The Extra Mile: One Woman's Personal Journey to Ultrarunning Greatness Paperback – Sep 18 2007
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""One of the greatest athletic achievements I have witnessed in 20 years of extreme sports."--Chris Kostman, race director, Badwater Ultramarathon"
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.
Top Customer Reviews
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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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.
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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