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The Extra Mile: One Woman's Personal Journey to Ultrarunning Greatness [Paperback]

Pam Reed
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Sept. 18 2007
One year after her astonishing victory at the Badwater Ultramarathon, Pam Reed again made distance running history when she braved the hottest weather in years—135 degrees—to successfully defend her title. How does this 100-pound mother and stepmother of five muster the endurance and courage for the 28-hour climb from the hottest desert floor on Earth to the shadow of the continental United States’ tallest point?

In The Extra Mile we watch this ultramarathon champion seek balance in her life as a wife, mother, athlete, and entrepreneur. With astonishing candor she tells of her 15-year-long battle with anorexia. And she helps us to understand her  passion for ultrarunning—to discover how far the human body can be pushed.

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Review

"One of the greatest athletic achievements I have witnessed in 20 years of extreme sports."-Chris Kostman, race director Badwater Ultra marathon."

About the Author

PAM REED has twice won the Badwater Ultramarathon, the world's toughest running event. She is the American women's record-holder in the 24-hour run (138.94 miles) and 48-hour run (220 miles). Reed has been featured on 60 Minutes, CNN, and The Late Show with David Letterman, as well as in the New York Times, Sports Illustrated, and Runner's World. She lives in Tucson, Arizona, and Jackson, Wyoming.


Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars My first book on Ultrarunning July 25 2011
By brutis
Format:Paperback
I am a relative novice in running which I should say at the start of this review but relatively experienced in reading. Pam Reed provides 251 pages where she says very little.
From other books by elite athletes she fits the general narcissistic personality. She repeats that there are no secrets in running, that is especially suited to running due to unique health conditions (no help to reader).
She incessantly lists the races she has run. Regularly contradicts things she had said in as little as a paragraph before
eg: She explains how she didn't do the 300mile race to compete with Dean Karnazes but then said she decided to do it right after he had publicly said he was hoping to do one.
She doesn't compete for publicity but is mad that she didn't make the cover of a magazine when a male runner did.
Her chapter on parenthood has my favourite quote:"Lots of parents practically do the work for their kids. I want my boys to figure it out. That's real life. I will answer the occaisional question, but I'm not going to sit down every night to make sure their homework is done...."
Apparently her favourite quote is: "Mom makes me do chores and stuff. Our family isn't lazy." a quote by her son which she has highlighted.
The book does give some insight into the demands that are placed on an elite athlete in this sport but really should have been better edited, if so, a potentially interesting story would not have been lost in such poor telling.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Gutsy March 25 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Honest, courageously personal, inspiring. Pam brings us inside her head and heart to show us how running ultras is about winning the battle for life.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.3 out of 5 stars  43 reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An honest look at an ordinary woman who does extraordinary things Aug. 1 2006
By KCL - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Despite not being a runner or an athlete of any sort, I found myself fascinated by Pam Reed's warts-and-all look into her life and her career as an endurance runner. Running 135 miles through the desert in July is something I would never in a million years dream of doing myself, but Reed's book gave me a better understanding of why people are driven to go to such extremes. I came to respect Pam throughout the course of the book, and in some ways I really related to her. Her occasional bouts of self-doubt, regardless of her professional and personal achievements, resonated with me--as they will, I suspect, for most people. I thought she had wise, pragmatic things to say about marriage and motherhood, especially about the trade-offs that women, moreso than men, make in trying to juggle work and family. Pam does not come off as a "warm and fuzzy" person--she admits in her chapter on parenthood, "I am not much of a hugger"--but it is obvious that she cares deeply and passionately about everyone and everything in her life and is ferociously committed to them. And because of that, her book made me care about her. I truly enjoyed the time I "spent" with her while reading this book.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Badly written April 27 2010
By Running Reviewer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I've never understood why famous (or semi-famous) people needed ghost writer until I reading this book. I was excited to pick up the book and read about the incredible story of a woman who can run hundreds of miles in one go and still have a family and kids. Unfortunately, this turned out to be possibly the worst published book I've ever read in my life. Compared to Dean Karnazes' Ultramarathon Man which was full of passion and detailed account of how painful ultrarunning can be, Pam Reed somehow makes it possible for the world's toughest endurance sport sound like a boring trip to the grocery store. She includes entirely too many apostrophes and adds strange comments about her from people that she knows in random places in the book that seem completely out of place. Overall, I didn't get a good sense of ultramarathon running by reading this book and was not in the least bit inspired.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring! July 24 2006
By Donna G. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I found Pam Reed's story super inspiring. As Reed points out, running is something that women can excel at and something that older people can excel at. As someone who came to running later in life, I really enjoyed this book. I read Dean Karanazes' Ultra Marathone Man, too, and I liked it, but it just covered a few of his races in a lot of detail, whereas in Pam Reed's book, I felt like I was getting to know her as a person. I also liked that she talked about all the people who supported her in various ways, from her husband to her crew and all her neighbors. Karnazes seemed a lot more isolated - not that that's a fault. I really liked the chapter with thumbnail sketches of some of the best (or at least Reed's favorite) marathons - it gave me the idea that I'd like to try some of them one of these days. Re: her struggle with anorexia, it made sense to me what she said about having to eat to do the long races she wanted to do. Ahw might not have been eating pizza and cheesecake, but still LOADS of calories.

