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Seeing the country, the hard way,
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This review is from: Running on Empty: An Ultramarathoner's Story of Love, Loss, and a Record-Setting Run Across America (Hardcover)
Marshall is one of America's finest, yet least known, extreme endurance athletes. If you Google him, you'll find a list of accomplishments so long and varied that it will be hard to believe. But Marshall hasn't been one for self-promotion, so until recently he may be best known for having all his toenails permanently removed, rather than for anything else he's done.
Marshall's cross country run was the subject of a movie, "Running America",that I thought was a superficial look at what I knew must have been an amazing, intense effort. When I sat down to read his book, I found "Running on Empty" to be just about everything I wanted the movie to be.
Marshall goes into great detail about the challenges he faced during the run and how he overcame them. I got a much better picture of who he was, why he'd try such a thing, what he went through, and how everyone involved felt about the whole thing. Marshall shares the special moments during the trip and the exhilaration he felt when he finished, but he's not shy about discussing the downside of his dedication to complete his goal and the toll it takes on those around him. (Along the way, he also discusses some issues that help explain why the movie came out the way it did.)
He's definitely a runner who writes, not a writer who runs (unlike Christopher McDougall, who's "Born to Run" has broken out to find an audience among non-runners), but his honest and matter-of-fact writing style goes over well. Marshall doesn't make himself out to be the greatest thing since sliced bread. If anything, his straightforward writing style tends to downplay the nature of his accomplishments.
I raced through Marshall's book in two days.