Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Dean Karnazes' Ultra Marathon Man Review

"...running, to me, remained the purest form of athletic expression. It was the simplest, least encumbered sport there was, and the definitive measurement of endurance."

"The highest form of competition is self-competition, and I was proving to be the cruelest of opponents, ruthlessly demanding more of myself..."

I finally got around to reading Dean "Karno" Karnazes' book, Ultra Marathon Man. I'm not sure why it took me so long to read it... maybe it had something to do with the running community being on Dean Karnazes overload over the past 5 years! Or maybe I was just too busy running. I've known about "Karno" since about 2003. I first encountered him at my gym and shortly there after I saw an article about him in the paper and realized, "Hey, it's that really ripped dude from the gym... the guy whose legs look like tree trunks."

I went for a run with my friend recently and he recommended that I read Ultra Marathon Man. I picked it up from GREEN APPLE BOOKS in San Francisco last Saturday and finished reading it by Tuesday!

Although, it was a quick read, I found the writing a little repetitive. I believe it was written like that though to emphasize to non-runners the extremes experienced during running long distances.

The meat of the book is the detailed account of the WESTERN STATES 100 MILE ENDURANCE RUN which goes from Squaw Valley USA in Lake Tahoe to Auburn, California. This portion of the book from page 89-158 kept me glued. The next part of the book was about BADWATER which let me down because it was not as deep of an account as the Western States. The South Pole Marathon section, although it was a huge feat, was also a let down and dragged out a little too long.

Dean finished the book strong with the account of running 199 miles from Calistoga to Santa Cruz. I would highly recommend this book any runner. This would be a good book to pick up for your summer travels and a great book to read the night before a race.

Help Undefeated Running grow by purchasing Ultra Marathon Man through the link below! Thank You!


  1. So Tired about reading folks drool over this book and his fictional account of WS....much better, nicer runners out there try Tim Twietmeyer to start..25 times under 24hrs at WS, multi time winner of WS, and in general all around good guy that elites and casual runners respect..Can't say that about Dean...At last years WS it was sorry to see the Dean machine all alone with no fellow runners really hanging out with him....he does not have a lot of love with the real ultra runner community just the wanna be's and his promoting machine....

  2. Dean Karnazes is a phony. "America's Greatest Distance Runner"?! Are you kidding? Check out the runners at the top of your website before writing any blog promoting this idiot--there lies true talent, more sportsmanship, and tact. This guy is a self absorbed mediocre runner who could never beat anyone worth anything and so he goes and tries to break and make records that nobody cares about. By the way, that was the best run on sentence you'll ever read.
    American sensationalism at it's best, and we're the ones buying it. Congrats on feeding the propaganda machine know as Dean Karnazes.


  3. Who says Dean is "America's greatest distance runner"? I've never heard that... and I certainly hope they are kidding. Undefeated Running is not "promoting this idiot"... I simply reviewed his book as a piece of literature, a part of running culture (good or bad) and definitely not as the end all be all of book of running or ultra-running. It's amazing to me that with all of the other posts on Undefeated Running (especially ones for good causes) people take the time and energy to vent (anonymously) about Dean Karnazes while misconstruing a book review as "feeding the propaganda machine" and glorifying Dean. Maybe I could've been more harsh but I felt like I gave this book a pretty mediocre review (Maybe I should add a star-rating-system for clarity). Who gives a shit if Dean or anyone else has friends or love in the "real ultra runner community" (WTF is the real ultra runner community anyway!?)... is having ultrarunner friends, respect or love the requisite to be a "true-ultrarunner" or "true-runner"? Imagine if we (humans) knew no distances and just ran. Running is simple, but sometimes simple is the most difficult thing to do. Never let your ego get the best you.