My book has been printed and released at last! (as of October 9). The pre-publication reviews have been amazing--as have the comments both from leading endurance athletes and from leading environmental activists concerned about the future of the planet we depend on for every step and breath we take.
I want to quote just a few of the reviewers' comments, and then share a reflection (or warning, if you will) of my own.
From the Reviews of The Longest Race: a Lifelong Runner, an Iconic Ultramarathon, and the Case for Human Endurance:
"Revealing, savvy, and fast-paced, Ayres's eloquent book on marathon running is a master class on the priceless life lessons of enduring and conquering obstacles to victory."
"The book is well structured, and the conversation is thought provoking, planting questions and ideas that readers will ruminate on long after the last page is turned. Ayres's narrative skill makes this book stand out from other accounts of ultramarathons and is sure to appeal to both runners and nonrunners alike."
"A leading environmental activist and ultramarathoner uses the 2001 JFK 50 Mile as a staging ground for his reflections on running, aging, and saving the planet . . . . Ayres admits he is addicted to running, but its importance for him goes beyond the physical -- a race of that length is a 'rutual of survival' . . . The author's broad-ranging interests and accumulated wisdom will appeal to a wide readership, not just runners and environmentalists."
From Endurance Athletes:
"The Longest Race is a fascinating, compelling, and far-reaching read."
--Amby Burfoot, Runners World editor-at-large, and winner of the 1968 Boston Marathon
"An epic story of how important our fitness as individuals may be to the long-run sustainability of our national and global society."
--Jacqueline Hansen, first woman to run a sub-2:40 marathon, and two-time marathon
world record holder
"Ayres is a legend who shares his many provocative insights and lessons in an informative yet enjoyable way."
--Dean Karnazes, New York Times bestselling author of Ultramarathon Man
"I have been reading Ed Ayres's insightful thoughts on running and life since I began serious training in the 1970s. We can all benefit greatly from Ed's wisdom.
--Joe Friel, elite endurance athlete, coach, and author of The Triathlete's Training Bible
"In this compelling read, visionary Ed Ayres takes us on a run that may save our nanosecond lives . . . and our planet."
--Kathrine Switzer, winner of the 1974 New York Marathon
"This book reminds us that our strength and vitality can never be separated from the health of the earth we run on, and whose air we breathe."
--Bill Rodgers, four-time New York Marathon winner and four-time Boston Marathon winner
"Ed deftly weaves together a lifetime's experiences and observations . . . . Each topic alone would have made a good book. Together they yield a great one, richly detailed and finely written."
--Joe Henderson, former editor of Runners World
"Ed Ayres has a talent for drawing the reader into his adventure. Enjoy the journey; it is a fun one."
--Michael Wardian, World Ultrarunner of the Year for 2011
From Me (and From the Heart):
The Longest Race isn't just a feel-good story, although some of the reviewers say they've been quite entertained. It's also something of a feel-alarmed story, so be forewarned! I feel a little like one of those movie-rating czars who warn parents that "the following contains sexually explicit or violent scenes . . . ." But in the case of The Longest Race, it's not naked bodies, etc., that may be hard to watch with the kids around (near-naked bodies go with the territory for us runners), but a form of impending violence that makes action movies look tame. I'm referring to the violence our "sprint culture" is doing to the planet we depend on for every step and every breath we take (see Bill Rodgers' comment above). If you can take a deep,slow breath and not be in denial about that, this book can take you on a memorable journey. I can promise that it will be unlike any other book about running you've ever read.
The Longest Race should be in bookstores now (the week of October 9-14), and is also available at all the online bookstores: http://www.amazon.com/The-Longest-Race-Ultramarathon-Endurance/dp/1615190635.