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Ultramarathon Man: Confessions Of An All Night Runner

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  13,781 Ratings  ·  1,130 Reviews
Ultra-marathoner Dean Karnazes claims "There is magic in misery." While it would be easy to write off his habit of running for 100 miles at a timeor longeras mere masochism, it's impossible to not admire his tenacity in pushing his body to reach one extreme goal after another. Sure, it's gory to read about how he lost one of his big toenails from shoe friction during the W ...more
Published (first published 2005)
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Sam
Dec 17, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone who thinks 26.2 miles is out of range
Recommended to Sam by: Gil Bradshaw
The closest I will ever get to an ultramarathon is reading this book. To better simulate the all night running experience described in this book I thought I would try a sort of ultramarathon reading style. So in the tradition of Dean Karnazes here are the confessions of an all night reader.

After a night at the local pool learned flip-turns from Anne we returned home to put the girls to bed. Instead of Scrabble or episodes of the West Wing (which are our surefire date-defaults) we decided to read
...more
Aaron
Mar 22, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Ug. Ego-stroking pap. The description of the Western States race is awesome, but sadly you have to read about him describing himself (hint: the word "ripped" is used 3 times) to get there. And then deal with the last 100 pages, all about a self-indulgent trip to the South Pole (look at me! I'm rich!).
Liz
Nov 23, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I recently picked up running as a way to get in shape, and it's become a bit of a hobby. I thought I would enjoy Karnazes's book both because I appreciate people who push themselves to the limit and because, as a PhD student, I know what it's like to be entirely devoted to a dream. I was hoping to feel inspired and to meet a kindred spirit.

Not happening. Dean Karnazes is so into himself that it's difficult to get a glimpse of ultrarunning through him. His descriptions of his physical form are un
...more
Timothy Allen
Dec 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: runners
Ah, people hate Dean Karnazes... but ask yourself this: would you know who Scott Jurek was if you had never read Dean Karnazes? I wouldn't.

Dean's book sometimes sounds like he's spinning a yarn. It's pretty unbelievable at points. On the other hand, he does some unbelievable things. And he does most of what he does for charity.

In general, it's a very good read. It made me feel like going out running. And indirectly, I trained for and signed up for my first ultramarathon because I read this book
...more
N. Pfeifer
Jul 25, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't realize until after I'd read this book and given it a 4-star rating that people were dumping on it for his egotism. Honestly, having breezed right through this (it's not a difficult or lengthy read by any means) I kinda felt the opposite.

I've been reading a lot about running and marathons lately and Karnazes came up as an example of an extreme athlete. Reading up about him, he seemed to be some kind of invincible superman, but him spending most of the book explaining the hell-ish condi
...more
Phrynne
Jul 19, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is definitely not a book I would have chosen for myself. I read it because my son, who is a marathon runner, gave it to me to read and I was very impressed. I am not usually a great fan of the autobiography, but Dean Karnazes writes with humour and diffidence about his incredible achievements. Anyone who can do the things he has done is a hero - slightly crazy admittedly, but a hero. Well worth reading.
Diane
Jun 26, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
About halfway through it becomes an ego-fest. Karnazes may be an ultradistance runner, but he's not the best and should stop acting that way. He's marketed himself as the posterboy for ultraendurance running and it starts to get weary in the book.
Rhiannon
May 19, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I'm a runner, and although I have not done and probably never will do an ultramarathon, I know quite a few ultramarathoners and thought this book would give me a better idea of the sport. But, wow, this book is a piece of crap.

Rarely have I read something by an author so completely self-absorbed, self-worshiping, self-indulgent, and egotistical. He feigns modesty throughout the book, but its insincerity is crystal clear. Yes, Dean, I know that you're an amazing runner (although there are other u
...more
Katerina Charisi
Mar 31, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Δεν είμαι και σίγουρη αλλά νομίζω ότι καταλαβαίνω το γιατί ο Καρνάζης προκαλεί σε αρκετό κόσμο αντιπάθεια: Είναι τρελός, πεισματάρης, ικανότατος, ωραίος, πετυχημένος, έκανε το χόμπι του επικερδέστατη μπίζνα και τέλος πάντων ανήκει σε μια πολύ πολύ μικρή ελίτ ανθρώπων που ελάχιστοι μπορούν να φτάσουν ή να ξεπεράσουν.

Και το ξέρει.
Και το δείχνει.

