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Running Through the Wall: Personal Encounters with the Ultramarathon Paperback – April 1, 2003
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A compelling read even for those who have no intention of trying to run 31 miles or more at once. -- Mark Taylor, Outdoors Editor, The Roanoke Times
From the Publisher
What it's really like to run an ultramarathon.
This book is a warm, fascinating, human introduction to the sport of ultramarathoning. You'll find out what it's like for the stars, like Ann Trason and Tim Twietmeyer and Ian Torrence -- and also what it's like for average runners who decide to run through The Wall. In ultramarathoning, ordinary people can discover the extraordinary within themselves.
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I always wanted to try something bigger to see what I am made of. I was intimidated to even think of a 50K. HOWEVER .... After reading this book I realize that aside from the elite runners, (Ann Trason, Tim Twietmeyer and Dean Karnes) who run 100 milers in the neighborhood of 14 hours! The sport of ultra running is an "every man" sport. It becomes not a quest for who is fastest, or even a competition of who slows down the least, but a competition of who won't quit.
The other inspiring difference of ultra running is that there appears to be genuine camaraderie between the competitors. It isn't about being "the ONE" who wins but more about being in the group who finishes. The runners seem to be competing less with each other and much more against the task at hand and themselves. This is especially motivating for a guy like me who will never "win" a race but can push might be able to push myself further than I thought possible.
So for better or worse I am planning to do my first Ultra in September this year, the Vermont 50
It's a book for people who want to get a little insider glimpse of what ultrarunning might be like, the high points and the VERY low points, what it means to the people who do it, why they keep going back for more. And for me, it's another little seed of possibility planted in my brain, of a new passion in my not too distant future.
I love the fact that such a diverse group of people were called upon to contribute to this book. The diversity of it is definitely its strongest suit.
But most fascinating are the honest remarks by people who fell short, who "failed", and who in the process succeeded in learning something important about themselves. My favorite of all, by Keith Knipling:
"In the process of completely exhausting myself, I connect with an inner part of me ordinarily veiled by the everyday distractions of life. During that short time spent on a trail in the mountains, my life is reduced to its simplest terms. Most ultrarunners are people who find goodness and joy in difficult times, who see beyond the misery to the beauty of nature, and who truly realize the elemental and important aspects of life. Going for a run always clears my head, but running 100 miles distills my soul."