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Relentless: Seven Marathons, Seven Continents, Seven Days

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The World Marathon Challenge—seven marathons on seven continents in seven days—is the ultimate race for adventurous runners. It tests the athletes to their limits, going from biting cold Antarctic conditions one day to dry desert heat another. To survive the onslaught of sensations—fear, fatigue, depression, elation—takes a special sort of determination and strength of will. Few would voluntarily take on such a challenge, and fewer still would finish it.

Seven Marathons, Seven Continents, Seven Days is David Gething’s amazing story of his journey from a middle-aged couch potato to a World Marathon champion. Gething gives a deeply personal and candid view of what it is like to compete in one of the most demanding amateur sporting events on the planet, including the sacrifices made just to get to the start of the race and what it takes to win. He describes in detail each individual contest—originating in Antarctica and ending in Australia a week later—and the physical, emotional, and psychological sides of this grueling, multi-day stage race. Far from just depicting the event itself, Gething also delves into the interpersonal relationships, rivalries, and bonds that form on this adventure that is like no other.

Featuring photographs taken during the event from Gething’s personal collection, and including private emails to and from the author and his family and friends, Relentless gives a truly unique and intimate view into the inner workings of this punishing ultra-endurance battle. Marathon runners, sporting enthusiasts, and anyone with a dream and a determination to succeed despite the odds will find Gething’s journey a fascinating and inspiring story.

230 pages, Hardcover

Published October 16, 2016

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David Gething

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Displaying 1 - 9 of 9 reviews
Profile Image for Carianne Carleo-Evangelist.
693 reviews13 followers
May 30, 2022
It's been a while since I wrote up a book I'd read, but it has been an even longer while since I read a running book worth sharing. This is the story of Gething's participation in the 2015 World Marathon Challenge. Elements of the story seemed familiar so I either read it before, or it has been excerpted, or both. Either way, it was a good, quick read. Gething went from being utterly unfit and on the verge of a heart attack by 40 on the  eve of his eldest daughter's birth to running seven marathons in seven days at an average pace of under 3:30. Wow. He's also a competitive ultrarunner and triathlete. While the early chapters covered the rest of his story, the bulk of this book was his seven marathons interspersed with some sports history about stage racing. I appreciated this as they're not something I follow and found the sportsmanship stories as he battled with Doug to be fascinating. His trip sounded utterly exhausting, even without running two subsequent marathons on a broken ankle. While this isn't the best written book, he was a fun storyteller.
Profile Image for Sarah Baur.
24 reviews
September 20, 2017
I have had the pleasure of knowing David Gething since 2008 as my dog's veterinarian. Imagine my shock when one morning in January 2015 I see him on the front page of the South China Morning Post as the winner of the World Marathon Challenge! What's funny is that I saw him for a checkup the previous week for my dog and I was worried about his health - he looked so thin! I had no idea he was training for this journey.

After seeing him in our paper, I emailed him to congratulate him and got a reply saying something to the effect that he was surprised by the attention this was getting. That speaks volumes of David's character. He is amazingly kind and humble, and obviously incredibly disciplined and driven.

I am not a runner, but I appreciated and enjoyed the stories he tells in Relentless. The descriptions of the locations and the people gave great insight to his experience. I felt I could hear his voice telling about his adventure.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who has ever set any sort of goal for themselves - David's story is excellent motivation!
6 reviews
April 24, 2020
I thought that 'Relentless' was a stunner, it is so much more than a book about a race, in fact, the very idea about devoting a whole book about one such event seemed highly improbable.
Relentless is more a story of someone's desire to achieve against what would appear to be impossible odds, the very idea that a self-confessed couch potato could turn his life around and not only enter such an event but win it is to use an overworked phrase ' Stranger than fiction'.
I found the psychology of such events absolutely fascinating. I would urge anyone specifically people like myself who has minimal interest in sport of any kind to read this book, you won't be disappointed.
Kelvin White.
Profile Image for Rick Reitzug.
240 reviews1 follower
March 20, 2017
Incredible book! A must read for anyone who has ever run marathons, ultramarathons, done triathlons, or participated in other extreme endurance sports.
Profile Image for Caren Michael.
92 reviews
June 3, 2017
Very very interesting book esp for anyone who has run a long distance race. I can't wrap my mind around how difficult this must have been! Amazing!
4 reviews
March 7, 2022
Great book! Well-written and pulls you right into the adventure.
1 review
October 28, 2016
Well, the fact that the book arrived yesterday afternoon and was pretty much devoured in one late-night/early morning sitting, is a telling testament to the book’s status as a real page turner. Intending only to skim over the first chapter and set it aside until I'd finished Jens Voigt's 'Shut up Legs', I ended up side-lining Voigt in favour of Gething, such was the compelling nature of his story.

For those that are interested in the personal accounts of the trials, tribulations and the general psychology of endurance sports; be it triathlon or marathon/ultra running or cycling, this book hits the spot. For me, the book represents a refreshing departure from the usual sporting accounts where the author, generally a household name, is typically spotted as a junior and then goes on to have an illustrious sporting career. Predictable. Not so here. This is more a story about what drive, guts, determination, single-mindedness and sheer, bloody hard toil can achieve. Staggering, really. Truly inspiring for all the weekend warriors out there, chasing a PB or our Club nemesis. And whilst Gething eludes several times to his 'average Joe' status, (he started out as an unfit 30 something chubster, never far from a beer or fag) there is nothing average about his reserves of fortitude - he has that by the bucket load. It is, however, his unlikely starting point which gives the book great crossover appeal to the those sat on the sofa, pondering whether to attempt the seemingly monumental climb out of an unhealthy, middle-age rut and don the lycra. Gething’s account could produce just the shove needed. In fact, there’s probably another book in the 7 or so years of training and racing that brought him to the World Marathon Challenge. I was left wanting to know more about the stepping stones from the couch to the first triathlon, the nutritional overhaul, the lifestyle adjustments, the first ironman and then the podiums etc.

Although an amateur, Gething is as knowledgeable as many a coach and has obviously done his research. Those interested will find useful insights into training, preparation and recovery etc. A particular highlight, I enjoyed the frequent sidesteps into the comparisons and parallels he drew from the dynamics and psychological warfare between himself and his fellow competitors, with the legendary moments of sporting history, such as the great ironman faceoff between Mark Allen and Dave Scott and the darker duals, such as the attempted shafting of Greg LeMond by his team mate Bernard Hinault on the 1986 TdF. Gething has an easy style which enables him to narrate so compellingly and bring to life, not only his own story but these great (and not so great in the case of Hinault!) moments of sporting history. He weaves a tale which in equal parts both educates and entertains. I dare say if he were to comb through the history books for more psychologically charged sporting duals, he would have the premise for another page turner.

February 15, 2017
A very honest and well written account of how someone turned their life around. The relevance of this book extends far beyond people interested in competitive marathons. It will be enjoyed by any one wanting to read a good story. The book is easy to read and gives insight into the grits and determination required to put the past behind and move into a new stage of life.
1 review
October 9, 2016
I am not a runner and did not expect this book to interest me. However, I found it engrossing and exciting and thoroughly enjoyed reading it. The book is 'made' by the interplay between David and Doug (another competitor). Recommended to runners and non-runners alike.
Displaying 1 - 9 of 9 reviews

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