Και γιατί όχι; Αν κάποιος πρέπει να καυχιέται για τα κατορθώματα του Καρνάζη, τότε αυτός πρώτος πρέπει να είναι.

Γιατί όταν πας το τρέξιμο σε τέτοια επίπεδ
...more
Chad Sayban
Sep 17, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
More reviews at The Story Within The Story

It started with a single fateful decision one night to just go out and run…and run…and run. This is the story of Dean Karnazes and his life as it unfolded after that night. A non-stop adventure in the heat of Death Valley, the bone-chilling cold of the South Pole, over mountains, through forests – all while running. Through hard work and breathtaking perseverance he achieved amazing athletic acts while balancing a family and career.


“Most dreams die a s
...more
Kim
Sep 07, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. 36 weeks pregnant and I am ready to get up and run...maybe in two months or so, but I am inspired. I don't think I will ever become and ultramarathon runner, or even a marathon runner for that matter, but in a word with endless possibilities I am inspired to never be content with mediocrity. Like Robin William says in Dead Poets Society "Make your lives extraordinary."

Here are a few of my favorite quotes from the book:

"To call running 'fun' would be a misuse of the wo
...more
Sushmitha Kanukurthi
May 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I just finished reading this book about 15 mins ago and I am not sure of where to begin! Ever since I took up running (about two years ago), I have come across many a book that have left me inspired and driven about pursuing this passion. But this book has done far more. While Dean Karnazes's super human feats are unique; what makes this book so amazing is his ability to infuse that passion in the readers. He makes the book easy to read, profound, awe inspiring and a testament to what the human ...more
Mary
Feb 15, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
It's unfortunate that what could have been a really inspirational story about pushing oneself to the ultimate limit of physical endurance is overshadowed by the douchiness of the author. I wanted to be in awe and instead I was just annoyed. The constant false modesty was tiring and incredibly transparent. And I get that anyone who writes a memoir would want to shine themselves in a flattering light, so I understand Karnazes' decision to focus on races that he finished. But I think it would have ...more
Jeffrey
Nov 16, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I first became aware of Dean Karnazes a few years ago shortly after moving back to New York. That was when he came into the spotlight for a lot of people, shortly after he won the Badwater Ultramarathon. In my small running circle, I spread word of his infamy, of the man who ordered pizza for delivery on his all night runs. How he would run a hundred miles just to get to the start of a marathon. How he ran a 200 mile relay race--by himself. Most of what I knew of him came from short articles in ...more
Caitlin Constantine
This was just a crazy fun book to read. Karnazes is seriously demented but I think he knows it, which is why it was so much fun. Also, as a distance runner - but not an insane one like Karnazes - I found it totally inspiring. It's too bad I'm currently nursing a running injury because it made me want to go and pound out a 10-miler the second I put it down.

I think what I liked best about the book was how self-deprecating Karnazes is about himself. He knows he's pretty much insane, he doesn't go f
...more
Kitvaria Sarene
3,5*

some parts were really interesting, but others I didn't care for so much.
For me it felt like the author knows just *how* special and amazing he is. That undertone was a bit annoying to me (even though he might have every right to think so as he has achieved so very much). He likes to repeat his body fat percentage and that it'd be easier to run if he wasn't as "ripped" but he wouldn't stop his other sports and training "just so running is easier".

The parts about the running itself and the di
...more
Connie  Kuntz
Dec 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I did not expect Ultramarathon Man to be a tearjerker, but it was. I did not expect to laugh out loud, but I did. If someone had told me I would read this book while sitting on the edge of my seat, I would have told them to Shut Up, but, guess what, I read most of this book whilst sitting on the edge of my seat. In short, this was the most entertaining book I read in 2010.

In case you are wondering, this book is about Dean Karnazes. I read about him a couple years ago in 50/50. He's the guy who
...more
Bronson
Dec 29, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An amazing story. I nice quick read that leaves you in awe of Dean's abilities.
Matt Frazier
Inspiring at times ... but there are better books to inspire and inform ultrarunners.
Rich Szabo
Aug 31, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an autobiography of Dean Karnazes who restarted his former high school running career at age 30 and the incredible events he subsequently completed. What impressed me was the determination and drive Karnazes shows in his psyche. He trains so very hard and gets the results he wants, becoming a master of extreme distance running.

The background on his coaches and family is quite telling. Without some of the coaching he had, who knows if he'd even tried to accomplish what he did. He obvious
...more
Nate Dern
Apr 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Listened to audiobook during my commute.

