The Rise of the Ultra Runners by Adaranand Finn seeks to answer why ultra running has sored in global popularity. Is its rise the cure to modern illness or the symptom of a modern disease? I explore the structure of the book, key insights, and my overall thoughts in this book review.
Hello runners back again with another book review. And this one is about the the rise of ultra runners by Otto Ron Finn, the same author of running with Kenyans, and I feel bad that I have misplaced the book jacket on this guy. But this is the book itself. So I want to take a few minutes and walk through what this book is about. So if you're contemplating reading it, you can have an idea of it's a book that interests you. So the full title of the book is the rise of the ultra runners, a journey to the edge of human endurance. So it's an intriguing title.
And if I was to summarize this book, at its core, this book is a, in a lot of ways is a documentary, it's a documentary of the author's relationship with Ultra running. And in particular, what he's trying to do in the book is that he's trying to explain, and then identify the factors behind the rise of volts running around the world. And he does it from the perspective of a running purist, one of the things that is unique about auto runners that he is a runner himself, he is a, you know, a sub three hour marathon or so he's a pretty quick guy. And what he talks about, again, in the book is that he was always skeptical of ultra running, because Ultra running isn't always about running. Sometimes it's about walking, sometimes it's about hiking, and sometimes about navigating. And he's used to more road running, and more about running being for speed.
And so he was skeptical, the whole journey of being an ultra runner. And so he takes the same approach to this book, as he did run with the canyons where, you know, he's a writer, he's a writer who gets assignments, I think he works for The Guardian. And so it's a very journalistic approach where it's this project where you kind of say to yourself, Well, can I go be an ultra runner, and then you document the process? And so that's what the book is.
That's what the book is creating. Now, ultimately, I think there's a key question that the author is asking in this book. I think what he is asking is he's trying to figure out, why do people do ultra marathons? Why are people ultra runners? And I read in another review, which I think is a really great quote, and I want to adopt it, which is our people becoming ultra runners, because it's an antidote to modern life, or it's a symptom of modern illness. And I think it's a very interesting question. And so I kept that question in mind as I read the book to see how the author was going to answer that particular question. And the way he does it, the way the book is structured, is that, for the most part, it is each chapter is is the author entering another stage of becoming an ultra runner. And one of the things he talks about is that the the climax, the main event of the book is him running what the book argues is the most prestigious Ultra running race. And that is the UTMB, the ultra race around Mont Blanc and Chamonix France. And so the book is building up to him being a running purist, and then slowly doing different Ultra races in Europe and the United States, in the mountains, around a track for 24 hours, all these different experiences to gather not only experience, but also points to qualify and be able to compete and UTMB. So that's how the book is structured, and interlace within these different races that the author does, because in a lot of ways, there were another book review that it's basically, it's a lot of race reports put together in a book. And I think that's true, but there's a lot. It's a really good race report. It's a lot better than me, or you can write, you know, auto run knows how to write. He's a very good writer. And so it is race reports of these different races put together culminating towards that aim. But he's also trying to answer this question about why do people run Ultras, and He does that by not only his own experience, but also interlace within these chapters. He's talking to other people that are ultra runners. Some of them are famous names. Some of them are maybe not famous names, but they're famous in the ultra running communities may not famous to mirror you. But they are people have done a lot of their veterans of ultra runners. And so he's asking them, and he's trying to distill from them different things that he learned. He's also dealing with injuries, and he's also dealing with running mechanics. And so there's chapters on that and all those things kind of meshed together, and ultimately, that culminates in him and towards the end of the book writing UTMB So then, you know,
when I finished reading the book, I said to myself, Okay, well, did the author answer the question? Right? Did he answer the question about? Why is there such a rise in Ultra running? It's a very popular sport. It's one of the fastest growing sports. Recently, I watched the western states 100 stream completely on Facebook, which is great. That was something I couldn't do a couple of years ago. So why is there this obsession with people doing Ultra running? And he I feel like he tried to answer from a couple different angles. He tried talking about the money angle. But it's pretty clear that money isn't a huge factor. There's not huge price pressures yet for a lot of these races, which is maybe a reason why he infers that the East Africans and the Kenyans in the Ethiopians who dominate the world of road racing, haven't migrated fully into Ultra running yet, maybe the money isn't quite there yet. So it's not really about money. Is it about glory? And I think he makes an argument that there could be about glory, that there are people that really want to be known as the people who did. The first it's sort of this explore mindset people climb mountains, or discover new things, you know, going after a fastest known time is a way to do kind of an exploration thing. And at the end of it, I think, you know, when I reflect on what the book is about, I don't know if if Auto runner would even say he fully answered the question. I think what he discovered is that there is no one reason that people are running Ultra races, there's a bunch of different reasons. And many of you are ultra runners, and maybe you have your own reasons. But if I had a takeaway from it, you know, if I had to answer that question, based upon reading the book, I think one of the reasons why Ultra running is becoming so popular, is that like any really good hobby that sustains itself over time, is that I feel like it creates an ability for you to join a tribe. And what I mean by that is that I feel like one of the things that we're all looking for, is to be able to say this is who we are, this is who we from, this is what this is what we do. Some people take that in terms of the careers, right, I'm an accountant, I'm a marketer, I'm a doctor, right? Some people take it in terms of, you know, the activities that they do. And the activities that are sustained for a long period of time allow you to join that tribe. And with that comes a lifestyle. So being able to say I'm an ultra runner, that means something, right? It means a idea of what you do, it means an idea of how you spend your time of how you'd like to eat the things that are important to you. It connects you with a group of people that are doing a similar type of interest and have a similar type of lifestyle. And so it has all the good markers of being able to join a tribe. And so I think what's great about Ultra running is I don't know if it's an escape for modern life, because modern life is too stressful. We're in cubicles, we don't have a chance to connect with nature. I don't know, maybe. But there are ultra running races that happen on a track, not only in the mountains. And so that's interesting. Is it because life is too easy? I don't know, maybe but I don't think life is all that easy. I think there are plenty of stressors in life. You know, is it just an escape where you can just get away from all the constant distractions of life and just focus on the President's present moment? That's interesting. I think there's an interesting theory for that, that the author talks about as well. But at the end of the day, it's hard to know exactly the reason why Ultra running is growing. So I don't think the book answers that question, the question that I think he set out to go do. But what I do think in my opinion it does is that it lays out this idea of ultra running allows you to join a tribe, and like any good tribe can sustain itself over time because it gives you an identity, it gives you a lifestyle, and all those things help you attract more people continue to thrive to find out who you are and to get fulfilled as an individual and hopefully help others similar. So as always a great book, two great books by the author. Know what you're reading know what you're getting. Hopefully this book review gives you a sense of what it's about before you pick it up. And so there are no surprises you can find out if it's the right book for you. But if it is, it's um it's a great read you
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