Tuesday, September 8, 2009

BOOK REVIEW: Dean Karnazes 50/50

I just finished reading Dean Karnazes' latest book, 50/50 (subtitled "Secrets I Learned Running 50 Marathons in 50 Days - and How You Too Can Achieve Super Endurance!"). My review can be summed up in three words: 'eh, not bad'. It wasn't as compelling as I had hoped. There are little sidebars with "helpful tips" - some of which are actually interesting and helpful, some of which made me laugh out loud. In the book, Karnazes accounts in varying detail each of the 50 marathons he ran in 50 states in 50 days. Some of the stories were interesting, but after awhile, my interest began to decline a little. Due to scheduling demands, only 8 of the marathons were "real" scheduled events. The rest were run mostly over the courses of actual marathons (usually with 10-50 locals who signed up to run with Dean). I don't really fall into either the "Dean Lover" or "Dean Hater" camp. I respect his abilities and the attention he's brought to ultra running, but sometimes he's too over-the-top (i.e. a "stunt runner") to be taken seriously . The kicker [SPOILER ALERT] was after his last marathon in New York, when he decided to pull a Forrest Gump and run back across America...because NOBODY BOOKED HIM A FLIGHT OUT OF NYC! Huh? At first, I though it was a joke. Nope. Well, he abandoned the run somewhere in Missouri and flew home. A bit over the top? Yeah, probably. But to be fair, he seems to be a sincere and friendly guy (although I've never met him) that intensely loves to run, and who am I to question his motivation. And as a small business owner myself, I salute him for finding a way to make a living doing what he loves to do. I think one of the main reasons he's controversial among the hard-core ultrarunning community is that he appears to be seeking out celebrity status...which seemingly isn't the modus opperandi among that usually low-key, laid-back, happy-go-lucky group.
In my Running Book Library, I gave it 3/5 stars. Worth reading, but not a "must read", IMHO.

I'm currently reading Kenny Moore's book "Best Efforts - The Long Blue Line, Volume 1". I'm about halfway through it, and it's fascinating! Might be the best running-related book I've read in years! I'll post a review after I finish it.

1 comment:

  1. I haven't finished my copy of 50/50 but had the same thoughts as you. I must honestly say, Ultramarathon Man was far better reading. As one that struggles to just finish, I am envious and jealous of the 100's of ultra runners that run without the fanfare. Which is not to take anything away from Dean but he has managed to do well in marketing himself and the ultra running community. Guess I need to dust off the book, take it off the night stand and finish reading.