Dean Karnazes may be some kind of superhuman. The ultramarathon runner from San Francisco (an ultramarathon is any race longer than the marathon distance of 26.2 miles) has run in more endurance races in more extreme conditions than most of us can wrap our heads around. His first book, the memoir Ultramarathon Man, was a New York Times bestseller and introduced many of us to the idea of running for what seems like an impossibly long time. His second, 50/50, described the 50-marathons-in-50-states-in-50-consecutive-days challenge he undertook in 2006, and shared tidbits of advice about how he manages to keep moving when the rest of us would have collapsed hours (or days) earlier. His third book, Run!: 26.2 Stories of Blisters and Bliss, is not a book about how to run well, but more a love letter to the sport of distance running. Through 26 (.2) chapters (dictated into a portable recorder while running, naturally), Karnazes relates anecdotes from his years of endurance racing and tries to explain to us mere mortals why he and other ultra-runners take on the challenge of running 100+ mile races time and again. From the Atacama desert salt flats in Chile to the stormy coast of Antarctica, Karnazes writes of the highs and lows of running, delighting in both success and failure, reminiscent of the saying, "Fall seven times, stand up eight."
What is most remarkable about Karnazes is not just the physical limits to which he pushes himself, but how his love for the sport of running and never-quit attitude manages to come through as genuine and inspiring, rather than preachy. Most of us will never run an ultramarathon, but if you've even been a runner, there is a spirit in Karnazes's books you'll be able to relate to. On the other hand, if you've never been a runner you'll likely keep thinking we're nuts. It's lucky that Run! is such a quick read - it will move you to put down the book, dust off your running shoes, and hit the road.
Submitted by Jessie @ Zablocki