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Publisher's Summary

Karnazes reveals the mind-boggling adventures of his nonstop treks through the hell of Death Valley, the incomprehensible frigidity of the South Pole, and the breathtaking beauty of the mountains and canyons of the Sierra Nevada.
©2005 Dean Karnazes; (P)2006 Recorded Books, LLC

Critic Reviews

"Karnazes' book is intriguing." (Publishers Weekly)
"Charming and surprisingly quirky, providing the perfect escapist fantasy for couch potatoes and weekend warriors alike." (Kirkus Reviews)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • Overall

Great story, awkward reading

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.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Jym
  • Houston, TX, United States
  • 01-28-10

Excellent, Loved It! Ignore the negative reviews.

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!

22 of 24 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Andrea
  • Brighton, MA, USA
  • 07-10-09

Not as self-congratulating as others have said

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?

29 of 32 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Ryan
  • United States
  • 01-25-14

Motivation while you run!!!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

YES!!! (And add the side note of use as tool while you run.)

What was one of the most memorable moments of Ultramarathon Man?

When Dean finished his first 50 mile run. The after effects of the run on his body and the way he tells it is more than memorable.

Any additional comments?

For those who do not know who Dean Karnazes is: This is a great book if your are trying to accomplish a 5k or more. Listen to this book while you run, but make sure you buffer in a little bit more time for your run. You will find that once you hit your turn around point, you will want to go a little farther. For those who have heard of Dean Karnazes: No matter what your opinion is, try the book. Remember, you can always return it. This is a book about Dean. He has done some crazy stuff hence he has the right to brag a little bit. This book has just enough in it to make you think "That would be an awesome story to have." I have heard a few things about Dean from other authors and was a bit leery about listening to one of his books. One day I took a chance to find out why certain other runners do not like him. My conclusion after listening: like any sports there are certain personalities the do no jive with others. This is a good book and not one of those where the author tells you how great he or she is all the time. It is not a poor me I was picked on as a kid and I'm a victim book like "Finding Ultra". (You can read my review on that one, it’s kind of entertaining.) This is a book about what running means to Dean and how his life has evolved as his running habits have changed. He takes you through a few personal events, without going overboard and several races where you feel like you are there with him. It is a good listen for a sunny run.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Stacey
  • Fife, WA, USA
  • 04-15-10


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!

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Great Listen!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I recommend this book to any runners out there. If you are not a runner, this may not be all that interesting. But it is really nice to hear about Dean's experiences as an ultrarunner. It has a pretty good story line and what keeps you listening is the fact that it is all true! Not as great as Born to Run...but still worth the listen!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

I can’t do it

I couldn’t finish this book. If you can get through it, more power to ya. You’re truly an ultramarathon reader

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Matt O
  • Arlington, VA USA
  • 09-06-11

How Awesome Dean is, by Dean

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.

9 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Greg
  • Hopkins, MN, United States
  • 08-11-11

It was OK - marginally inspiring

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.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall


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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful