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The Extra Mile: One Woman's Personal Journey to Ultra-Running Greatness

3.36  ·  Rating details ·  701 ratings  ·  99 reviews
The story of the woman who shocked the running world in 2002 when she won the sport's most grueling race--135 miles from Death Valley to Mount Whitney--beating her closest competitor by 5 hours!

One year after her astonishing victory at the Badwater Ultramarathon, Pam Reed again made distance running history when she braved the hottest weather in years--135 degrees--to suc
Hardcover, 257 pages
Published July 11th 2006 by Rodale Books
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Average rating 3.36  · 
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Jun 21, 2008 rated it did not like it
Shelves: non-fiction, sports
Trying not to be snarky. Trying. I couldn't even finish this. I tried. So many times. But it's so disjointed, and the writing is so poor.

I'm sure she's a very inspiring person (I picked up her book wanting to be inspired). But I just couldn't get through it, and I found her as a person so unlikeable for much of what I did read. I think I'll pick up Dean Karnazes book, because I'm terribly interested in ultrarunners, and this one just didn't do it for me.
Mar 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018, running-ultra
I did enjoy reading about Pam's races, her successes, training and life in general. What I didn't like was that the book didn't follow a timeline. It went always back and forth between older events and more recent ones. I like it a bit more organized.
Nevertheless, she is a great athlete and I enjoyed reading her story. It is very motivating and shows clearly that if you want to do something badly there is always enough time in your life to do it.
Aug 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
pam reed is bad ass!
the literary quality of this book might only warrant two stars and i think that's fine; pam spends a lot of time practicing to be a good runner, not to be a good writer. With her multiple badwater wins, 24-hour records, myriad other running accomplishments, plus being a mom and small business owner/operator (tuscon marathon), how could she find time for the thousands of hours it must take to hone one's writing skills? to me this ends up feeling more real than something sensa
Brian Burk
Oct 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Enjoyed the look into Pam's life...would have liked more insight into the races she has run, the drama, the story of the race within the race.

I’m a runner who enjoys telling a story, a shameless plug for my book: Running to Leadville
A captivating account about a lost soul, a small mining town and a 100-mile trail race that changes lives.
Feb 16, 2018 rated it it was ok
Pam Reed is a great runner, but unfortunately this book is boring and meandering.

There's so much description of people she knows, and so little description of racing and training. She writes as if she's just always good and running and goes out and does it - no struggle, no conflict, no anything interesting. It's like: "I decided to do this long race. So I went and did it. I ran for a really long time. Then I won." And maybe that's how ultrarunning is for her. If so, great. But it doesn't make
Feb 19, 2012 rated it liked it
This was a pretty good read overall, but mostly because I'm a junkie for running memoirs, and I'm impressed as heck with Pam Reed. She writes with great honesty about her life, her struggles (including anorexia), her triumphs - and I wasn't as put off as other reviewers of this book were by her "defensiveness" at times. I think she has some good reason to be; for someone who's as remarkably accomplished in the sport as she is, few people even in the uber-geeky community of ultrarunning have even ...more
Sep 20, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2009, running-related
I've been on a kick of reading running memoirs this year. I saw this book while searching around and really wanted to read it when I saw that it was a woman's story.

And Reed blew me away with her accomplishments, and she really lets the reader know about about them. And then reminds the reader again. And again. Her writing had voice, which so many memiors have a hard time with, but as I read, I found that I just didn't like her very much. At times, her tone was one of bragging. And, don't get me
Jan 03, 2010 rated it it was ok
Pam Reed is an amazing ultra runner, no doubt about it. She won Badwater (135 mile race through Death Valley in July) overall two times in a row and ran 301 miles straight (in 79 hours), among many other great accomplishments. However, she is no writer. I enjoyed the race details in her book. I guess that is what I was looking for when I picked it up at the library. However, she is all over the place in her story, talks about her anorexia, her affair, her personal issues too much. She talks abou ...more
Aug 17, 2008 rated it it was ok
After enjoying Dean Karnazes' Ultra Marathon Man so much, I was really looking forward to reading this book by an ultra marathon woman. When she wrote about running and her races, the book was really interesting. Unfortunately, she spent a lot of time whining (in my opinion) about her anorexia and rather quite a bit discussing her disturbing, ego-filled, somewhat neglectful relationships with her husbands and children. Could've done without the girlie angle. If you are going to write about runni ...more
Nov 24, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: memoirs, i-own-used
This memoir was one of the most poorly organized and unpolished books I've read. As other reviewers have said, Pam Reed is a runner, not a writer, but still I'm surprised that the editors didn't reorganize her ideas, jazz up her descriptions, and give more coherence to her musings on personal subjects. I read the book to the end and appreciated learning about ultrarunning, but Reed ultimately doesn't provide the reader with the kind of vicarious experience and understanding that a book should.

Christine Grant
Nov 01, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: weight-issues
My library is running out of titles that I am interested in reading or haven't read on Overdrive, so I picked out "The Extra Mile." Granted I know nothing about ultra-running, but how bad could it be? The answer is...bad. Ms. Reed's book is a mixed up mess that should have been article or two. I found her reference to her ongoing battle with anorexia slightly offensive--she says that anorexia actually helped her because it taught her body to thrive on very little. Not okay to say. Dangerous, eve ...more
Aug 25, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: running
This was interesting, but I didn't really find myself relating to her as a person or a runner. I questioned her honesty at times. A memoir is the perfect opportunity to show our nitty-gritty selves or to continue to show the world how we'd like them to see us. I'm not sure which one she did with this book.

