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
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.