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Book Review: Ultra-Marathon Man by Dean Karnazes

This is probably the best running chronicles that I have come across where the “Ultra-Marathon man” Mr. Dean Karnazes, an extreme endurance athlete, shares his experiences. Dean attempted to run 50 marathons, in 50 days, in 50 states. He ran to raise the awareness in Americans to take their fitness levels to next step.

I reckon this book to be a must read in case you ever decide to go for an ultra-marathon.

Ultra-marathonWith this book, Dean also tried to answer the most frequently asked questions that he encountered:

1) Why do you do it?
2) How do you do it?
3) Are you insane?

I prefer to read this book time and again as the book has always inspired me to get out of my comfort zone and find a feeling of being alive. While reading the book, you would be convinced enough to go out for a run.

This book always serves as a tequila shot of motivation before any of my marathon runs. I would suggest it to be a sure read if you are a runner and a must read even if you are not.

Quick Overview

Name of the book – Ultra-Marathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner

Author – Dean Karnazes

Number of pages – 295.

Genre – Marathon, ultra-marathon, Sports.

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About the author

Dean Karnazes is an American ultra-marathon runner and is known for running 350 miles in 80 hours and 44 minutes without sleep in 2005. He is famous to complete a lot of endurance events.

He ran a marathon to the South pole in a tough weather in -13 degree Fahrenheit and even without snow shoes in 2002. Dean was named the Endurance athlete of the year award in 2005,2006 & 2008. He is also the president of Good Health Natural Foods.

To read more about him, you can visit his website



Though a regular marathon runner, I remember being nervous when I enrolled for my first ultra-marathon as apart from your regular pace and skills, these runs requires endurance and patience.

That is when one of my friends has presented me this book and suggested me to complete before my race day. This was indeed one of the most spirited memoirs that I came across and I felt instantly motivated.

During his high school, Dean used to run cross country season. However, on termination of cross country runs, he joined the track run to keep running which he eventually stopped because of his new track running coach.

He resumed running after a gap of many years on his 30th birthday celebration party, where suddenly he realized the unhealthy lifestyle he was leading. And then, he went for a 30-mile run on the night of his birthday. After a gap of many years, he ran 30 miles at the age of 30.

Dean has captured many races in the book like the Western states 100-mile ultra-marathon, Badwater ultra-marathon in Death valley. In the Badwater marathon, he fainted en route and could not complete. Something similar happened to me when I could not finish my first marathon.

Next was the race in the challenging bone-chilling weather of the South pole. It was fascinating to read this short chapter. The concluding race was a 199-mile relay race in which his family acted as his crew. The last chapter in the book was an epilogue where Dean gave some tips on diet & training.

I felt it was more of a running documentary & felt connected throughout the book. I suggest everyone read this book at least once to experience the ultra-marathons.

Final Thoughts

Dean might not be the best ultramarathon runner in the world but the one thing that puts him apart is his sheer attitude and rigour. He has inspired a lot of runners. His philosophy on life is nice & the way he tells his story can inspire and motivate anyone to push the limits.

The book is a ready guide for the new runners and will motivate you to go for your first ultra-marathon. I will recommend to go for this book even if you are a marathon runner or have already run an ultra-marathon. This is an amazing book narrating the story about ordinary people doing extraordinary things.

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Quotes in Book

Run when you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must; just never give up.

If you’re not pushing yourself beyond the comfort zone, if you’re not demanding more from yourself – expanding and learning as you go – you’re choosing a numb existence. You’re denying yourself an extraordinary trip.

Running is about finding your inner peace, and so is a life well lived.

Somewhere along the line we seem to have confused comfort with happiness.

Sometimes you’ve got to go through hell to get to heaven.

Pain is the body’s way of ridding itself of weakness.

The human body has limitations; the human spirit is boundless.

Sure I’m cut but not for the sake of vanity…

Endurance is one of the most difficult disciplines, but it is the one who endures that the final victory comes.

Once you permit yourself to compromise, you fail yourself.

The only one who can tell you “You can’t” is you. And you don’t have to listen.-Nike

When we pass them, show no signs of weakness. Look strong.

We have killed our souls with comfort instead of seeking fulfillment and achievement.

Thank You

Thank You for reading it through. I hope I would have able to present the book well and probably you would have already made your thoughts on purchasing the book 😊.

The book will encourage you to take running as a habit and the useful tips shared by Dean will surely boost your running skills and ease your step towards ultra-marathon journey.

Also, if you would like us to review any of your favorite book, don’t forget to mention in the comment section. We would try to brief the same in our next review.

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