ULTRAMARATHON MAN: Confessions of an All-Night Runner

Dean Karnazes, Author . Penguin/Tarcher $19.95 (288p) ISBN 978-1-58542-278-4

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.

Reviewed on: 01/03/2005
Release date: 04/01/2005
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 295 pages - 978-1-58542-480-1
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