin Air, Into the Wild, and Eiger Dreams), this book fits nicely within that niche. However, you don't have to be a sports fan or even a runner to appreciate it.

This autobiography chronicles Mr. Karnazes' amazing feats of endurance, and places it within the broader context of his interesting life, including a full-time job and family.

Just when you think he cannot possibly top his last feat, he will surprise you. He takes the reader into his world of ultramarathon running, including the Western States 100, Badwater (135 miles from Death Valley to 8,000 feet up Mr. Whitney in the summer), a marathon to the South Pole without snow shoes, and "The Relay"--a 199 mile race where Mr. Karnazes ran each leg. He was "Team Dean."

One vignette that gives you a flavor of his unique narrative is his ordering and consuming a large pizza and cheesecake while running through the night and balancing the food boxes.

Mr. Karnazes answers the "why" question that many readers may seek, but I enjoyed more his response to the "how" query.

Three words: get it now.