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Ultramarathon Man


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About the Author

Dean Karnazes, who was named one of the Top 10 Ultimate Athletes by Outside magazine, is president of EnergyWell Natural Foods in San Francisco.


Many would see running a marathon as the pinnacle of their athletic career; thrill-seeker Karnazes didn't just run a marathon, he ran the first marathon held at the South Pole. The conditions were extreme-"breathing the superchilled air directly [without a mask] could freeze your trachea"-yet he craved more. Also on his r?sum?: completing the Western States 100-mile endurance run and the Badwater 135-mile ultramarathon through Death Valley (which he won), as well as a 199-mile relay race... with only himself on his team. This running memoir (written without a coauthor) paints the picture of an insanely dedicated-some may say just plain insane-athlete. In high school, Karnazes ran cross-country track, but when his favorite coach retired, he quit the sport. Fifteen years later, on his 30th birthday (in 1992), on the verge of an early midlife crisis, he threw on his old shoes and ran 30 miles on a whim. The invigorating feeling compelled him to pursue the world of ultramarathons (any run longer than 26.2 miles). "Never," Karnazes writes, "are my senses more engaged than when the pain sets in." Yet his masochism is a reader's pleasure, and Karnazes's book is intriguing. Casual runners will find inspiration in Karnazes's determination; nonathletes will have the evidence once and for all that runners are indeed a strange breed. Agent, Carole Bidnick. (Mar.) Forecast: A 60 Minutes segment on Karnazes airing in March will generate interest, as will a nine-city author tour, which he will complete by running. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

"Heart-stopping stuff. The world's #7 biggest sports bestseller."
--The Economist

--Sports Illustrated "Full of euphoric highs. Rusisng with Karnazes [is] like setting up one's easel next to Money or Picasso... His book describes a journey into distance running that is much less about sweat than about the emotional terrain that unfolds at the frontier of endurance."
--The New York Times "Buzz book."
--People "[Karnazes'] spirited memoir... can help mere mortals who want to push past their perceived limits or simply jump-start their sedentary lives."
--Chicago Tribune "There is clearly something Nietzschean in Karnaze's makeup...that whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger.'
--Los Angeles Times "Iron man Dean Karnazes is no mere mortal."
--Time "Makes the extraordinary look easy."
--GQ "An exhibition of unadulterated courage and mental and physical stamina [for] anyone who likes to read about ordinary people doing extraordinary things."
--Boston Globe "Dean's masochism is a reader's pleasure."
--Publishers Weekly "The perfect escapist fantasy for couch potatoes and weekend warriors alike."
--Kirkus Reviews "Passionate"
--San Francisco Chronicle "Eye-popping."
--Asociated Press "[Dean is] like a comic book superhero who remains undercover by day, every bit the unremarkable family man."
--The London Daily Telegraph "A real life Forrest Gump... [Karnazes] has pushed his body to limits that are beyond masochistic. They're inhuman."
--Newsday "Ultrarunning legend."
--Men's Journal

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