DG
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing beginning, enjoyable last half... Jan. 14 2009
By Brian Hawkinson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I was hoping for a lot more when I delved in to this one, but I started warming up to The Extra Mile the more I read, which was mostly due to the fact that the later half of the book was all about her running. The sole reason why I purchased this book.

The beginning is a little bit of a dull read and the reason why I wasn't really enjoying her book. The writing style is very personal and honest, but lacks the polish of a good writer. Add to this that Pam writes about the small stuff in her life that really is not interesting, and is also not why anyone wanted to read her story. What particularly annoyed me in the beginning is that we didn't hear about anything that explained how she became a great runner, or how she started running. Instead she tells us of her childhood fantasies of gymnastics, then that she swam a lot, which moved to Ironmans, and then to Ultramarathons. There wasn't anything that showed how she began to run, for example, her first marathon of half marathon or whatever. The type of background that other runners want to read about, especially from such an accomplished runner as Pam. She does treat generously her battle with anorexia, which is appreciated just for the mere fact that it showed a human side to her and it was able to, in some way, shed some light on a subject and show how she overcame it, or is at least battles it to this day.

What saved this book was that she spent the last half of the book talking about her actual running. Her two Badwater wins, pacing and other aspects of running, her 100 mile races, 300 mile run and so on. Her style of writing also picked up quite well once she actual starting writing about her accomplishments, which was an added bonus that made the story more readable and enjoyable. I only wish she wrote like this the whole book.

Don't get me wrong, a back story is definitely needed for any memoir or biography, but she completely skipped over the necessary background of how she started running and didn't incorporate this in to her early adult life of other sports and her battle with anorexia. I think I would recommend only after you have read other accounts of ultramarathoners, but her memoirs is definitely one that should be on the list of other runners.

3.5 stars.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Open Mind Aug. 1 2006
By KCRunner - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Pam Reed's book has a message. If the book is read with a closed mind, the reader will never understand the message.

All people who do ultra events such as ultra running and ultra cycling, approach the world and their lives somewhat differently than those who do not participate. The fact that Pam has a message that is different from the message of other ultra athletes does not render the book valueless. To the contrary, the methods, observations and beliefs of all add to the body of knowledge that is useful to all ultra athletes.

Pam Reed is an accomplished ultra runner. Her results deliver that message emphatically. The obstacles she has overcome and the way she has overcome them is both meaningful and valuable to anyone who aspires to be an ultra athlete or simply to achieve accomplishments in their own endeavors.

The book does not portray arrogance; it does portray accomplishment.

It would be arrogant for Pam Reed to presume to speak for the ultra running community, or for another ultra runner such as Scott Jurek. Pam speaks only for herself in her efforts to explain why and how she has done what she has done.

The fact that she has had successes and failures in her life establishes that she is human. The fact that she has done what no other woman has ever done, and done it twice, establishes her accomplishments as extraordinary.

If the book is read with an open mind, the message can be discovered.
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