A solid entry in the distance runner memoir genre. Dean is a bit full of himself and self important at times, but still a good read overall. His account of the Western States 100 mile run is especially great. It's impressive to think of Dean completing the race without the wealth of knowledge that social media and the internet provide about the event today.
Leah Salvador-Stelzner
Very inspiring. If you put your mind to it, it happens.
Daniel Solera
I received this book as a gift from a friend. Having completed my first marathon just a little over a month ago, the timing of the gift was very appropriate. But unlike many people, who run a marathon, hang up their medal and call it quits afterward, I am planning on adding many more miles to my running shoes. Dean Karnazes’ Ultramarathon Man was therefore the perfect inspiration to continue the hobby.

Although I must admit, reading this book was akin to a newly recruited soldier reading about th
...more
Arminzerella
Dean Karnazes is one crazy endurance athlete. He ran a little as a teenager, but didn’t really come back to it until he was married with kids and holding down a stressful job. One night he left the bar, ran 30 miles, and – 7 hours later – called his wife to come get him. He was sore, but he was also hooked. After that running became a regular part of his life, and then a more than regular part of his life as he began training for marathons, then ultramarathons, then ultra-ultra marathons – runni ...more
Linda
Aug 17, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’m a runner, so I think I get what motivates someone to train for a marathon. However, running an ultra seems crazy. I wanted to know, how someone goes from being “normal” to even contemplating an Ultra. The book answers that question and gives insight into the mind of an elite athlete.

I enjoyed the book. It left me wanting more. A few reviewers fault the author, saying that he #1. is a shameless self-promoter, and #2. is arrogant. Both are true, but neither is necessarily “bad.” God love anyon
...more
Craig Toerpe
Dec 12, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As I wrote down some personal goals for myself for 2012, reading 1 book a month, was one of my goals, and I started with this read. Those in the running community, say what you will about Dean and his "sell-out" of ultra running events...you still have to give the guy credit, he IS running the race. I am only a marathoner, have not yet drank enough kool-aid to enter ultras, but the sheer mental strength one needs to complete an ultra is, well, mental.

You have to love how is running story began..
...more
Benjamin Butler-bonnice
"When your going through hell, keep going" was one of the quotes used in this book.. so appropriate for the pain, torment and euphoria which is ultra running. This book, like others of Dean Karnazes is of personally experience, and those personal experiences he goes through are extremely inspiring and refreshing. Dean writes very well and expresses the moments he goes through in turning his life around from a "desk job" to constantly on foot. Ordering pizza on the phone at 3am in the morning whi ...more
Katie
Apr 26, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A quick (one to two days max), fairly interesting read. Karnazes' prose is elementary, but hey, the guy is a runner and a business man, not a Pulitzer winner. Despite this, the book jaunts along at a steady clip (harday har har) and provides some interesting moments along the way. Besides the ins and outs of several of his running adventures, the thing that I most enjoyed from this book was the perspective it can offer in my own life. "Inspiration" is too heavy (and cheesy)a word, as I have abso ...more
Brayden
Feb 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ultra Marathon Man is about a man that loves to run. Deans wife and kids and mom and dad ride in a car and feed him and watch him while he is running. His High School coach helped him accomplish is dream. When he didn't finish his raced he was disappoint and mad at himself. His adventure is when he first took on his first 100 mile race. Dean is the ultra running man and will never give up even it means death.
I would describe Dean as he loves to run as you can see, he loves running just like i
...more
Patty
Dec 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I admire Dean for pursuing his passion, figuring out how to make it part of his daily life while balancing work and family, and running for meaningful causes. Dean tells his story in a very conversational way, and makes his extreme accomplishments relatable. My weekly mileage is what he does in a typical training day, yet I saw some of myself in him. He's transparent in sharing his inner-most thoughts - his joys, fears, self-doubt - and the commitment it takes to even attempt to do what he does. ...more
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Dean Karnazes (b. Constantine Karnazes) is an American ultramarathon runner and author.
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“I run because if I didn’t, I’d be sluggish and glum and spend too much time on the couch. I run to breathe the fresh air. I run to explore. I run to escape the ordinary. I run…to savor the trip along the way. Life becomes a little more vibrant, a little more intense. I like that.” 187 likes
“Struggling and suffering are the essence of a life worth living. 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.” 183 likes
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