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Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  18,702 ratings  ·  1,385 reviews
In one of his most ambitious physical efforts to date, Dean Karnazes attempted to run 50 marathons, in 50 states, in 50 days to raise awareness of youth obesity and urge Americans of all fitness levels to take that next step.UltraMarathon Man: 50 Marathons - 50 States - 50 Days, a Journeyfilm documentary, follows Dean's incredible step-by-step journey across the country.

Paperback, 295 pages
Published March 2nd 2006 by Tarcherperigee (first published 2005)
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Gonçalo Yes! If you like stories about crazy runs and people overcoming their limitations, this is a good book.

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really liked it Average rating 4.00  · 
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 ·  18,702 ratings  ·  1,385 reviews

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Dec 17, 2007 rated it really liked it
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
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!). ...more
Nov 23, 2011 rated it it was ok
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
Timothy Allen
Dec 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Nick Raven
Jul 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
May 19, 2013 rated it did not like it
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
Oct 18, 2022 rated it really liked it
Shelves: running
Another enjoyable read by running legend Dean. I loved this one more than 50/50, this felt more relatable to me. Dean is a strong runner and managed to find a nice balance between ultra running and the rest of his life. His story on running for the little girl Libby was inspiring, and I loved how he is so honest about running for charity. (as in: I can't do much more than just running, but might as well do really good at it) Great for the running reading list! ...more
Jul 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
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. ...more
Dec 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
After meeting Dean in person and hearing his own story in SF, I was really looking forward to finish this book. It was as if Dean himself telling this story to me. The book is indeed a great motivation and covers the transparent details of what all goes in an ultra runner's mind. Truly a wonderful journey.. ...more
Jun 26, 2007 rated it it was ok
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. ...more
Feb 15, 2012 rated it did not like it
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
Feb 28, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I read this book years ago when I first got into running. It is crazy to hear how someone can log all these miles. the training alone is crazy. Just so you know an ultramarathon is anything over the standard 26.2 and most races are the 50-100 plus mile variety. The author would run 20 miles during his extended Lunch at work or run at night for hours. One thing that stuck with me was the amount of calories he would consume to be able to use as energy. He mentioned he ran once, I forgot the distan ...more
Sushmitha Kanukurthi
May 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 16, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Chad Sayban
Sep 17, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Jacques Bezuidenhout
It seems that the gripe that most people have with this book is that Dean comes across as very egotistic and arrogant.
Well my opinion is, give credit where credit is due.
This guy deserves every bit of his "well sculpted" / "chiselled" / "ripped", 4.5% body fat body.

Him mentioning occasionally that he was well built, is a drop in the bigger bucket of accomplishments / stories in the book.
Most of the book is about being with him in each of his races. And its awesome.

The Western States 100 mile was
Sep 07, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Caitlin Constantine
Feb 24, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Apr 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Ultimately the author has laid down in words answers to why he runs, what compels him to do ultramarathon running, his desires and passions, all honestly written in easy reading nicely packet together narrative that can inspire and aid the one wanting to push themselves to their limits and beyond. Heartfelt testaments from a man who is truly someone pushing himself beyond human limitations.
He tells how he had a need to fill a void despite having a good job and financial security, and he takes th
Vicky Pilkington
Jun 18, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read this book as I wanted it to motivate me to go running more often and it has achieved that. I like how the author describes the pain of running which I weirdly found motivational as I often think when I see other runners how they don't seem to be suffering at all and I am the only one who is! ...more
Matt Frazier
Aug 04, 2013 rated it liked it
Inspiring at times ... but there are better books to inspire and inform ultrarunners.
Aug 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2021
After watching Dean's 50/50/50 movie: 50 marathons, 50 states, in 50 days, I decided to read his book. To my surprise, my library had a signed copy!

I find it fascinating people are able to push their bodies to the outer extremes and run multiple marathons in one go. I can't imagine how one would condition their body to be able to survive such torture, so naturally, I wanted to understand it from Dean's perspective. I think Dean has been given some superhuman quality most of us mere mortals do no
Julia Kitvaria Sarene

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
Crystal Harbath
Apr 15, 2020 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Michelle Barker
Dec 25, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2020-reads
I was invested in the story for the first half of this book and couldn't understand all the reviews that mentioned how the author basically only wrote about how great he was... and then I read the second half. And then I understood. ...more
Monty Morgan
Sep 25, 2022 rated it it was amazing
I was looking.
I was looking for practical examples of all the trail running and I came across this book by dean really good read easy to read great examples of the trials and tribulations of long-distance running and looking forward to my first ultra marathon here at seven weeks
Rich Szabo
Aug 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
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
Connie Kuntz
Dec 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Brad Lockey
Nov 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own-audiobook
This guy is kinda nuts, but I love it.
A story of stamina.
A story of drive.
A story of resilience.
A story of exploration.
Run somewhere, because you can.
We're all capable of more; whether it's being a better employee, father, person ... getting in better shape, eating healthier ... but so many of us settle.
Why is that?
I attempt to learn everywhere I go, and I try and push myself every day.
Now, drop and give me 30 push-ups just for fun.
Tomorrow, aim for 31.

Notable quotes that impacted me:

“I run beca
Mar 08, 2017 rated it did not like it
Probably one of the most pretentious and self absorbed books I've ever read. Read "Born to run", it has loads more information and talks about other runners than Dean McDeansty Deanster.
I mean, it's not like the guy ever pretends to be something he's not or to write something other than a completely flat "story of my spiritual awakening". Too bad he's really really monochromatic, boring and prone to ill-advised bouts of lyricism.
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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.” 190 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.” 189 likes
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