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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars130
4.9 out of 5 stars
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on 31 March 2014
As I start this review, my cat is in the tumble dryer. Don't know why. Something to think about later.

James was a better than average runner who tired of road races and wanted to challenge himself. So began a journey into the world of ultra running; where races are longer than plane journeys, injuries are just something you run with and the challenge of pushing past physical and mental breakdown is everything. It's compelling and fascinating and very well captured.

For blow by blow description and analysis of how it feels and looks to run further than is really sensible it's by far the best book I've read. Graphic and emotionally gripping.

Also, really rather funny.

I haven't put the book down (except to run) while I've been reading it. My OH is less than pleased.

Why not 5 stars?

Because the book is clearly a series of (admittedly very well written and entertaining) blogs strung together with extra bits. Writing a blog requires a different style from writing a book. It's a shorter attention span, more black and white, harder hitting kind of style. And you can repeat yourself blog to blog without it being obvious. We get that he doesn't like "mass market" races, or that people often ask the same questions, but you end up reading that several times more than you need to because he's mentioned it in every blog.

There's at least one really irritating place where the writing jumps around between past and present tenses and it's just very clear that he's not proof read it carefully.

I don't know James and don't follow his blog. I'm not going to either, because if (and hopefully, when) he writes another book I want to buy it. Just please, a little more attention to the text of the book being a book, not some blogs in print form?
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on 19 March 2014
Running and Stuff is the story of one man's 3,200 mile run across the USA. Most ordinary people would consider this to be impossible, but James is no ordinary guy... Actually, he kind of is. And that's the point. I have followed James' exploits through his blog over the past few years, and always thoroughly enjoy his hilarious warts and all take on the whacky world of ultra running. Throughout this book you will laugh, you'll cry (and you might even gag a little bit), as James takes you with him on his journey from 'ordinary guy who never dreamt that he could run across a continent' to 'ordinary guy who did'. If you like running, comedy, and graphic portrayals of bodily functions, then this is the book for you!
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on 24 March 2014
A thoroughly enjoyable can not put down book. The book gives you a great insight into the extent James will go to achieve his dreams. With informative and funny writing this book is definitely a hit.
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on 2 April 2014
There are many great books about running - some of them provide practical advice on preparing for traditional race distances such as 10k, Half Marathon and Marathon. Others offer invaluable insights into diet and nutrition for those taking the next big step to ultra marathons, with structured training plans for all levels of runner.

If you're looking for a running book to help you achieve your next PB at a traditional running distance, or a "how to" guide to successfully completing your first ultra marathon, this is isn't the book for you. If however, you're looking for a genuinely 'different' running story - one that will make you laugh out loud and cringe in horror, Running and Stuff is well worth a read.

As mentioned in another review, a lot of the material in the book is taken from the author's blog and at times this is apparent, as is the fact that this is a self-edited, and probably self proofread tome (there are many typos and other minor errors throughout).
Despite these sometimes glaring linguistic issues, I'm still happy to give the book 5 stars as I enjoyed it immensely - it really does grab your attention and keep hold of it until the very last page.

