Book Review – Ultra Marathon Man by Dean Karnazes

Book Review - Ultra Marathon Man by Dean Karnazes

Book cover

When you’re going through hell, keep going. – Winston Churchill

Name of the bookUltra Marathon Man – Confessions of an All-Night Runner.

Author – Dean Karnazes.

ISBN – 1-58542-480-3(paperback edition).

Number of pages – 295(including Epilogue with Dean’s diet and Training tips).

Genre – Memoir on running ultra marathons.

About the author

Dean is one of my inspirations for running marathons. He is a celebrity ultra runner. He has, in 2004, won the Badwater Ultra Marathon in Death Valley, California and named one of GQ’s “Best Bodies of Year”. He has done 50 marathons on 50 consecutive days in 50 US states and much more. And he never gets injured.

About the book

Ultra Marathon Man – Confessions of an All-Night Runner is a biographical account of Dean Karnazes. The book is about how and why Dean Karnazes started to run again at the age of 30. As a high school cross country runner, he discovered the true joy of running wild and free. However, on termination of cross country season, to keep running he joined the track team and eventually ended up to stop running altogether because of his new track coach.

Dean brings out his time after his graduation from high school when his sister died, his father started running marathons,his super successful but stressful career and the ultimate makeover – 30 mile run on his 30th birthday. All this he covers in one chapter.

Dean captures few races in the book . Like Western States 100 mile Ultra Marathon covers almost one fourth of the book. The race report with training and race description is very exciting and interesting. He has managed to capture his raw self during the race at the most lowest point.

Followed by Western States, Dean ran Badwater Ultra Marathon in Death Valley, California where he fainted en route and failed on his first attempt.  The narration of the race is very descriptive. Apart from running, Dean also seeks out to other adventure activities like windsurfing, trekking, mountain biking and triathlon.

Next on the list is the inaugural marathon in South Pole. The challenges described are bone chilling but a short chapter. Thereafter, Dean covers a single  member relay team event of 199 Mile Relay race from Calistoga to beach in Santa Cruz. This 199 mile jaunt is an interesting read which involved his family acting as his crew.

Finally the book ends with a epilogue with Dean’s training tips and diet. Again a very informative piece.

Personal Opinion

I loved this book from start to finish though it is like a compilation of race reports. Only first and last races are in detail and I wanted more on others as well. The rest of the races were sketchy but exciting nevertheless. All in all, Dean managed to raise my the resting heart rate through the course of the read.

The narration is in a conversational mode and easy to read. The photographs were hard to come by and that too in black and white.

I read some reviews before I bought this book and people wrote that one will want to go for a run while the book is being read. That’s absolutely true. If you want a dose of motivation, then you must read this book. If you are a runner and even so an ultra runner, then this is a must read. If you are new to the sport of running, then you must possess this on your book shelf. This is a book which may change your life.

I have read this book 3-4 times and helps me getting my shot of motivation. This is a book of guts and glory of a runner who became famous by following his passion of running. So my VERDICT – a must read.

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Author: Neel

I am Neel and the creator of borN. I am an ultra marathoner, scuba diver, adventurer, writer and father of an extremely active child.

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