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Book Review: “Got to Live” by Jay Danek

Posted by on Nov 8, 2013 | No Comments

Many months ago, Jay sent me a copy of his ultraruning book “Got to Live.” Given that I more or less stopped running, I never quite got around to writing the review. Honestly, I had forgotten about it until I started the tentative planning for a benji [my new favorite term for hundred milers] next year.

Anyway, Jay’s book was released at a great time. There aren’t too many ultra books on the market, and the sport is in the process of unprecedented growth. Jay’s book is an autobiography of his own venture into ultrarunning.

His story resonates with me because we have quite a few personal similarities. We’re both from Michigan. We both have an affinity for baseball. Both of our lives were greatly influenced by the passing of our fathers. We started ultrarunning around the same time. We both settled in a sunny paradise (Phoenix area for him; San Diego for me.)

We do have quite a few differences, too… most notably: Jay’s actually a fast ultrarunner. ;-)

This is a book that will appeal to any runner, especially those interested in ultrarunning. Jay’s story mirrors so many that have taken the ultra plunge. He was out of shape and somewhat lost, and running was the elixir that changed his life.

His writing style is clear and concise without distracting flowery prose (a pet peeve of mine.) He effectively captures the essence of ultras, both in he physical and emotional sense. I really appreciate that Jay’s not overly self-congratulatory and maintains humility throughout. Ultrarunning isn’t a super-human feat, and Jay clearly recognizes that. The net effect is an inspiring tale that could be used as a road map of sorts for anyone interested in the sport.

If you haven’t read his book yet, I would put it on the short list of running-related books I recommend.

If any of my readers have already read Jay’s book, what would you add? Leave a comment!

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