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The Coolest Race on Earth: Mud, Madmen, Glaciers, and Grannies at the Antarctica Marathon by [Hanc, John]
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The Coolest Race on Earth: Mud, Madmen, Glaciers, and Grannies at the Antarctica Marathon Kindle Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Length: 226 pages

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. What happens when runners tackle a marathon over slush, ice and naked rock on an Antarctic island? Yes, their race times are much slower, but this bizarre exercise has, over the past 10 years, raised concerns far beyond the typical marathoners'. Author and Runner's World contributing editor Hanc (The Essential Marathoner) devotes the sea lion's share of this ice-bound marathon memoir to these concerns, especially in examining the determined, colorful runners competing alongside him (including "bicycle-riding grandmas" and a wheelchair-bound marathoner from Singapore). The 50-year-old writer became interested after speaking with a recently returned friend ("'It feels like I just got back from another planet,' Lipsky said") and soon found himself considering the race in spite of his better sense-improbably, the devoted runner had pushed himself to the point where running 26.2 miles on the streets of New York, Chicago or London was just too cushy. The Antarctic, of course, provides all the challenge he could ever want, and his sharp, fun and funny account captures well the incredible ferocity of life there. Though a special treat for runners, travel readers and non-athletes interested in extreme human experiences will also find this a bracing read.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

"While it may seem as simple as putting one foot in front of the other for 26.2 miles, the world of the marathon is a complex, funny, strange and fascinating one. . . . John Hanc shows us just how far that world extends and reminds us how compelling and admirable—and okay, zany—are those who go the distance."  —Runner's World Magazine



"No pomp. No generalizations. Just a friend with a great little story to tell. Witty, informative and inspiring."  —Benjamin Cheever, author, Strides:  Running Through History With an Unlikely Athlete


"John Hanc takes us along on an adventure you will never forget. A book that will haunt your thoughts and run with your mind."  —Toby Tanser, author, More Fire: How to Run the Kenyan Way and The Essential Guide to Running the New York City Marathon



"With Hanc as our trusty guide, we emerge from the tale of the trek feeling as if we were there—although we suffered no bouts of seasickness and have not a speck of mud or penguin dung on our boots."  —Mark Will-Weber, author, The Quotable Runner and Run for the Diamonds: 100 Years of Footracing in Berwick, Pennsylvania



"A must read for any adventure-minded runner, or for those just looking to get a taste of what it's like to run a marathon on the most desolate continent on earth."  —Dean Karnazes, marathon runner and author, Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner



"Full of humor, adventure, and inspiring characters."  —booksextremesports.blogspot.com


Product Details

  • File Size: 1368 KB
  • Print Length: 226 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1556527381
  • Publisher: Chicago Review Press (January 1, 2009)
  • Publication Date: January 1, 2009
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005JSZK26
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #897,057 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By J. D Morrow on March 23, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
You will definitely not get this book confused with Tolstoy or Tennyson anytime soon.

Just a fun book about quirky people who do "destination marathons." The destination for this one - Antarctica.

In this travelogue, Hanc introduces us to the history of marathons and the history of exploration of Antarctica. He also details the fun of meeting penguins and seals and the quirky people who run the marathon and who are travel guides to Antarctica.

Oh, yeah, and he runs 26.2 miles on King George Island in 4 1/2 hours.

As a marathoner and traveler this is a fun book. Also, would probably be a great intro into Antarctic exploration. (I just put "Last Place on Earth" and "Endurance in my shopping cart").
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Format: Hardcover
The title The Coolest Race on Earth: Mud, Madmen, Glaciers, and Grannies at the Antarctica Marathon was intriguing to me. What would possess seemingly sane people to choose this endeavor? John Hanc explains all in this amusing and inspiring tale.

The earlier chapters include a respectful history of marathons and Antarctica exploration highlighting the people who made it happen. You can't help but admire the courage of Scott, Crean, Amundsen and all those early 20th Century explorers.

How will the runners get there? What will they eat? How cold will it be? Do they really need the Home Depot boots? John entertains you detailing all the necessities the runners must bring to participate in the Antarctica Marathon.

All the event organizers, participants and ships's crew are profiled in a way that enables you to like them and cheer them to the finish line. Will Mr. Tan get stuck in the mud? Will the author regret his decision to forego the Gatorade? Will the birds dive-bomb the runners?

The startling photos of Antarctica, taken by amateurs and professionals help you visualize the bleak landscape and the hearty group of participants who ran the marathon.

Although I am not a runner and never intend to be, I enjoyed the look into the psyche and world of the marathon runner. A truly enjoyable book from cover to cover.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Clearly the author put a lot into this book on many levels. And it is definitely an asset, not a detriment, for Hanc to give backgrounds and history of the people, both historic as well as those directory involved in the race, to give readers the full flavor of why this race mattered. Clearly it matters to people for differing reasons. Notably, while Hanc does go into his personal reasons, efforts, and experiences, he spends a lot more time on others. His writing gives deference to others and is not self-centered, which a lesser author might have shown. When done reading thus book, I not only learned of this 2005 race, but other races as well as challenges, motivation, history, the post-scripts of the race, other races, and the people involved. It helps in such a nonfiction book to not only report the event, but to also give us reasons to care about the event and more so about the people. Very well done.
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Format: Hardcover
Hanc weaves together the history of Antarctic exploration, the running boom of the seventies as exemplified by the Greater Boston Track Club, the founding of the Antarctica Marathon, and his participation in the event in 2005. Perhaps the story would have been more appealing if it had been more descriptive of the 2005 event and less so of the historical Antarctic explorations. However, Hanc does write in his author's note: "...a few moments--come to think of it, maybe even a few miles--of the Antarctica Marathon itself [have been] left a big vague or unaccounted for because I was delirious with pain."
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The Coolest Race on Earth: Mud, Madmen, Glaciers, and Grannies at the Antarctica Marathon I ran the the first Antarctic Marathon in 1995 as chronicled in this book and know many of those who have done the subsequent races. The book accurately describes the experience and does a wonderful job of going beyond the running aspect and speaks to the very special place Antarctica is and how it affects those who go there. An inspirational book for all runners. It is a testimony to ordinary people doing extraordinary things.
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