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The End of the Trail: A 100 Mile Running Odyssey Paperback – June 1, 2006

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 220 pages
  • Publisher: John David Fischer; 1ST edition (June 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0977991105
  • ISBN-13: 978-0977991105
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.7 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,598,238 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


I have known the author since the 80's....He and I share the same finish time, 23 hours, 34 minutes, but done in different years. So how did he do? After reading it I can say the book does indeed provide a good description for what it's like and what it takes to run the trail. He wrote this book twenty years after the event, working from personal notes he made in 1986.... this was the high point of J.D.'s athletic career and I think he felt compelled to write it all to preserve the wholeness of it all.... Another reason for the detail was his intent to give prospective Western States runners a guide for this adventure, to let them know what to expect as the trail wears them down and presents new challenges with each hill, canyon, and stream crossing. Following each chapter are a few paragraphs of his recent perspectives about that particular piece of trail, or about running in general, or about living and aging and what it all means to him.... Many uninspired personal accounts I have read of ultrarunning events can be paraphrased in two simple sentences. It was a really long run. It hurt a lot. But if J.D. were to distill his book down to its essence it would come out not as two choppy sentences but as a descriptive and meaninful haiku to live by. --Mark Haymond: "The Ringer: Tales of Wonder and Power" August, 2006

About the Author

John David Fischer was born and raised in Dunsmuir, California in 1942, near the slopes of Mt. Shasta, where he learned to ski as a teenager, and only steps from the Upper Sacramento River, one of the best trout fishing streams on the west coast. He received his degree and teaching credential in English and journalism from Chico State University. He served in the Army in Alaska, and taught 32 years of high school English and coached baseball and football in Visalia, Californa, retiring in 2000. Fischer ran his first marathon in 1981. Over the next two decades he completed 35 marathons and 39 ultramarathons, including the Western States in 1986 and 1989. Although he no longer runs the longer races, he still skis at least 25 days each winter and returns each summer to fly fish the Uppper Sacramento River. This is his second book.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on November 8, 2009
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I really enjoyed this book due to my interest in beginning a career in ultramarathoning. The author isn't a superhero, he doesn't light up the running world with his effort in the Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run, but then most people don't. For me, that is the great thing about this book. I could easily relate to his effort, to his mental, physical and emotional highs and lows as he endured nearly 24 hours of running in his bid to earn the coveted silver belt buckle. There are points where the author wanders, but this follows perfectly with his style of reflection coupled with the description of the run. I'd recommend this book to anyone interested in what an ultrarunner goes through or who's contemplating such a run themselves.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By J. Racecar on March 10, 2011
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What I wanted to read was a step-by-step rundown of the Western States 100. Dean Karnazes gives a nice description in his book, "Ultramarathon Man", but I wanted more details. John David Fischer provided every detail I sought. My problem with this book was with that it quickly became flowery and over-written, cluttered by Fisher's attempts at conveying what this experience meant to him. By the end of the book I learned to skip the chapter-ending, italicized ruminations and just move on to the next chapter.

If what you're looking for is a tightly-written, easy-access running book, such as "Born to Run" or "What I Talk About When I Talk About Running", you should keep going. If you're an aspiring ultradistance runner who wants details about the grandaddy of American ultradistance trail running and a look inside the experience of a self-proclaimed runner of average ability who manages to use strategy, training and pure guts to get his buckle, then this is what you want.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By pipparina on December 30, 2011
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I found this book just ok. The writer tried to be a bit too poetic for me when talking about the run ("the light sticks were like distant aliens watching us) I also found it just too long. I give kudos to anyone who runs this race, let alone buckles, but he could have used an editor to tighten it up. I skipped a lot just to be done.
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