What do runners read about? I would hazard a guess; running! My nightstand is adorned with editions of Runners World and Trail Runner but if you want something a little more substantive finding some quality reads can be a little tougher. Hands up if you’ve read Ultra Marathon Man? You have, Ok now hands up if you have read Duel in the Sun? A few less hands; if you haven’t read the latter you should; Boston at its finest. Well, here are some suggestions on a few you might not have read, not surprisingly they have an ultrarunning slant, but even for the casual 5k runner this provide a great portal into what we, as runners and as human beings, are capable of.
Survival of the Fittest; Dr Mike Stroud.
Were you impressed with Dean Karnazes’ 50/50? In 2003 Dr Stroud and Sir Ranulph Fiennes ran seven marathons in seven days on seven continents! The book explores the human evolution, endurance and adaptability. Not overly sciency it’s an illuminating read and if you ever needed a book to motivate you to exercise this is it!
Running Through the Wall; Neil Jamison
Thirty five stories from thirty five ultra runners from the front, middle and back of the pack. Each story, written by the runners and edited by Jamieson, tells the personal tale of highs lows and everything in between. If you ever needed to find an answer to the question “why do you run 100 miles” this is a good place to start!
The Extra Mile: Pam Read
A winner of back to back Badwater titles, a mother and step mother, entrepreneur and Race Director. A reasonably candid story of Read’s life, through to the books publishing in October 2006; including her battle with anorexia. She is a far better runner than she is a writer ergo it’s an easy read and not the page turner it could have been.
Some others that are on my bookshelf:
Feet in the Clouds: Richard Askwith – obsessive fell running in the UK
UltraRunning; My Story: Mike Bouscaren – exploring the elemental side of ultra marathoning
The End of the Trail: John David Fischer – an average runner runs the WSER
The above are focused on the Whos of the sport so I thought I would throw in the Hows. I get asked quite often where can people find info on ultra running, not that I am a very deep font of information; I still consider myself a newbie, but I am always happy to share what little I know, and most of that has come from this book. It is as close to an “All you wanted to know and were afraid to ask about Ultrarunning” as I have seen anywhere:
A Step Beyond; A Definitive Guide to Ultra Running; edited by Don Allison
In a similar fashion to Running Through the Wall, each chapter is written by those in the know, Broken out over seven topics: Training and Racing Advice, Physiology, Making History, Races & Places, Ultra People, Philosophy and Humor and with articles that address subjects that include; Hill Running, How to Walk While Running and The Agony of Da-Feet there are even several for your partner: the inviting "Pacing in a 100 Mile: A Nice Way to Spend the Night" and the prescriptive; "Crewing: Ten Commandments For Those Who Sit and Wait". If you thinking about running an ultra or you have and want to learn more buy this book!
All of the above are ideal stocking stuffers for the runner in your life, if that happens to be you print this post and leave it somewhere inconspicuous for them to see; I find duct taped to the bathroom mirror, underneath the toilet lid or in the middle of their 52" flat screen TV just before their favorite TV show is a good start!
Finally wishing Good Luck to friends racing this weekend; Billy, Patsy (WM24) and Kelly (GGP) at CIM and Frayed Laces looking to BQ in Las Vegas and of course to you if I missed you!