The Pursuit of Endurance: Harnessing the Record-Breaking Power of Strength and Resilience

Jennifer Pharr Davis. Viking, $27 (320p) ISBN 978-0-7352-2189-5
Long-distance hiker Davis delivers a volume that is more a journalistic exploration of the history and personalities behind the fastest-known-times phenomenon than the self-help treatise seemingly promised by the title. In 2011, Davis set—and still holds—the fastest known time (FKT) for women hiking the Appalachian Trail: 46 days, 11 hours, 20 minutes—an average of 47 miles per day. Having been mentored by five male Appalachian and Pacific Coast Trails FKT-ers, Davis was curious whether certain personalities, or sexes, are better suited for the long haul. To that end, she serves up chapter-length profiles of her mentors, including “The Mainstream Masochist” (exercise science professor David Horton), “An Unapologetic American Male” (the John Wayne–like Andrew Thompson), and “The Genuine Celebrity” (bestselling author Scott Jurek). She goes light on science, but posits that endurance is about embracing failure and “trusting the invisible voice you believe in, even if nobody else does,” stating that it “isn’t a human trait, it is the human trait... we exist only as long as we persist.” At times reminiscent of the writings of such travel memoirists as Cheryl Strayed and Bill Bryson, this inspiring work could become a regular companion for distance hikers or, indeed, for anyone embarking on a personal challenge. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 02/05/2018
Release date: 04/10/2018
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 978-0-7352-2191-8
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-0-7352-2190-1
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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