You’ll fly through “The Longest Race” by Ed Ayres

It’s no secret that I’m a nature lover. And my recent trek around Death Valley National Park has stirred up some long-held ideas about responsibility for our land, so it was perfect timing for me to receive a preview copy of Ed Ayres’ new book, “The Longest Race,” which was just released.

It’s wonderfully written by a lifelong runner (he placed third in the first NYC marathon in 1970) who attempted to break a decades-old age-group record at the oldest and largest ultramarathon in the United States. Ed Ayres was 60 when he ran the 2001 JFK 50 Miler, two months after the 9/11 attacks. He takes us to the starting line, glances back to our roots, and leads us through parallels between sustaining the planet and our own bodies as we age, and on to the finish line. It’s an exciting read, filled with vivid descriptions of the landscapes and what happens in the mind and soul when we push them to their limits.

The best running books aren’t entirely about running, and “The Longest Race” fits the bill, centering on social responsibility. It’s obvious that Ed has lots of miles under his feet and has had plenty of time to think, to ponder our existence and the meaning of it all. Ed and I are on the same page, for sure.

Runners and environmentalists will naturally gravitate to this book, but Ed’s interests are so varied and well-represented here, and his wisdom rings so true, that I can recommend it to everyone.

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