Running Through the Wall: Personal Encounters With the Ultramarathon is an older book but still very worth a read. It’s a collection of short essays written by ultrarunners for (ultra)runners, and as such, the language can be quite vivid. What else could you expect from people for whom puking their guts out, blowing snot rockets, and popping their blisters only to force their feet back into their very used shoesTM is mostly or completely normalized?
Read about the Grand Slam, about the times there were only 3 ultramarathon races in the entire US, about the infamous Barkley, about the will-breaking Massuten Mountain, and much more from great runners like Ann Trason, Tim Twietmeyer, and Davind Horton, but also by those who finish five minutes before the cut-offs, coming in during the Golden Hour of ultrarunning.
“Barkley is the only race in which participants have been forced to continue at gunpoint.”Blake Wood, Going Nowhere Fast on Fatal Terrain at the 2000 Barkley Marathons
This collection is as raw as it’s beautiful and I’ve been coming back to my favourite stories every time a race nears. It’s a book that will stay on your shelf, mostly forgotten but always remembered when the pre-race jitters or worries set in or when the motivation for heading out there just isn’t coming.