Ed Ayres has been a leading long-distance runner for the past half-century (four-time national age-division champion and founder of Running Times magazine), and during that time he has also made his living as an editor for some of the world’s top physical and biological scientists (he was editorial director at the Worldwatch Institute). Over the years, he has noticed—and studied—striking parallels between what it takes to succeed as an endurance runner, and what leading scientists say will be necessary for human civilization to endure much longer.
In 2001, nine weeks after the 9/11 attacks, Ed decided to put his observations about these parallels to a test, by entering America’s largest ultramarathon, the JFK 50-Mile Endurance Run, as a 60-year-old man convinced that by applying the principles of sustainability he had discovered, he would be able to keep pace with elite ultrarunners 20 or 30 years younger.
Ed’s book The Longest Race recounts that story and what he believes may be its implications for human potential and the human future. The book has received strong praise both from prominent endurance athletes and from leading environmental scientists. The full title is The Longest Race: a Lifelong Runner, an Iconic Ultramarathon, and the Case for Human Endurance.