The Rise of the Ultra Runners: A Journey to the Edge of Human Enduranceby Adharanand Finn
Setting: England, U.S., South Africa, France, Spain, Italy, Oman
Published on May 7, 2019
Format: Audiobook Source: Library
An electrifying look inside the wild world of extreme distance running.
Once the reserve of only the most hardcore enthusiasts, ultra running is now a thriving global industry, with hundreds of thousands of competitors each year. But is the rise of this most brutal and challenging sportâ€•with races that extend into hundreds of miles, often in extreme environmentsâ€•an antidote to modern life, or a symptom of a modern illness?
In The Rise of the Ultra Runners, award-winning author Adharanand Finn travels to the heart of the sport to investigate the reasons behind its rise and discover what it takes to join the ranks of these ultra athletes. Through encounters with the extreme and colorful characters of the ultramarathon world, and his own experiences of running ultras everywhere from the deserts of Oman to the Rocky Mountains, Finn offers a fascinating account of people testing the boundaries of human endeavor.
I’ve talked on this blog a lot about how I hate running with a passion that is only equal to how much I love reading about running.Â This book was perfect for me.Â Â
The author decides to learn about ultrarunning by getting a press pass to run the UTMB, a ultramarathon in the mountains in France.Â In order to use his pass, he has to qualify by getting enough points in other ultramarathons around the world.Â His journey to learn to love (and survive) ultrarunning and his interviews with the people he meets along the way are the heart of this book.Â
He covers the different types of ultrarunning – running 50-100 + miles at once, running a marathon every day for several days in a row, and running a short stretch of trail or on a track for 24 hours.Â Each has its own challenges.Â Â
He meets up with some of the best competitors and realizes that their lifestyles help them with their training.Â One person lives in a cabin 5 miles up Pike’s Peak.Â There is no road.Â You have to run in to get there and to leave.Â Others travel the world racing the hardest trails and mountains they can find.Â
He tries to talk top Kenyan marathoners into trying longer distances without a lot of success.Â
He talks to coaches and health care providers about how to stay fit for this and whether all of this is ultimately healthy or not.
I loved this story.Â I loved seeing what goes into pushing beyond marathon distance.Â Â I would never do it but I liked reading other people’s adventures.Â
[…] week, I reviewed The Nutcracker and the Four Realms. Heather reviewed The Rise of the Ultra Runners by British author (and runner) Adharanand […]
I was amused to find you hate running but are fascinated by books about it…..
The furthest I managed to run was 5K but I never enjoyed it so was delighted to find articles saying it wasn’t good for you (my excuse). Does the book conclude that this kind of extreme punishment on the body is actually harmful?
It does talk about whether or not this is harmful. It also discusses a study that showed that even if it was proved beyond any doubt that it was harmful, people would still do it.