Life is typically so busy that I really don’t have any time to sit down and read a book. I used to be an avid reader but that has long since fallen by the wayside. To that end and to stop my brain from turning into complete mush I am a keen listener of audio-books and Podcasts. A 120 mile round trip commute and 8-10 hours of running each week gives you that time!
I was fortunate to have been given an audio copy of In the Footsteps of Greatness by Josh Mathe by Josh himself. Full disclosure, Josh is the husband of the coach that Becca used last year. While we have never met “knowing” Josh added a degree of intimacy to the listening of it.
Starting with Josh growing up in Los Angeles and his move to Northern California. It touches on his relationships with his family and wife, the latter provided him with his training plan for this event. His commitment to his business and to his clients is covered and how he manages to juggle it all while training and racing himself in preparation for his venture. Finding balance is something we can all do with some help with! It covers his systematic overall approach to the venture breaking it down into three distinct elements; Mental, Physical and Logistics.
In the book Josh tells the story of his several attempts and the ultimate completion of the John Muir Trail, (Yosemite to Mt Whitney ~212 miles). It’s a personal account which recounts Josh’s fast packing of the trail. Including fascinating technical detail of the logistics; gear choice both good and bad. It does a great job of capturing the majesty of the landscape and scenery. While only on the trail for a short time there’s no doubting that Josh encountered many interesting characters both human and non-human (bears!) and his interaction with them is perfectly captured.
The story also peels back the onion on Josh. Emotions are revealed, both the joy felt on the trail covering the miles alone with his thoughts and that of sharing a meal at the end of the day with other travelers. On the darker side Josh’s insecurities and fears are revealed including the possibility of not completing his journey when only miles from the end.
The book is well written and narrated by Josh himself, this adds much authenticity to its reading. He has an easy to listen to voice. The writing is not aimed at “endurance junkies” and posits that anything is possible if you are willing to try and try again. Josh avoids the “what you need to do is” trap, one that other athletes who have written books have fallen into. It’s more like catching up with a friend who is telling you the story over a beer!
Overall it’s a completely enjoyable listen. It contains that subliminal inspirational messaging the gets under your skin and develops over time until the point you realize your looking at the National Parks websites on how you get permits!
Available in hard and soft media versions. As an audio-book it comes it at four hours, perfect for one or two longs runs or a road trip although don’t be surprised if you find yourself listening to it at every opportunity, it’s that compelling.
This product was provided free of charge by Josh Mathe. See previous gear reviews in the Reviews tab above. If you have a product you’d like reviewed, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.