In a nutshell: "Thoughtless Elitism". The Longest Race is (like Scott Jurek's Eat and Run) one of those frustrating autobiographies that one would love to love, but can't. Author Ed Ayers is a superb runner and a long-time publisher/editor/writer. In 2001 at age 60 he set an age-group record in the JFK 50 Miler. That race provides the chapter-by-chapter framework of this 2012 book. The skeleton, alas, isn't strong enough to carry the load. Ayers attempts to connect long-distance running to world peace, ecology, and other big-picture issues, but fails to convince. He drops names and praises race directors to excess. His prose is competent in small doses but cloys as the book progresses. The Appendix "Notes for an Aspiring Ultrarunner" might help a potential champion but is likely to be risky business for most. ("While 30-40 miles per week is a minimum, you'll probably be better off gradually working up to 60-80 mpw.") Let the reader beware.
^z - 2013-05-30