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Ultramarathon Paperback – September 1, 1980


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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Bantam Books (September 1980)
  • ISBN-10: 0553012754
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553012750
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.2 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #791,455 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Christoher O'keefe on October 17, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
How many of us who do extreme things like ultrarunning, long distance hiking or ultracycling have had people tell us .. "you should write a book"? Not being a real writer, or having a clue how to do it does not matter to these kind folks. Somehow, they figure that just by being certifiably insane to try things that no normal person would ever do qualifies one to write a book.

Sadly enough, in my zeal to collect every single book written by ultra runners, hikers, cyclers, walkers and a few crawlers, I can tell you that most people who wrote a book were unable to convey their experiences in a compelling way. Most are utter failures.

Luckily, a real writer shows up now and again. James E. Shapiro author of Ultramarathon beautifully describes the experience and motivation of the Long Distance runner with a prose rarely experienced in the ultra writing. He describes the history of the sport from the wobblers of the CC Pyle Races Across America, the history of Comrades, and great description of his own attempt at an American record in the 24 hour during an event at Crystal Palace in London.

Why We Run the Ultras

Why do we do it?
The idea always comes first. It begins as it must, as a perverse whim that offends the ordinary commonsense. Bit it is a bit of inspiration, a diamond grain in the shoe that demands an itch.

Shapiro goes onto interview Peter Gavuzzi who ran in CC Pyles 1928/29 races across america who describes the joy of running 45-50 miles a day for 70 straight days in the Bunion Derbies. More than a simple history of Ultrarunning, Shapiro digs deep into the mind and motivation of those driven to the Ultra sport coming closer than anybody I have read in making sense out of those who need to push beyond the normal limits of physical effort.

The book is long out of print and quite expensive, but you can get a copy. You will not find a better book on Ultrarunning.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Brendan Mason on September 13, 2007
Format: Paperback
This book is beautifully written and portrays the suffering of an ultramarathoner in a way that makes you feel like you're out there too. Written long before ultrarunning was fashionable, this account of the writer's odyssey through the classic long races of the time forms a piece of history of Ultramarathons. Brendan Mason
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By G. Greenwood on March 22, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this as a gift for my boyfriend for his birthday, and while he read it in one sitting (we were doing a lot of travelling, so there was plenty of reading time!), he definitely enjoyed it.

He's reviewed it here: [...]

Enjoy.
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Darren B on July 7, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Ultramarathon" by James Shapiro was, for a brief moment in the history of literature, THE standard by which other athletic tomes would have to measure. Long out-of-print, and only issued in paperback (as far as I know), Ultramarathon was of such quality, that Sports Illustrated magazine saw fit to publish an excerpt, venturing down from the mountaintop and bringing to the die-hard major sports fanatic, a lyrical treatment of endurance running. Shapiro, the primary subject of concern, authors a true magnum opus of enduring legacy.Excelsior !
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