©2005 Dean Karnazes; (P)2006 Recorded Books, LLC
"Karnazes' book is intriguing." (Publishers Weekly)
"Charming and surprisingly quirky, providing the perfect escapist fantasy for couch potatoes and weekend warriors alike." (Kirkus Reviews)
Basically a story about your average doofy guy who runs really long races as his way of releasing steam -- lots of amusing anecdotes about running long distance races, so if you're expecting insight into what an ultra-runner might eat / drink / train like, you won't be disappointed. As a runner who listened to this while doing training runs for an upcoming marathon, I liked the story and found it motivating. Most people who are into running at all know who Dean is at this point, so it was interesting to learn more about him as a person and how he became the runner he is today. Sure it's a little "I can run 226 miles", but if you could run that far, and did so, wouldn't you brag a little in a book about yourself?
I'm no writer, so to say that Ultra Marathon Man is an inspirational book is a monumental understatement. The beginning of the book is entertaining and enjoyable. As it progresses you get to know the author, and before you know it, you're hooked. The shear endurance of the man is nothing short of amazing. As you listen to the highs and lows of Kardo's running pursuits, the strength he finds from his family, and the beauty of the lives changed through his fund raising efforts, you find yourself drawing strength for your own day to day pursuits. I have found myself pushing harder and stretching farther to reach my goals than I have ever been able to at any other point in my life. If you are looking for some inspiration, this book will do it!
I thought this was a great audio book. I'm so glad I bought it. It's well worth the money (credit), and I'm not even a runner. I run a little on the treadmill, but mainly I ride a road bike and do weight training. It's absolutely incredible what this athlete can do. The dedication, discipline, and physical endurance it takes to run the distances he does is mind-blowing. I have seen a few interviews with him and think he's got a great attitude and personality. A few other people wrote reviews saying that he was bragging and self congratulatory. Well, I was listening for it and didn't hear anything like that, not even once. Jesus, the guy just spoke of his long distance runs with passion. That's what you buy the book for. I don't know what those people were expecting, but if you want a great book by a great athlete, this is it!
Did Dean ever tell you about the time he ran to the South Pole in gym shoes, flew back in time for his kid's birthday, then banged his hot wife before saving an infant from liver failure? No? Well sit back, dude, 'cause James Yaegashi's gonna wheedle his nasally way through this self-congratulatory autobiographical marketing piece from America's best known fourteenth-place ultramarathoner.
There's a great story in here, somewhere, and I'm definitely in awe of the man's willpower. I just wish he'd written about more of those things. He builds up his first Western States Ultramarathon run, drags you through every mile of it - introducing some fascinating characters along the way - and chucks the whole thing over his shoulder once he's crossed the finish line.
Who was the guy with the Humvee and the huge rifle? Who was the military guy who told him he wanted to see him with a sub-24 hour finisher's buckle? Did the Army Rangers ever finish the race? Was the indian chief real or just a hallucination?
If your question is any of the above, prepare for disappointment. Those people aren't Dean, so you don't get to hear about them once they've stopped influencing Dean's run. You will get to hear about how much junk food he eats on runs and his amazingly ripped physique...several times.
Read the print version years ago and am now listening to it for summer motivation. Love the story, although I recognize that he's not as unique as his writing makes him out to be ??? there are many more like him who run ultra marathons ??? but, as is the case for most public faces, he's got the charisma to share it.
While I would have preferred the author's reading, the narrator does a fine job. But, there are numerous pregnant pauses throughout. Up to 5 seconds of silence in the middle of a chapter ??? and I'm listening at 1.5x! At times I can even hear the inhalation of the narrator for a moment before the narration continues. It may simply be poor editing, but it sure makes it awkward to listen. I prefer a continuous flow with short pauses in between chapters.
This book starts off well, peaks during the Western States 100 narrative, but never really picks up any steam beyond that. I didn't find it as self-congratulatory as others, but I found his writing style lacking the detail I wanted from his experience. By far the worst aspect of this audiobook was the narrator. In order for me to enjoy an audiobook, the narrator has to have some game, and this guy was pretty bad. Very long pauses between chapters, and robotic conversational inflection were distracting elements from what could have been an enjoyable book.
Entertainingly written and inspiring. However, he never admits his mortality or if he has ever failed to complete one of these Megathons.
Somebody has to be out there pushing the limits so the rest of us stop thinking so much of life is out of reach.
I like Jack Reacher style characters regardless of setting. Put them in outer space, in modern America, in a military setting, on an alien planet... no worries. Book has non moralistic vigilante-justice? Sign me up! (oh, I read urban fantasy, soft and hard sci-fi, trashy vampire and zombie novels too)
It is rather motivational. Even if you never plan (or want) to run extreme distances, it does pick you up for those short runs too - i.e. if he can drag his butt through 199 miles, why can't I just finish this 5 miles?
He is very extreme and I imagine it's a good thing there are few like him - I believe that running is good for body and soul, but don't think we should push ourselves to the extent that these extreme runners do.
I find it amazing that he can fit a family life and a job into his reality, but he claims to do so. Makes me feel lazy with my one hour a day to hear how he runs, literally, from Friday night to Sunday evening, then goes back to work on Monday morning.
Sigh... I really gotta keep his determination in mind when I give up on my marathon training mid-season because I find it too time-consuming. The narration is good, and there's no sense of the author being "full of himself". He has done amazing things with his body... good for him!
Some negative reviews call this a Dean Karmazes self congratulatory novel. To me this was a step by step history lesson of a man that didn't see purpose in his business life, decided to change that and turned to ultra running to get in touch with his spirituality. We are taken through his first run after the epiphany (which took him weeks from which to recover), through a number of other races where Dean discusses his self doubts and the inner being that drives him. Along the way we are introduced to a cast of memorable characters. At the end of the book you feel if Dean can do, why not me? Very inspirational.
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