It’s said that most averagely fit people can walk a marathon in 6 or 7 hours with little or no training. Reducing that time to between 3-4 hours is what turns a runner into a marathon runner. Ultramarathons require something more. While technically an ultra is anything beyond a marathon, the 31 mile 50 k is basically a marathon plus and its not until you get to the 50 mile mark that the difference really starts to manifest.
Ultrarunning typically requires a whole day, usually two, and this site is focused on events that require a day or more, hence the plural, Multidays.
Books for runners listed here range from the beginner level to more advanced standards. Races welcome everyone however some events have requirements to protect the runner and the hosts from unnecessary suffering where the conditions are obviously extremely challenging and arduous and the chance of not finishing or even endangering ones well being is a real possibility.
Some of these books contain inspiring stories of how runners have overcome challenges and obstacles by digging deep within themselves and finding resources previously unused. There is no doubt about it – multidays are transformative experiences and not to be taken lightly.
Some of these books I have read and some of the authors I have met and these books are listed in no particular order. Some of these books I would recommend: Don Allisons Definitive Guide and Andy Milroys two books, North American Ultrarunning history and Training for an Ultra, the latter captured the wisdom of several British ultradistance runners. Born to Run has been read and inspired many thousands of runners as did Dean Karnazes book. Many strong women have performed at the top level despite facing personal issues on their journey through life like Pam Reed’s story.
Bryon Powell’s book Relentless Forward Progress: A Guide to Running Ultramarathons is very helpful and Lore of Running by Timothy D. Noakes is a deep look at the nuts and bolts of running.
Several of my brothers in the longest certified footrace in the world, the annual Self-Transcendence 3100 mile race including Grahak Cunningham and Stutisheel Lebedev have produced fascinating accounts of their experiences in New York.
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Perhaps the best list of ultrarunning books I have come across is John Morelock’s. John is the author of Run Gently Out There, and his blog of the same name lists 200 books pertinent to ultrarunning. Many of the authors are runners themselves and the titles cover all aspects of the experience stretching back to the 1800’s and the era of the Pedestrians.