Definitely one of my favourite running books. Highly recommended.
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on 9 October 2014
I loved this book. I'm gutted that I've finished it and quite frankly I think my days will be a little duller from now on. I had the pleasure of reading the first half twice, mainly because I paused halfway to read Dave Urwin's book and by the time I'd got back, I couldn't remember what had happened and had to start again. This is no reflection on James' book however, merely that Dave hand delivered his and paid me £50 to read it first. The stories were interesting, the writing was just fine, anybody with half a brain cell can step over the minimal mistakes and still enjoy the story. I know you don't think that you're amazing James, but what you've achieved is, and reading about it is fascinating. With my first marathon approaching in ten weeks I'm nowhere near you as a runner, but I've learnt a few tips which will hopefully help me over that finish line. I'm also honoured that I got to buy you a Macdonalds shake at Southall this year after reading all about your love for them during LANY. You know that post race depression that you write about? Well I got post book depression. Please write another one, you have a very special talent there. And you're not bad at running either.
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on 26 March 2014
I love James' book - it is absolutely enthralling and a honest account of what it takes to do extraordinary things (in James' case in running ultra distances - but the principles of self belief, determination, humbleness and positivity are applicable to so many areas of life). James recently read an excerpt from his book at the launch of Like the Wind magazine and the room full of hardened, experienced and most probably cynical runners were left speechless and open-mouthed in admiration. This is a really great book - well written, moving, funny and inspiring. Buy it because you won't be disappointed.
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on 13 April 2015
I first met James at RunSpark, a charity event featuring presentations by Ultrarunners. I say "met"... I sat next to him throughout the evening oblivious to his achievements, having preferred the surprise element to a thorough examination of the evening's agenda. If only I'd realised it was THE James Adams!
Therein lies a clue to James' personality, not uncommon amongst Ultrarunners: quiet, unlikely to boast about his achievements but delighted to share the stories behind them. And that comes through in his book, which covers his first marathon and ultra all the way through to the Los Angeles to New York Footrace (yes, that's right) via other classic ultramarathons such as the Grand Union Canal Race, Badwater and Spartathlon. James shares the physical, mental and emotional stories of each race, often starting with the decision to enter, but never does he boast. I routinely come across people who boast about having walked to the shops: James covered the entire breadth of the USA and refuses to accept he may "actually [be] quite good at this running thing".

Disclaimer: I am an Ultrarunner (be it not James' scale!) and can relate to some of the feelings he shares in "Running Stuff". However, whether you love or hate running (and, in this book, James outlines eight reasons as to why he loves it), you will love this book. It is about so much more than putting one foot in front of the other: it's about how it impacts social interactions, mental toughness and life as a whole. And about a dog in New Mexico, too. Whether you'd run a mile FROM a running store or 3,220 miles over 70 days from L.A. to N.Y.C., this book will make you smile - and maybe make you think about what you can achieve if you just put your mind to it. Feet optional.

(Oh, and he is. Good at this running thing, that is. It's amazing where blood, sweat and tears will get folk, especially when the brain doesn't do its job and introduce some semblance of rationality!)
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on 14 April 2014
I recently purchased and finished reading James Adams book “Running and Stuff”.

In this book James tells is about his introduction to long distance running from his early running to his first Ultra Marathon event (The Tring 2 Town). We then follow his exploits over the next few years as he undertakes bigger, longer and more difficult (except the Marathon Des Sables perhaps!) challenges.

Each chapter dedicated to a different race and I really enjoyed visualising the environment and atmosphere of each event as he describes his own experiences in tackling each of these races.

The book eventually culminates in the re-telling of his epic LANY (Los Angeles to New York) 3,200 mile run over the summer of 2011.

Those people who follow James’s blog will be familiar with his open, honest and humorous style of writing. Nothing is glossed over as he recounts the physical pain and emotional turmoil he experiences during some of those low moments along with recounting those occasional moments of satisfaction.

James has completed some incredible challenges and yet is quite humble about his achievements. His race reports, stories and anecdotes were easy to relate to, witty, highly entertaining and I found myself leaping from chapter to chapter in a rush to finish the book.

Anyone who has an interest in long distance running or anyone who wants to hear a true to life account of an ordinary guys experiences undertaking some amazing challenges should pick up this book, it’s a fabulously entertaining read.
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on 18 March 2014
James Adams has a rare gift. In fact he has three. He is a brilliant writer, a comedic genius and is able to push his mind and body as far as anyone I know. The thought of getting up day after day to run 45 miles in utter agony, through chronic fatigue and sickness doesn't even bear thinking about. His examination of self on that journey is utterly inspiring together with his tales from other incredible feats of endurance. Of all the books on ultra running published in recent years, this has to be the best all rounder.
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on 17 September 2014
Having read James' blog from 'cover to cover'(?) I was slightly concerned that this would be simply a rehashing of old material in order to spin a little money. Pleased to see it isn't.
While the same ground is covered, and the same hilarious and often self deprecating style is used, the fresh consideration given to his frankly amazing exploits makes it seem like new. It's a real page turner, and a good giggle.
Read it, you'll laugh out loud assuming you're not dead.
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