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

3.36  ·  Rating details ·  636 ratings  ·  96 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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3.36  · 
Rating details
 ·  636 ratings  ·  96 reviews

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Mar 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: running-ultra, 2018
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.
Jun 21, 2008 rated it did not like it
Shelves: sports, non-fiction
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.
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.

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.
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 :-)
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.
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
Jan 19, 2010 rated it it was ok
Yikes. I really wanted to be excited about this book but I can't. At its best it is a portrait of who Pam Reed says she is. She also makes some good points about women in sports. At its worst, it is a completely disorganized book that is odd to read because Pam Reed continually says she is one way and then describes something that seems completely opposite. As an example, she says Dean Karnazes (other ultra-marathon runner of great fame)isn't the focus of much of her attention but then brings hi ...more
Jan 15, 2011 rated it liked it
I didn't get the same sense of defensiveness that other readers picked up on, but I agree with the disjointedness and less-than-stellar writing. What came across to me more than anything is that Pam Reed herself doesn't understand a lot of why she does what she does, or is the way she is. Not that there's anything wrong with that - we all are pretty mysterious, and I'd rather have someone say, "I have no idea!" rather than come up with some pat answer.

What bothered me most was the overall flat a
Kendra Kettelhut
Jan 27, 2009 rated it really liked it
This book was a super quick read. If you are a runner, or interested in running this is a pretty amazing story. This woman has won tons of races and completed in over 100, 100 miles races. She has even done 300 miles in 79 hours. Yes, most people think she is nuts. I just think she is super human. I don't think I will be shooting for those kinds of distances in my running career, but she has some very inspirational words to give that make you want to believe that, as a woman, you have the abilit ...more
May 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
"This book was a super quick read. If you are a runner, or interested in running this is a pretty amazing story. This woman has won tons of races and completed in over 100, 100 miles races. She has even done 300 miles in 79 hours. Yes, most people think she is nuts. I just think she is super human. I don't think I will be shooting for those kinds of distances in my running career, but she has some very inspirational words to give that make you want to believe that, as a woman, you have the abili ...more
Jul 08, 2011 rated it liked it
I am pretty inspired by ultramarathoners. Born to Run made me really appreciate the sport. Pam Reed does a good job of writing about her running achievements while also writing about her personal shortcomings and family life. She is quick to point out that she has made a lot of mistakes, but tries to help the reader understand the psyche of someone able to run 300 miles straights! I like that she gives a lot of credit to her friends who crewed for her while competing in several races, too. She r ...more
Sep 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
Inspiring because of her strength, her honesty, and of course her phenomenal accomplishments as a runner. She goes all-out in everything she does.

I had the honor of meeting Pam Reed the day after I ran the Lake Tahoe Marathon--which was the day after she ran all the way around Lake Tahoe. Seriously. When I was on the bus that took us to the start in Tahoe City, we passed Pam as she plugged along, having already been running for many hours. I met her by chance in the hotel lobby when I was up ear
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