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Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Longest Race Book Review



When I first got my copy of The Longest Race, I thought that I would be reading just another book in an ever growing stack of generic ultra running books. Books that, now rather predictably, detail their subjects ultra running career or a lifetime achievement ultra run in a wildly epic fashion while little to none is said of life beyond running. While these books can be fun, I have been craving a bit more critical thought recently from my ultra running reading experience. I have been left wondering... can a book about ultra running also be about more than just ultra running?

After reading The Longest Race, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the author, ultra running legend Ed Ayres, did just that. He made an ultra running book about more than just ultra running. Ed used the running of one ultra race, the 2001 JFK 50 Mile, as a single stage for expanded and critical thought on aging, energy, endurance, competition, our journey from early hunter to a domesticated species and much more. Ed, through these many meditations, has made a strong case for human endurance as a path to a sustainable society.

Ed Ayres, with discernible writing style, wisdom and humor has offered a book that appeals to readers, ultra runners and non-ultra runners alike, and has given a benchmark example to follow for a possible whole new generation of ultra running books that can be about more than just ultra running.

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