August 2021 Book Club -- "The Rise of the Ultra Runners" by Adharanand Finn

Alright folks, I believe August is my month. We’ve had a string of really great suggestions and hopefully this one will follow suit. Finn is an ultra runner himself and has written a couple other successful books over the years. I see this one referenced a lot among all the ultra-Twitterati I follow and it’s always with great praise.

Also, I triple checked and it IS on Audible, for those of you who are interested!

Hope everyone is doing well!

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I have had this audio book on my headphones for 3 ultras…Finn has become a part of my running memories😂 really loved this book, actually all of his books, and the way he overlaps his personal stories with the stories of others. Really brilliant read.

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Oh man, well I’m sorry it’s one you’ve already read it! But I’m glad you think his stuff is good! I"m excited to dive in.

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I know there are a still a few days left in the month but I figured I’d add some thoughts here just in case anyone wanted to discuss the book early.

  1. @Tryintrails was right about Finn’s writing. I really enjoyed his weaving tangents about other runners in and out of his personal stories.
  2. The discussion of the medals for Comrades Race was very interesting to me. I had no idea that there was so much nuance/detail in what finisher’s award you received.
  3. The story about Kenyans running ultras was an eye opener for me. “My toe hurts” definitely made me think – and it makes sense. If their livelihood is their feet, then why push it?? Esp for small purses…
  4. The final section was bit dismaying for me based on the news of UTMB+IRONMAN (covered elsewhere on this forum) and the fact that it’s coming up this week. It’s a race I’ve always wanted to do, but it does sound like it’s going to be even further out of reach for the average runner (or the straight-up-mediocre-runner like me!)

Let us know if any of you have any other thoughts! Thanks!

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Just finished the book, and I was thinking about the same. However this is a book, and the author also makes living from this book. I believe a few things may be exaggerated a bit. Writing a book where he describes let’s say that “UTMB was pretty hard, and oooh, I run a lot, and it is absolutely doable with 2 years of training” … well… not may people would buy this book.
Generally I like the book, and all the pictures he described is vividly here in front of my eyes, like I was there running with him . And this makes a book a good book I think.

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I finished it last week. Overall, I enjoyed it and he did a great job of describing the feelings and emotions that run through your head.
I did feel like the author played down the opportunities he had through his job that he was able to fly all over the world to get his points and experience. Sadly, that’s not the case for most of us.
I felt the author ‘had some tickets on himself’ (as we’d say in Oz).

Interestingly, I have a trail buddy that says this is best of the three books and I have a road running buddy that says it’s the weakest! I haven’t read the other two, so can’t comment.

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+1 thought, going back to the original comment of @mk717 :
If we oversimplify it, then he did the longest distance of UTMB, while he:

  • worked in an office 9-5
  • sits on a chair all day
  • has wife + children + family
  • not a professional runner, but he did it for fun, let’s say as a free time activity, besides the daily job he has

This describes probably 90% of this community as well.

Even if I was not going to make it in the next 10000000 years and I think this is a crazy achievement, I still think this is feasible if you put the right amount of training to it.

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That’s certainly true. I hope UTMB doesnt become unattainable for us mere mortals.

Yes, Finn definitely has an advantage when it comes to access. I cant say I’m not a little jealous!

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:slight_smile: ooooh, how many time I had the same thought while reading the book…

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