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Nov 29, 2012

Book Review: The World's Toughest Endurance Challenges

Recently, I sent an inquiry asking to review the book:  The World's Toughest Endurance Challenges by Richard Hoad and Paul Moore.  As many of you may have seen in the past, Velopress is a publisher of numerous books for runners, triathletes and cyclists.  In fact, I also just finished reading Hanson's Marathon Method, another outstanding book published by Velopress as well.  Check out their website for other titles available.

Here's the book Velopress sent:
Hard cover book
The book is a collection of 50 events around the world.  These events are not only running events, but also triathlons, biking events, trail races, canoe adventures, swim events, Ultra marathons, Kayaking events, cross county running, skiing or cycling events, dog sled races, hiking adventures, ocean rowing and sailing races.

Some events are in extreme heat while others are in extreme cold.  All are extremely interesting to read.  The book is organized through the various continents including Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, North America, South America, Antarctica and Cross-continent challenges.  I'm sure some of the events you have heard about - especially running events like the Western States 100 or the Comrades Marathon but many of the event I've never even heard of.
Sections broken down by Continent
The book is a very easy read.  Of course, I also love reading about adventures that most people, including myself, only dream of doing in their lifetime.  I received the book on Friday and I had read the entire book, all 205 pages, by Saturday evening.  The book is also organized in a fashion that you could read cover to cover or if you have a particular interest, you could move around the book to read what interests you most first.

Of course, I loved all the running events but all the other sports are equally interesting.  In some events, I found myself wondering how these regular people, as many of them were, are able to train for such tough challenges.  The description of each event starts out with "Key Facts" of the event including things such as the type of sport, the distance, what the main obstacles are.
Key Facts
It then goes on, describing the details of each event, that it feels like you are there.  Even if you don't feel that way when reading it, once you see all the incredible color photographs of the event, you'll be mesmerized by it.  I gazed at them in amazement and with wishes of being there.  I found myself reading and inspecting the photos and also assessing myself and whether I could see myself in that challenge.  Haha!  Alas I'm not sure I'm up for most of the events which makes it incredible to think that many that are taking the challenges are people like you and I who must work for a living and train as a hobby.  
Incredible photos
Sorry, mine don't do it justice
Some of the events, though, are so tough, that you need to qualify at other races or be invited to the event in order to even get into them.  The majority of the locations of these races take place in extreme areas as well such as the mountains of Switzerland or the shark infested waters off South Africa or the wilderness of the Yukon.

Along with each event, there is a portion of the race description, detailed by an athlete perspective.  In my opinion, it was one of the best ideas of the book and one of the most interesting.  It's like a race review of a participant, how they trained, what they endured and how they triumphed to complete the event.  Many of them finishing in the top of the race.
Athlete Perspective section
It truly is an inspiring book and I feel most of you would have a great interest in it as I did.  The book is available online and in stores now.

Have a great day and....Keep Running!!!!

Note:  I received a complimentary copy of "The World's Toughest Endurance Challenges" in exchange for a review of the book.  I was not compensated in any other way.  All opinions are my own and I was not required to give a particular opinion on the book.


  1. I would certainly love that book. I'm putting it on my list for Santa.

  2. Yes, great post. I think that might make a nice Christmas gift for athletic friends and family.

  3. Are any of them on your bucket list? or what is the toughest thing on your bucket list? (maybe the standard marathon is still tough enough!) Ironman was my toughest, but I think I'm up for another Swiss mountain run...

    1. I would love to do Comrades since it's such an outstanding looking race. Most of these are way above my level but they are incredible. Anything over 100 miles is unlikely for me. I want to do an Ultra someday but not anytime soon. Haha! You are fitting for a Swiss mountain run Coach!

  4. I became fascinated with Comrades just before my marathon, and I'd like to know more about other ridiculous races. Sounds like a great read!