All that aside, I can't believe all the things she's accomplished in running. It's pretty incredible.
Jan 27, 2011 rated it liked it
It was interesting to read, but just the parts about running (not other parts of her life). I didn't think it was very well written, especially at the end. I actually turned the page back to double check that I hadn't missed something.
Jul 10, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: running-book
As a middle-pack runner, I really admire what Pam Reed has archived. But it is hard to appreciate her writing style. Maybe just me, but there is just too much complaining in the book.
Oct 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
I was a newbie runner in 2012, and when I first took it up, I decided to read some memoirs of great runners, for inspiration and information. Pam Reed’s memoir is the first one I picked up and I’m glad to say it both inspired and informed me, the perfect memoir combination.

Most people probably don’t know what ultra running is, and that’s because it’s pretty crazy. Then again, I’ve heard that all runners are crazy, which I just refuse to believe. ;) If you’re one of those people that think runnin
Sep 06, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
DNF. Got it from audible and returned it. After listening to her whine about her marriage, then whine about the new guy, then whine about him when she was married to him, then talk for hours about anorexia, I couldn’t deal with her anymore.

I’m sorry you have shitty taste in men, but maybe take a look at you, since you’re the one cheating.

I’m sorry to that you have an ED, but perhaps replacing it with hundreds and thousands of miles of running isn’t so great mentally, either.

May 14, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I agree with other comments that the book was kind of hard to follow and the writing wasn’t very captivating but Pam has done a lot of amazing things with her ultra running career! Wow! I couldn’t believe all the races she’s run (and won) and all the records she has set. Who stays up and runs 300 miles without sleeping??? Pam.

“There is a certain amount of technique involved in running but as the distance gets longer, the race depends more on the heart than on the legs.”
Jennifer Sayler
May 26, 2020 rated it did not like it
I bought this book before reading any reviews. After getting a bit into it, I decided to check them out and all the negatives I read are inline with my thoughts. This book is definitely written by someone who is not a writer. It's choppy and her writing style is not great. She comes across as very arrogant and it's a bit off putting. I gave up reading a little over halfway through cause I couldn't stand to "hang out" with her any longer.
Bill Hart
Aug 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
If you enjoy reading of extraordinary efforts in the most grueling conditions, this book reaches those expectations. Pam Reed (mother of 5) tells her story how she developed into an incredible athlete from an average background. Winner of running events over 100 miles and over 100 degrees, she relishes victory over her competition both men and women. Do you need further inspiration?

Jude Woodcock
May 07, 2017 rated it it was ok
sorry i am sick of females athletes having to overcome shit. why can't you just be a great athlete.
Somaya AlGhazali
Interesting! She's talking about her personal life and running long distance, inspired me a lot as a runner, It's been a very long time since I've finished a book within 24 hours!
Jul 13, 2017 rated it it was ok
Meh. This was fine. Nothing groundbreaking.
Sep 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
loved this book! this woman is so amazing and strong. What accomplishments and it definitely makes me want to get out and RUN! probably not the distances the author has done though :-)
Sep 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
One woman's journey to become one of the best female runners alive.
May 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
Jul 15, 2020 rated it liked it
Decent but outside of running, Pam is a very unethical person
Tanmay Agrawal
Mar 20, 2017 rated it liked it
Read through the book. It's more of a bloggish style to me, but that's fine!

I enjoyed reading certain parts, and some not so. I read this because I wanted to know an ultrarunner. Next on the list is Dean's book to gain more insight on the so-called "rivalry"!
Sara McGuyer
Jan 07, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This did give me a little bit of motivation, and that’s part of what I look for in a book like this. Her accomplishments are inspiring, no doubt. But there is a lot to hate about this book. I felt it was almost as much about eating disorders as running. I think her troubled history with nutrition might give the wrong kind of ammunition for someone with similar battles. Among her horrible practices – not wearing sunscreen. Um. Okay. It makes me a little nervous that she has a platform to share wh ...more
Sarah Whitney
Sep 14, 2010 rated it liked it
While I did strongly agree with a few other reviewers of this book (particularly one named Wendy), I still liked the book very much. I guess I just really enjoy hearing other people's perspectives of things. I enjoy memoirs and biographies. And I don't mind when people let it all hang out in books. Call it whining or being self-absorbed or whatever, it's human nature to think about these things to some degree sometimes, and I give credit to people who can fearlessly put it all out there. Yes, Pa ...more
Jan 12, 2010 rated it really liked it
I bought this book for my sister's birthday, March of 2009. My goal was to find her a book that would bring her inspiration during the off season. She read it, and motivation is what it brought her. She passed it on to her college roommate to read, and then it got back into my hands. I found this book extremely, motivating and inspiring.

Pam Reed is a very interesting woman, that I can relate too. I love how honest she is in this book. She grew up obsessing over her body, developing an unhealthy
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